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Massage therapy can help to decrease pain and muscle aches, reduce stress and anxiety, and promote overall wellness and relaxation.

Are there massages or exercises that can strengthen lower back muscles and prevent lumbar strain?

Wayne Smith (Lebanon, PA) on Feb 21, 2012
Before looking at exercises to strengthen the lower back muscles, I would have a personal trainer or doctor check your pelvis out for excessive posterior or anterior pelvic tilt. If the pelvis is tilted, your hamstrings or hip flexors may well be overworked and shortened. This will need rectifying before you do anything else. If your pelvis is fine, then exercises like deadlifts, stiff leg deadlifts, back squats, planks, bridges and back extensor exercises should do the trick. Get your technique right first and increase weight as you become stronger. Don't use weight belts. They give your body a false sense of security and cause the posterior core muscles to relax, leaving your spine vulnerable to injury.
Jon McQueen (Vista, CA) on Feb 21, 2012
Research shows that one of the leading causes of lower back pain is a weak lower back. Usually when people have lower back pain, their first thought is to stretch the lower back, when in fact, the back is usually in pain because it's not strong enough and stretched too often. Think about what most people are doing at an office job. They're probably sitting in an office chair for hours on end, which puts their lower back in a rounded position or posterior pelvic tilt. So instead of stretching the lower back muscles, add some strengthening exercises to your day or workout. Here is a list of some lower back, posterior chain exercises that one can perform to help strengthen the lower back, hamstrings and glutes: supine hip extensions, straight leg deadlifts, and lower back flexion.
Deuce Witherspoon (Los Angeles, CA) on Feb 21, 2012
The cobra pose is a good exercise to strengthen the lower back. Other good poses include bridges, bird dogs and quadrupeds.
Crystal Balboa (Desert Hot Springs, CA) on Feb 21, 2012
Use more of your core muscles when doing lumbar movements. Don't use just the back muscles.
Mark Carlson (Costa Mesa, CA) on Feb 21, 2012
Yes, deep tissue massage on the piriformis muscles relieves over 90% of all lower back pain.
Ralph Arellanes (Albuquerque, NM) on Feb 21, 2012
There are many exercises that focus on strengthening your lower back and building up solid lumbar support. Think of your torso as a three dimensional unit. One huge benefit of having a strong abdominal wall is that it complements the stability and strength of your lower back. Let's also not forget the muscles that are intrinsic to the stability of the spine, including the multifidi, lumbar fascia, and the glutes! Here are some example exercises that can help: Isometric Planks (prone, lateral) Supine Bridge Russian twists Birddogs/Half Superman Cobra
Paula Irwin (Del Mar, CA) on Feb 21, 2012
A good sports massage which combines deep tissue, positional release and stretching techniques would bring the musculature into balance and release the trigger points associated with the discomfort. As for exercise, both abdominal and back exercises are recommended. A good resource for strengthening the body is Super Slow Zone. The system uses specific equipment to focus on specific muscle groups. Each group is worked until it is exhausted. This system strengthened my back.
Ann Prokenpek (Roswell, GA) on Feb 21, 2012
One of the very best exercises for strengthening the lower back muscles and entire core is the plank. Get down on the floor in a prone position. Rest on your forearms at a 90 degree angle, with your elbows directly below shoulders for the best support. Feet should be together and you will be up on your toes in that prone position. Draw in your belly button as though you are trying to pull it back to your spine, squeeze your glutes and hold this position for as long as you can. That may only be 10 seconds at first, but you should be able to build up to about 2 minutes. Once you become stronger, you can add a leg lift to make it more difficult and increase the intensity.
Tony Torres (Los Angeles, CA) on Feb 21, 2012
Most core training exercises will help you strengthen your lumbar region. Flexibility of the hamstrings is very important in preventing strains in your lumbar region. Make sure to stretch daily.
Jason Kozma (Santa Monica, CA) on Feb 21, 2012
Stretching the hamstrings and adductors will go a long way to insure back comfort.
