Due to a sedentary lifestyle and increased technology dependency, we’re all on the fast-track to suffering from back pain, or you already may have a weak back.
Exercise is a great way to relieve yourself of back pain. Back exercise regimes usually involve exercises that will stretch and strengthen your lower back and abdominal muscles. When you start with these exercises, remember to be gentle with your body and allow it to adjust to the new motion. See how far you can go without experiencing any kind of discomfort. The exercises should involve your whole body even if you are only trying to relieve yourself of back pain. You should consult a doctor or a specialist who can recommend exercises specific to your needs. They will be able to instruct you on performing the exercises in the right way and provide you with a complete regime, tailor-made just for you.
How Exercise Benefits You
• It helps reduce back pain.
• It helps reduce and heal ligament and other torn tissue injuries.
• It is a precautionary measure to avoid future back injury due to sudden movements or repetitive movements.
• It helps you gain control over your back again, with increased mobility and flexibility.
Precautions and Things to Know Before Exercising
• In the exercises given below one breath means you should inhale for 4 seconds and exhale for 8 seconds.
• Consult with your doctor before performing any of these exercises.
• Do not put too much pressure on your body. If it hurts, stop immediately.
• Each exercise should be done with 8 to 10 repetitions in 3 cycles each.
Try doing the exercises given below at least once a day. You can accompany this with walking, bicycling or water exercises.
Exercises To Do
Chair Hamstring Stretch
Less strain is applied to the back by sitting on a chair and placing the legs straight out in front on another chair. In this position, reach toward the toes. You can stretch one leg at a time.
Towel Hamstring Stretch
One of the least stressful stretching techniques is to lie on the floor and pull the leg up and straighten by holding onto a towel that is wrapped behind the foot. You can stretch one leg at a time.
Back Stretches or Back Extensions
Lie on your stomach, with the help of your elbows prop yourself. Then arch your back upwards. You should remember to keep your neck extended upwards during this motion. You should be able to feel your stomach stretch a little as you do this exercise. Hold this position for a duration of one breath. Then return to the starting position. Do not let your neck bend backward. This helps increase the mobility of your spine.
Abdominal Strengthening Exercise
Here you will have to lie on your back with a small cushion placed under your head. The cushion should be on the flatter side. If you don’t have this kind of a cushion, you can even use a book. Keep your feet hip-width apart. Relax your upper body. Take a deep breath in and when you breathe out, raise your pelvis and lower abdominal muscles. This helps to strengthen the muscles around the spine. This exercise slowly tightens your lower body. Specifically the abdominal region. Do not tense your neck, shoulders or legs during this exercise.
Kneeling Heel Stretch
For this exercise, you have to start out on all fours. To know if you’ve got the initial position right, check if your hands are under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Then take your back and bottom backward without arching your lower back. Try and hold this position for a duration of one breath. This stretches out your back and helps increase the mobility of the spine. Do not do this exercise if you have knee problems.
Start by lying on your back. Take either a small cushion or a book and place it under your head. Bend your knees and keep them together. Relax your body. Turn your knees together to one side. Hold this position for the duration of one breath. Return to your starting position. And then repeat by stretching to the other side. You can make yourself more comfortable by placing a pillow between your knees. This exercise helps to stretch out your spine, increasing its flexibility.
Start out by lying on your back with a small cushion or book placed under your head. Keep your knees bent and feet hip-width apart from each other. Your upper body should be relaxed and chin should not be raised. Lay flat on the ground and hold your stomach muscles tight. Then turn your pelvis till your heels to one side. You should be able to feel your lower back arching and the muscles contracting. You should not experience any discomfort on your neck, shoulders, and feet. After tilting to one side, return to the starting position. Then tilt to the other side.
Stand straight and at least two steps away, with your back to the wall. Lean back until you can feel the wall against your back. Now lower yourself into a sitting position. Just imagine sitting on an invisible chair with your back flat against the wall. Hold this position for 10- 12 seconds. Then slide back up the wall. This helps increase lower back strength.
Exercises To Avoid
Exercises are good for you. But if you suffer from back pain or pain of any kind, you must be careful of what you put your body through. If you feel any sort of discomfort that lasts for more than 15 minutes while exercising you must stop immediately and consult with your doctor. Here are a few exercises you should avoid if you’re suffering from back pain:
This exercise involves standing on your feet and stretching your hands to your toes. If you are someone who already suffers from back pain, do not try this exercise. This can cause slip disc as it puts great pressure on your ligaments. This exercise might overstretch your lower back muscles, aggravating pain rather than curing it.
Sit ups are usually done to increase your core and abdominal strength. It is wrong to use your hips while doing this exercise because it stresses the discs that are present in your spine. Though it is one of the most popular exercises; if you are someone who suffers from a bad back try to avoid it.
Leg lifts are usually recommended to increase your core and abdominal strength. People with a weak back are generally advised to not practice leg lifts. However, if you still want to try this exercise it’s recommended that you lie flat on the floor, bend one knee and keep the other leg straight. Slowly raise the leg that is stretched out and bring it back to the floor. Repeat the same with the other leg. This will put lesser pressure on your core and abdominal muscles.
If you’ve been practicing any of these exercises, or have some tips for back-strengthening workouts, we’d love to hear from you. Do leave your comments in the section below.