Pain exercises

At Coast Spine and Sports Medicine we believe that the best results are achieved with a multi-disciplinary approach that includes self-care at home. We may recommend knee pain, shoulder pain, and back pain exercises for patients in Los Angeles and Orange County to relieve pain and improve range of motion.

What Exercises for Lower Back Pain Can Help?

Certain exercises can improve your flexibility and strength to ease back pain by supporting the spine. Some exercises should be avoided, such as toe touches, which put extra stress on the ligaments and discs.

Exercises that can help with lower back pain include:

  • Partial crunches to strengthen stomach and back muscles
  • Hamstring stretches while lying on your back, bending and straightening each knee with a towel looped under the ball of the foot
  • Wall sits, which are performed by standing about one foot from the wall, leaning back until the back is against the wall, and sliding downward until the knees are bent slightly in a seated position.
  • Knee to chest exercises, which are performed by lying on your back with the knees bent and feet flat. Bring one knee up slowly to your chest with the other foot flat on the ground and your lower back to the floor, holding for about 30 seconds before lowering and repeating with the other knee.
  • Press-up back extensions, which can be performed by lying on your stomach with your hands under the shoulders and pushing off with the hands until the shoulders lift from the floor.
  • Bird dog, a position in which you begin on your hands and knees, tightening your stomach and extending one leg behind you with level hips, holding for a few seconds before repeating with the other leg.

What Exercises for Sciatica Pain Are Recommended?

The pain of sciatica can be relieved in some cases with specific exercises and stretches that rotate the hip to provide relief. We may recommend the following exercises for sciatica relief:

  • Standing hamstring stretch, a simple exercise to ease hamstring tightness or pain caused by sciatica. Place your left foot on a surface like a chair about hip level. Flex the foot until the toes and leg are straight, keeping the knee slightly bent. Bend forward slightly, slowly moving toward your foot. The further you bend, the deeper the stretch; be careful not to push too far. Release the hip of your raised leg downward rather than lifting it.
  • Reclining pigeon pose, a yoga pose that opens the hips. Lie on your back and bring your left leg upward into a right angle, clasping your hands behind your thigh. Lift your right leg up, placing your left ankle over the right knee. Hold for several seconds to stretch the piriformis muscle that may be compressing the sciatic nerve.
  • Knee to shoulder stretch, which loosens the piriformis and gluteal muscles that can compress the sciatic nerve. This exercise can be performed by lying on your back with your legs stretched outward and the feet flexed upward. Bend the left leg and hold the hands together around the knee. Pull your left leg over your body toward your right shoulder as far as is comfortable, holding for several seconds.

What Knee Pain Exercises Are Recommended?

Knee pain can seem pervasive and impossible to escape. The following exercises may offer some relief:

  • Seated leg extension, which involves lifting and extending the knee and leg while in a seated position.
  • Self-myofascial release, which involves massaging the tissue around the knee joint with a foam roller. This can also be done in a seated position with two tennis balls rolled up and down the thighs.
  • Clamshell stretch, which is performed lying on one side with the legs on top of each other and the knees bent at a 45-degree angle. Keep the hips steady, lifting the top knee as high as comfortable like a clamshell opening.

Are Shoulder Pain Exercises Recommended?

Shoulder pain may be relieved with a few simple exercises at home:

  • Neck release, which is performed while sitting up straight, bringing the chin to the chest until the stretch is felt in the neck. You can lean your head to the right to stretch your left shoulder. Hold each position for up to 60 seconds.
  • Seated twist. Sit straight in a chair with the knees together, twisting the torso to the left with the right hand on the outside of the left thigh. Relax the shoulders while looking to the left, pushing on the left thigh. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat with the other side.
  • 90-90 stretch, which is performed by standing in a doorway with the arms held up so the elbow is at a 90-degree angle and the arm forms a 90-degree angle at the shoulder. Place each of your hands on either side of the door frame, placing the left foot forward while standing up straight to align the posture. Learn forward while bracing against the doorway.

At Coast Spine and Sports Medicine,, we believe in giving you the tools you need to successfully manage your pain and enjoy a better quality of life, including exercises you can do at home to complement your treatment. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to learn more about pain management treatments we offer in Orange County and Los Angeles, CA.