If you are having back pain and you are still not exercising – it is time to think again! Back pain relief comes from exercises among other options. You can try other options as well, but exercises are going to help you in staying healthy and flexible.
Nowadays, back pain is the most common health problem around the world and affects a large number of people at some point during their lives. It is also one of the popular reasons why people miss work and other everyday important activities.
But, why back pain is considered so complex, what can be the causes of its pain, how to relieve a bad back? Let’s have a look.
How does the Back work?
The spine, also known as the backbone or spinal column, is the strongest part of the body. It helps you to stay stable and a healthy back enables you to stretch and bend without pain. The spine has 3 natural curves that keep the body balanced.
There are various parts of the spine. It is made up of 24 bones, called ‘vertebrae’, one sitting on top of another. These bones have discs between them and many strong muscles and ligaments around, for support. At the bottom of the back is a ‘tailbone’, with various bones fused together, but have no discs in between.
Running from top to bottom, on both sides of the spine are small joints, known as the ‘facet joints’. The spinal cord links to the brain through the skull’s base and to the rest of the body by various nerves that go through the spaces between the bones of the spine. These nerves, also known as ‘nerve roots’.
As you age, the structure of the spine, like ligaments, joints, and discs grow older as well. Though the structure remains strong, with time it’s common to have backaches and for the back to get stiffer.
Causes of Lower Back Pain
Usually, back pain doesn’t have a simple cause, it can be really complex and due to various reasons. Lower back pain or lower disc pain has been really popular among a large number of individuals. Some of the common causes are:
- Poor posture
- Strenuous activities or lifting something heavy
- Improper workout
- Muscle strain or sprain
- Lack of exercises leading to stiffness of the spine and weak muscles.
- Medical problems, and more.
How can you relieve your lower back pain?
So, you feel it every single time you stand up or bend over, a sharp pain that shoots in your lower back and never seems to go away completely. Maybe you’ve been resting for too long, in a hope that the back pain would go away and it just needs time to heal. But most doctors now recommend activity and to perform certain exercises as a low backache treatment.
Moving the back and related muscles can be beneficial to relieve the pain. But it is effective only if you do the movement in the RIGHT way and avoid workouts that put too much strain and stress on your back. So, which exercises should you choose? That partly depends upon the intensity of your pain and what caused it. You should always get in touch with your doctor and seek advice before you get started with any exercise or workout for your back.
Here are several simple exercises you can easily do at home or at your workout centre that can help in relieving your lower back pain.
Knee To Chest
It is a great exercise to relax lower back pain symptoms and also ensures a range of motion in the muscle. Follow these steps to perform a knee-to-chest workout:
- Lie on your back.
- Put your feet flat on the ground and bend your knees.
- Draw your left knee up to your chest and keep the right foot flat to the floor.
- Hold the form for 15-20 seconds.
- Meanwhile, make sure to keep your back flat against the ground.
- Now, lower your left knee and repeat the above steps.
- For each leg do knee-to-chest three to five times.
Hamstring stretches help in relieving the back of the leg, where some muscles linked with the lower spine are found. This stretch will give you flexible, limber, and strong thighs which support the other muscle groups as well. Follow these steps to perform this awesome stretch:
- Firstly, lie on your back and bend one leg.
- Lift your right leg straight up and grab it behind the thigh.
- Pull this leg up in the stretch position, trying to keep the leg straight.
- Your knee can be bent but as little as possible.
- Keeping the toes back, you’d feel the stretch on the back of your thighs and calves. (If you’re performing the pose correctly.)
- Hold it for 10-15 seconds.
- For each leg, repeat 3 times.
Bridging is really beneficial for the symptoms of back pain and works directly to strengthen the lower back. Perform a rewarding and safe bridge workout with the following steps:
- Lie with your back straight to the floor.
- Bend your knees with feet flat on the ground.
- Squeeze down the glutes and lift up your hips in a way your shoulder, knees, and hips make a straight line.
- Hold the position for 5-10 seconds.
- Now, slowly bring down your hips to the floor and give a 10-second rest to yourself.
