Back pain is one of the most persistent, chronic pains we must deal with in our lifetime, and we’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t had to deal with it from time to time. That is why it’s important to work on the right areas and muscles that not only prevent muscle pain by lowering the stress on our back and lower back areas, but also help to alleviate the pain that comes with it.
Here are eight simple yet effective exercises you can perform a few times a week to protect your back in the present and in the future.
1. Standing Hamstring Stretch:
- Put the heel of one leg on a stool about 15 inches high. Keep your leg straight. Lean forward,
bending at the hips until you feel a mild stretch in the back of your thigh.
- Make sure you do not roll your shoulders or bend at the waist when doing this. You want to stretch your leg, not your lower back.
- Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
- Repeat with each leg 3 times.
2. Knee to Chest:
- Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Bring one knee to your chest, keeping the other foot flat on the floor.
- Keep your lower back pressed to the floor, and hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
- Then lower your knee and repeat with the other leg.
- Do this 2 to 4 times for each leg.
3. Spinal Stretch:
- While on the floor with your left leg extended straight, pull your right knee to your chest (as in exercise #2), then put your right arm out to the side.
- Next, use your left hand to slowly pull your right knee toward your left side so that your right foot rests on the back of your left knee.
- Finaly, turn your head toward your right side.
- Hold for 20 seconds, then reverse the movements and repeat.
4. Quad Opposite Arm-Leg Raise:
- Balance your body on your hands and knees, with hands located shoulder-width apart and slightly forward, and knees below your hips and slightly apart.
- Lengthen your right leg and left hand simultaneously.
- Return to the base position and do the same with the other side (Lengthen your left leg and right hand simultaneously).
- Lie on your back with knees bent and just your heels on the floor.
- Push your heels into the floor, squeeze your buttocks, and lift your hips off the floor until shoulders, hips, and knees are in a straight line.
- Hold about 6 seconds, and then slowly lower hips to the floor and rest for 10 seconds.
- Repeat 8 to 12 times.
- Avoid arching your lower back as your hips move upward.
- Avoid overarching by tightening your abdominal muscles prior and throughout the lift.
6. Calf Stretch:
- Stand facing the wall while both hands on the wall for support.
- Place one leg behind you, keeping the knee straight.
- The front leg will be bent slight.
- Press your back heel down towards the ground.
- Hold for 10 second and repeat with the opposite leg in people with osteoarthritis knee should not bend over 90 degrees.
7. Press Up:
- Lay on the floor leaning on your bent forearms.
- Then press your hands to stretch your back.
- Try totighten your abdominals while doing this exercise.
- Keep your head and neck in line with the rest of the spine.
- Hold for a few seconds, rest briefly and repeat 5-10 times.
8. Side Step Squat:
- Stand tall with your feet together and hands on your hips.
- Step your right foot to the right, so your feet are just wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Bend your knees and drop your butt back and down to lower into a squat.
- Straighten your knees and bring your foot back to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg.