06 Nov 2020
Struggling with a bad back? Whether you’ve sustained an injury, or your discomfort is caused by wear and tear, back pain can make even simple tasks like getting dressed or driving feel impossible.
If you’re not sure how to treat back pain, gentle exercise and stretching might be just what you need to get moving again. Once you’ve got the all clear from a doctor (your back injury could be more serious than you realise), try the following exercises to help with back pain.
Bridges help prevent back pain by strengthening your lower back muscles, helping to stabilise your spine. To perform a bridge, lie on your back with your arms by your side. Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor, around shoulder width apart. Slowly raise your hips off the floor, tensing your glutes as you lift. Hold for 5 – 10 seconds before slowly lowering your hips back to the floor. Repeat this movement at least 10 times.
Stretching both sides of your spine can help release built-up tension. To do the rotational back stretch, lie on your back with your knees bent and your arms stretched out horizontally. Keeping your shoulders flat on the floor, roll both bent knees over to one side. Hold for 5 – 10 seconds before raising your knees back to the centre, before slowly repeating the same movement on the other side. Repeating this stretch 2 – 3 times on each side is a great way to give your lower back a good stretch.
You may be experiencing back pain because your spine is compressed. This can occur if you have poor posture, or if you sit for long periods of time. The cat/cow stretch helps to lengthen your spine, making it one of the most effective back pain exercises for spine decompression.
Start on your hands and knees, ensuring your wrists are underneath your shoulders and your knees are directly underneath your hips. Slowly tilt your pelvis upwards so that your back starts to arch. Let your belly drop down and look up (avoid craning your neck). Once you’ve held this pose for around 10 seconds, slowly let your spine round by moving in the opposite direction. Tuck in your tailbone and let your head drop down so your back is completely rounded. Move between the cat and cow poses at least 5 times to feel the full effect of this stretch.
The knee to chest stretch is one of the best exercises for back pain, as it relieves stress in your hips and lower spine. Start this stretch by lying on your back and slowly pull one knee upwards to your chest, using your hands to secure your leg. Hold for at least 10 seconds before repeating on the other side. Perform this stretch 5 times on both sides.
It might take time for your back to heal, so patience is an important part of recovery. By staying consistent with your back exercises, you should start to see results before long. If your back pain persists, be sure to speak with a doctor.
Protect yourself from getting hurt while working out by learning about The Most Common Exercise Injuries and How to Avoid Them.
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