- Repeat the bridge 10-15 times.
Had a long day at work? Looking for a great stretch for the back? Try the spinal stretch to relax your muscles and it also helps to maintain a good posture. Follow these steps to perform a relaxing spinal stretch:
- First of all, lie on your back.
- Stretch your arms perpendicular to your head
- Raise your left leg up and use your right hand to pull it over your right leg to the floor on the right side.
- Slowly turn your head towards the left side and feel the stretch in your back and thigh, all while arms wide open.
- Hold the form for 30 seconds.
- Repeat it 5 times, alternatively with both legs.
Do you need a dog? Do you need a bird? NO! It is a great fitness exercise and a severe back pain remedy. Bird dog eases lower back pain and helps stabilize the back during the movements of legs and arms. The following steps are to be followed:
- Get on your hands and knees to start.
- Tighten your abdomen muscles.
- Lift your left leg and extend it behind to the hips level
- Simultaneously lift your right hand and extend it to the front.
- Hold the position for 5-10 seconds.
- Follow the same for the opposite leg and arm.
- Repeat the set ten to twelve times.
- Make sure your lower back muscle doesn’t sag.
- Also, ensure to keep the arms or legs at the level of the back and not higher than it.
When going through back pain, try some wall sit-ups as a break from sitting on the chair or the couch. Here is the right way to perform wall sits without injury:
- Firstly, Stand with your back against the wall.
- Now, lean into the wall, until your spine is completely flat.
- Slowly slide down the wall until the knees are bent slightly.
- Continue to keep your low back straight and pressed into the wall.
- The position will be similar to sitting on a chair.
- Hold the position and count to 10 or as long you’re comfortable.
- Carefully slide up the wall and rest for ten to twenty seconds.
- Repeat it ten times.
The quadriceps stretch helps in increasing blood circulation. Being the back to knee connecting muscle, a sore or stiff pair of quadriceps can lead to back or knee pain. Follow these steps to perform this stretch:
- Get up and stand straight.
- Now, stand on your left leg and fold your right leg.
- Hold the right foot with your hands.
- Try touching your right heel to your butt to stretch the quadriceps, hips, and back.
- Hold the position for 25 to thirty seconds.
- Repeat it 5 times with both legs alternatively.
The Pelvic Tilt a great exercise to mobilise your lower back muscles. It is designed to strengthen the pelvis which often works with the muscles along your spine. The following steps can help you perform this exercise correctly:
- Lie on your back and put a small cushion beneath your head.
- Bend your knees and keep your feet hip-width apart, and placed flat on the floor.
- Ensure that your upper body is relaxed. Your face should be straight up.
- You will flatten your lower back towards the floor and pull in your stomach and contract the muscles.
- Now will slowly move your pelvis towards the heels.
- You will feel a slight arch in the lower back and your back muscles contracting.
- Hold the position for 10 seconds.
- Repeat the pelvic tilt for 10-15 times.
Psoas is the strongest and the most important muscle in the hip flexor muscle group. It makes sure the mobility of the torso and the thigh in coordination. The muscle helps in daily activities like walking, running, bicycling, etc. Follow these steps to perform this amazing stretch:
- Firstly, stand straight.
- Move your left leg forward and keep your right leg back.
- Bend your left knee while keeping the upper body straight.
- Hold this position for a few seconds.
- Then, lower the right knee towards the floor.
- Keep your hands on the left knee for support, and move the upper body forward.
- Hold this form for 25 to thirty seconds.
- Repeat the Psoas stretch five times with both the legs.
PRESS-UP BACK EXTENSIONS
Press-up back extensions are another helpful exercise for lower backache. The steps included are as follows:
- Lie on your stomach and position the hands in front at shoulder width.
- Push your hands down and feel your shoulders begin to lift away from the ground.
- Set your elbows flat on the floor directly under your shoulders.
- Hold the position for 10 to 15 seconds.
- Take 10 seconds rest and repeat the press up for five times.
With the approval of your doctor, you can add the above exercises and stretches to your workout routine. They can help you get rid of daily pain, fussy mood and lead to overall better health!