Halle Clarke (New York, NY) on Feb 21, 2012
Yes, there are exercises that strengthen the lower back and there are exercises that may prevent lumbar strain. These are not necessarily the same exercises. When directly strengthening the back with exercises like the cobra (in yoga), prone leg lifts, or plank position, the most important tip is to make sure that the back isn't going into hyperextension. Hyperextension (extreme arching) does contract the back muscles concentrically but may also create compression, pain and irritation in the lumbar spine. Exercises that prevent lumbar strain could be drawn from a large pool of exercises that aim to stabilize the spine so that the lumbar spine is not doing all the work, such as abdominal, leg, and upper back exercises. Of course if the lumbar strain is due to spine pathology such as stenosis or disc injury then additional contraindications would apply. To conclude, there is never one exercise that prevents back strain because the causes are too variable. Halle Clarke, NYC
Ryan Jankowitz (Arlington, VA) on Feb 21, 2012
There are many different types of massage that can help alleviate lower back pain. As a personal trainer, I've tried several types of massage and have used chiropractors to alleviate various pains. My personal favorite is a type of massage called Ortho-Bionomy, it's a very gentle massage and it produces amazing results. You will probably have to search for a practitioner in your area, but it is well worth the search. As far as exercises to strengthen your back go, it's all about mechanics. You may or may not know that when you perform all strength training exercises (excluding machines) you must engage your core muscles (abs, obliques, lower back) to protect your spine. You may want to seek out the help of a functional movement specialist and/or a strength and conditioning coach to learn proper movement mechanics. If I had to pick one exercise to strengthen the lower back it would be a deadlift. This exercise, if done properly, works an incredible amount of muscles at once and produces great gains in strength. If you don't know how to perform this exercise, then definitely seek out the help of coach or trainer. Hope this helps.
Deborah Gilmore (Golden, CO) on Feb 21, 2012
Massage doesn't necessarily strengthen, it stretches. However, tapotment can re-tone weak muscles and massage therapists can suggest exercises to strengthen weakened tissues. It would be good for you to see a neuromuscular therapist specifically, as they can assess what muscles are weak or tight and design a re-education program for re-balancing your posture so that the overstretched muscles don't cause you anymore pain. You will need to have the short, tight muscles stretched by massage and the weak, inhibited muscles strengthened by suggested exercises.
Franklin Antoian (Delray Beach, FL) on Feb 21, 2012
Here are some exercises for your lower back: Massage can help with any pain or tension as well. Good luck!
Kasey Rundle (Noblesville, IN) on Feb 21, 2012
Try a Superman. Lie on your belly, slowly lift your arms and legs upward while keeping them straight. You should feel your lower back muscles contract. Do 10 reps. If this causes too much pain or strain, lift your arms, then lift your legs. Slowly build up strength until you can lift your arms and legs simultaneously. This move will strengthen your lower back muscles.
Corey Gill (Glendale, AZ) on Feb 21, 2012
Massages will not strengthen your lower back, but there are plenty of exercises that will.
Clyde Mealy (Kapolei, HI) on Feb 21, 2012
Great question! I would strengthen your abdominals as well as your lower back. A seated lower back extension machine can help, as well as basic yoga and foam rolling to increase overall flexibility. If pain persists, see your medical professional.
Michael Rosengart (Los Angeles, CA) on Feb 21, 2012
Correct form on deadlifts and core exercises will strengthen your lower back, but all too many times I watch people doing these exercises with bad form. Get som one to watch you and keep it simple before getting too complex. Also, try some active stretching to help release tension on the lumbar region.
Jef Wheeler (Beverly Hills, CA) on Feb 21, 2012
The most basic beginning for relief is to lie on the floor, with feet elevated on a chair or sofa. Next, lie flat on your yoga mat or soft rug, pull one knee to the chest, breathe deep and hold for 60 seconds. Repeat both knees 2 or 3 times. Exercises need to be performed with the lower back in a continuously stable state. These two exercises work well to start. Work up to one set of 30 repetitions for each exercise. Remember, it's about relaxing, stretching and strengthening the area. Bodies in motion stay in motion!
