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Unlocking Pain Relief: Top 10 Lumbar Radiculopathy Physical Therapy Exercises

Lumbar radiculopathy is often associated with the discomfort of pinched nerves in the lower back. It can disrupt our daily lives. Whether it’s a shooting pain down the leg or a persistent ache that makes every movement a challenge, the impact of this condition can be draining.

The good news is that there’s a path toward relief, which lies in lumbar radiculopathy physical therapy exercises.

This guide delves into lumbar radiculopathy, shedding light on what it is, how it manifests, and how you can find respite through a series of curated physical therapy exercises.

Top 10 Lumbar Radiculopathy Physical Therapy Exercises

Here are 10 unique lumbar radiculopathy physical therapy exercises that relieve discomfort.

Lumbar Wave Roll

  • Start in a seated position with knees bent and feet flat.
  • Roll your spine down to lie on your back, vertebra by vertebra.
  • Roll back up, creating a wave-like motion through your spine.
  • This exercise massages and mobilizes the lumbar region, promoting flexibility and circulation.

Nerve Glide and Floss

  • Sit or stand tall with good posture.
  • Extend your affected leg in front of you, toes pointing up.
  • Flex your foot and bend your toes towards you.
  • Extend your leg while pointing your toes away, feeling a gentle nerve glide.
  • This exercise helps free any nerve adhesions and improves nerve mobility.

Lumbar Rotation Stretch with Resistance Band

  • Attach a resistance band to a fixed point at waist height.
  • Stand sideways to the band and hold the handle with both hands.
  • Rotate your body away from the anchor point, feeling a gentle stretch across the lower back.
  • This exercise enhances lumbar rotational mobility and stretches tight muscles.

Wall Angel Stretch

  • Stand with your back against a wall, feet about six inches away.
  • Raise your arms to form a “W” shape against the wall, then slide them up and down.
  • This exercise improves shoulder and thoracic mobility,  relieving pressure on the lower back nerves.

Dynamic Bridge Activation

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat.
  • Lift your hips into a bridge position while extending one leg straight.
  • Lower your hips and bring the leg back in.
  • This exercise strengthens the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back muscles while promoting stability.

Lumbar Flexion with Rotation

  • Sit on the edge of a chair, feet flat on the floor.
  • Cross your arms over your chest and round your spine forward.
  • Rotate your torso to one side, then the other, feeling a gentle stretch.
  • This exercise combines flexion and rotation to relieve tension in the lower back.

Quadruped Hip Abduction

  • Start on all fours, hands under shoulders and knees under hips.
  • Lift one leg out to the side while keeping the knee bent.
  • Lower the leg back down, engaging the hip muscles.
  • This exercise targets the hip abductors, which play a role in maintaining pelvic stability.

Lumbar Extension on Stability Ball

  • Lie face down on a stability ball, hands behind your head.
  • Lift your upper body off the ball while extending your spine.
  • This exercise promotes controlled lumbar extension and strengthens the erector spinae muscles.

Supine Hip Flexor Stretch with Core Activation

  • Lie on your back with one knee bent and the other leg extended.
  • Hold your extended knee and pull it towards your chest while engaging your core.
  • This exercise stretches the hip flexors while engaging the core for stability.

Swiss Ball Pelvic Tilt

  • Lie on your back with your feet resting on a Swiss ball.
  • Tilt your pelvis upward, lifting your lower back off the ground.
  • Lower your back down, allowing the ball to roll away.
  • This exercise improves pelvic control and activates the deep core muscles.

End Note

Embarking on the journey to relieve lumbar radiculopathy and find comfort in your lower back involves dedication, patience, and a commitment to your well-being.

These unique physical therapy exercises have been designed to address the intricacies of your condition, helping you regain mobility, ease discomfort, and strengthen the supportive muscles around your spine. 

See you in my next post…’til then, be healthy and live fully!

Dr. Lex Gonzales
Dr. Lex Gonzales, PT, DPT has been a physical/physiotherapist for over 24 years and is an award-winning author and keynote speaker. On he provides quality information and practical solutions you can use to improve your health and function.