Low Back Arthritis: Exercises

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Your Care Instructions

Here are some examples of typical rehabilitation exercises for your condition. Start each exercise slowly. Ease off the exercise if you start to have pain.

Your doctor or physiotherapist will tell you when you can start these exercises and which ones will work best for you.

When you are not being active, find a comfortable position for rest. Some people are comfortable on the floor or a medium-firm bed with a small pillow under their head and another under their knees. Some people prefer to lie on their side with a pillow between their knees. Don't stay in one position for too long.

Take short walks (10 to 20 minutes) every 2 to 3 hours. Avoid slopes, hills, and stairs until you feel better. Walk only distances you can manage without pain, especially leg pain.

How to do the exercises

Pelvic tilt

Picture of the pelvic tilt exercise
slide 1 of 2
slide 1 of 2, Pelvic tilt,
  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent.
  2. "Brace" your stomach—tighten your muscles by pulling in and imagining your belly button moving toward your spine.
  3. Press your lower back into the floor. You should feel your hips and pelvis rock back.
  4. Hold for 6 seconds while breathing smoothly.
  5. Relax and allow your pelvis and hips to rock forward.
  6. Repeat 8 to 12 times.

Back stretches

Picture of back stretches
slide 2 of 2
slide 2 of 2, Back stretches,
  1. Get down on your hands and knees on the floor.
  2. Relax your head and allow it to droop. Round your back up toward the ceiling until you feel a nice stretch in your upper, middle, and lower back. Hold this stretch for as long as it feels comfortable, or about 15 to 30 seconds.
  3. Return to the starting position with a flat back while you are on your hands and knees.
  4. Let your back sway by pressing your stomach toward the floor. Lift your buttocks toward the ceiling.
  5. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds.
  6. Repeat 2 to 4 times.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Current as of: May 23, 2016