Rolland Cheng (North Brunswick, NJ) on Feb 21, 2012
I would recommend both massage and exercise. Strengthening the core promotes better posture as well as less stress on the lower back. The core includes the lower back, abs and obliques.
Howard Mabry (South Dartmouth, MA) on Feb 21, 2012
Yes, there are many exercises that strengthen your core. Hyper-extensions are a great way to train.
Maytal Rozensher (Sant Monica, CA) on Feb 21, 2012
Pilates can do wonders. Most pain and injuries occur when there is an imbalance of the body. Pilates works to correct this by balancing, strengthening and lengthening the muscles. Speaking specifically for the lower back: the more you strengthen your stomach and midsection (known as the powerhouse) and correct your posture you'll find that you start strengthening your lower back, thus alleviating back pain. Always do your research. There are many different forms of Pilates that exist and they're re mostly good but, from my experience, those instructors with a direct Romana Pilates education are the best.
Said Alla (Chadds Ford, PA) on Feb 21, 2012
Yes, definitely. Especially massage modalities that use stretching, like shiatsu and Thai massage.
Spencer Hughes (New York, NY) on Feb 21, 2012
There are many exercises that can strengthen the lower back and reinforce it against lumbar strain. Any exercise that will activate the muscles of the lower back will help to build them and strengthen them against injury. It's very important, however, to practice very good form with all of these exercises, since lumbar strain is often caused by improper form on back-strengthening exercises or overuse of the lower-back muscles. Any kind of lower-back strength/stability exercise is great, like the Superman (lie prone face-down and lift your arms and legs up, engaging the muscles of the lower back and glutes), cobras (similar to Superman, but with a shoulder rotation to engage the muscles of the middle back and build a strong posture), and so on. Great for beginners or anyone in need of stability. Other exercises that can benefit lower back strength include deadlifts, squats, hip raises, glute bridges, and dynamic glute bridges. I recommend working with a partner or trainer with these to ensure optimal form. They are more advanced compound exercises, and should only be attempted after a few weeks of working with the less demanding movements first. Hope this helped!
Cyretha Staton (Saint Louis, MO) on Feb 21, 2012
The lower back muscles are generally addressed by releasing the glutial muscles using site-specific myofascial and neuromuscular release techniques. Maintenance is key.
Brandon Bodine (Jersey City, NJ) on Feb 21, 2012
In order to most effectively prevent lumbar strain we need to address the cause of discomfort. The most common reason for strain or discomfort is weak core musculature. Strengthening the core muscles, especially the transverse abdominus, and other muscles that cause inter-abdominal pressure can ease strain. I start with planks, or iso-abdominals, to move all my clients towards having a strong core, which in turn relieves most cases of lumbar discomfort. Start on your belly with your forearms flat on the floor under you. Your elbows should be directly under your shoulders. Lift your body up with only your forearms and knees touching the floor. If that is easy enough for you, then put your toes down to the floor and lift your knees. Keep your body, from head to heels, straight as a plank. I hope this answer helped and I look forward to helping again in the future.
Carlos Aparicio (Alameda, CA) on Feb 21, 2012
There are definitely exercises to strengthen the lower back. A deep tissue massage would also help loosen the lumbar muscles.
Michael Martino (Englewood, FL) on Feb 21, 2012
Stiff-legged deadlifts with light weights can help dramatically. The first few times you do them you will experience lower back tightness the next day or two. But by using proper form and weight you will strengthen the lower back and hamstrings, and you'll burn lots of calories with all the muscles activated with this exercise! Perform 1 to 2 sets of 10 to 15 reps for the first week or two, and increase to 2 to 3 sets once soreness diminishes.
