Laser Spine Institute Spine Exercises | Prone Leg Extensions

Laser Spine Institute surgeons recommend prone leg extensions to help with lower back pain

People with lower back pain often ask Laser Spine Institute about stretches and strengthening exercises that they can use to help alleviate some of their discomfort. Prone leg extensions are one such exercise that can help improve a person’s spine strength to compensate for persistent pain in the lower (lumbar) part of the spine. Prone means that you do the exercises while lying down on your stomach.

Prone leg extensions work several different muscle groups at the same time. This exercise targets the muscles in the lower back, core and hips. Repeated two or three times per day, leg extensions can not only help alleviate the sensation of pain, but also increase the body’s flexibility and range of motion. This makes the exercise helpful for people who are looking to delay surgery or who are recovering from an outpatient procedure at Laser Spine Institute.

This exercise is performed while lying on your stomach. You can do this on your bed, a couch or the floor. If this position feels uncomfortable, add a pillow beneath your pelvis. (Laser Spine Institute wants to remind you that if you experience sudden, sharp pain or the pain that you are currently experiencing gets worse, don’t force yourself to finish the exercise and be sure to contact your physician or physical therapist before attempting it again.)

Once you’re in the proper starting position, follow these steps:

  • Step 1 — While keeping your pelvis, legs and feet on the floor, lift your chest, neck and head into the air. Place your elbows on the floor with your hands palm down, forearms extended in front of you to support the weight of your torso.
  • Step 2 — Inhale and relax. Exhale and lift your right leg 2 to 4 inches off the floor. Check to make sure you are engaging the muscles in your buttocks and thighs; you’ll feel a gentle tension in your upper leg when you are doing this correctly. Hold for approximately three seconds, then lower the leg back down to the floor.
  • Step 3 — Repeat with the left leg.  You can do these extensions several times with each leg, four to five times per day, as long as your Laser Spine Institute physical therapist or personal physician has cleared you for this gentle physical exercise. Be sure not to change your stretching or strengthening plan without first consulting an expert.

For more information about managing your lower back pain, contact Laser Spine Institute.