Pain-Free Postures for Helping Low Back Pain


The following pain-free postures are all designed specifically to help alleviate the pain associated with sciatica. However, they have helped in other types of low back pain. Remember, if you don’t know what kind of back pain you’re dealing with it’s a good idea to see a professional (MD, physical therapist, chiropractor) to diagnose.

Sciatic pain is usually caused from a bulged disc that pinches a nerve root. If you want to know more about what it is and what treatments work best, click here. As mentioned in that article there are what’s called ‘pain-free postures’ or exercises you can do that can help. The great thing about these ‘exercises/postures’ are anyone can do them. They are pretty safe and require little to any equipment. Hopefully, this can save you some co-pays.

Pain-Free Postures

Prone Fisted Posture

McGill low back pain posture

The first posture that I’d recommend someone dealing with a flare up or acute sciatica would be the prone fist posture. To do this, lie down on your stomach. Place one fist under your chin. Take deep belly breathes and relax all the air out. Hold that for 1-3 minutes.

If this single fist helps, great. If it’s not enough relief and isn’t causing any pain, you can try the double fisted posture. Same as before, but now have both fists stacked on top of one another under your chin.

McGill low back pain-free postures2Again, the key is to do your best to relax in this position. Let the floor support your body and think about releasing any and all tension in your body.

The McKenzie method

This posture is more of a movement. It’s more aggressive than the 2 previous pain-free postures. Once again, let pain be your guide. If it hurts, don’t do it and stick with those postures that don’t hurt. This method has been found to be effective at relieving acute sciatic pain. However, in the same study that showed it to be effective researchers also found that when they pitted this method against just being getting movement and activity they we equally effective. So if this posture doesn’t work for you, it’s not the end of the world.

Below I show how this posture/movement is done.

McGill Park bench Decompression

A great way to address the cause of the back pain-in this case a herniated/bulged disc that is putting pressure on the nerve-is decompression. Simply put, decompression is taking load off the spinal joints and giving just a little more breathing room to those joints. Doing so will help relieve the pressure that is being put on the nerve and can even start to help the disc to move back in.

The best analogy I’ve heard is that the spinal discs are like water ballons. You squeeze it, and it will bulge out on one side. If you relax your grip/squeeze, the balloon will return to normal. Decompression helps with this. Most of the time it requires expensive equipment, a doctors appointment, or an inversion table. This technique uses none of them.

Wall Walking

This is a very easy movement to do. Often when you’ve got low back pain and it’s angry at you, getting to the upright position is a nightmare. Wall walking can aid you and help you feel better. Once you’re vertical-no problem, it’s the transition that hurts. Wall walking supports your body weight as you go from hinged to straight. I’m not suggesting you use this method to get upright all the time. Rather, this is meant to get you out of pain so you can move normally as quickly as possible.

Nerve Flossing

Just like with your teeth, flossing is part of great hygiene, so nerve flossing can help your low back pain and create some good back hygiene. This is probably the most advanced movement/posture. As I mention, do your other pain-free postures first before trying this. If you get relief with the other postures, great stay there. If you find that they help, but don’t quite provide enough relief, that’s when I’d recommend giving this a try.

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