Lynda Lippin (New York, NY) on Jul 17, 2012
First, while massages are useful for relaxing muscles, only exercise strengthens muscles. To prevent lumbar strain it is important to strengthen not only the lower (and upper) back muscles, but also the gluteal (butt), thigh, and abdominal muscles. Basically, our bodies need to have balanced strength and flexibility in all sections so they can relate well to one another in movement. There are some very simple exercises you can do that will help to strengthen the whole center core area.
Brian Williams (New York, NY) on May 24, 2012
Yes, there are a lot of great exercises that can help strengthen lower back muscles and prevent strain in the lumbar region. One of the main things you should be doing is strengthening your core...your abdominals (not only the rectus abdominis) but the transvursus abdominis as well as the psoas and your obliques. Sound like a lot? Well, it is, but all of this goes to say that your front is just as important in reducing lumbar strain as your back is. Certain types of yoga can be awesome for this. A great starting exercise to work out tightness and to do a little gentle strengthening and stretching is cat/cow. To start, get on all fours. Take a deep breath, and as you inhale, look up and let your belly drop towards the ground as your tailbone lifts up. Now as you exhale, pull your belly button up, up, up towards your spine, and gently round your back up like a Halloween cat. Do this for a minute or two, making sure to sync the movements to the breath. When you feel you've done enough, send your hips back towards your heels and bow forward to rest.
Reggie Swindell (Decatur, GA) on Apr 9, 2012
Hello Friend, An effective massage can help with many conditions affecting the lower back including spasms and muscle soreness which can lead to tightness which can cause pulls. Exercises like back extensions and planking can be effective in strengthening the lower back. The best way to keep your lower back strong and healthy is to maintain a balance of strength and flexibility between the low back and the abdominal muscles. A certified personal trainer can assess your condition and prescribe exercises to help correct imbalances. Your Trainer Reggie Swindell
Michael Schletter (New York, NY) on Mar 20, 2012
Yes there are, such as prone back extensions, Roman chair back extensions, and variations of those exercises. Do not forget to strengthen your abs as well, because without proper balance you can end up with more severe injuries. The second most common cause of lower back injury is improper core training resulting in strength imbalances. Contact me directly for more info: Hope this helps! -Michael Schletter, NSCA-CPT
Christine Gross (Grand Rapids, MI) on Mar 19, 2012
Hello: Both can help as well as correcting your posture.
Anne Hartley (Gahanna, OH) on Mar 19, 2012
Before worrying about strengthening, get the muscles relaxed. Massage with trigger point therapy should accomplish this, as can counterstrain and other osteopathic modalities. Make sure posture is good, and that there is no forward lean, which will put more strain on low back.
Doug Larsen (Hopkins, MN) on Mar 18, 2012
There are exercises and massages that help but a more thorough examination/assessment would do you best. Surgeries, daily activities, current workout or training regimen are necessary information to have to make sure you are not doing more harm.
Michael Bistany (Salem, NH) on Mar 18, 2012
Any core exercise is great. My go to's are glute bridges, supermans, swimmers, reverse crunches.
Bharat Kalra (Wheaton, IL) on Mar 18, 2012
The answer to this question can be YES/NO. So it is yes. Strengthen abdominal muscles to take load off your back muscles at the same time strengthen your hip muscles. Massage in hip area can help a lot.
Josh Morrison (Mt Zion, IL) on Mar 18, 2012
Yes. Perform a floor cobra. Lie flat on your stomach, arms at you sides palms down and stair strait at the floor. Contract you abs and glutes. Raise your chest off the floor, pinch you shoulder blades together and raise hands off floor. Hold for 5 seconds then relax for 5 seconds. Perform 15 times.
Garry King (Los Angeles, CA) on Mar 18, 2012
Hello, Yes there is plenty of exercises that you could do for you're Core.. Please contact me as I can help you with exercises that you could do at home. Garry 818.590.4920
Jagdish Jindal (Houston, TX) on Feb 29, 2012