Nothing can ruin your day quicker than back pain and while healthier habits can help resolve the underlying problem, exercise remains a key element of the treatment plan. The exercises are best done through a controlled, progressive program, with the goal of building toward a stronger, more flexible spine. If you want to follow such a program we have a great resource for you here.
Stretching improves appearance, lengthens muscles, betters” your fitness levels> and restores your health. It is the ultimate for preventing injuries – at least 50% fewer overextension injuries are reported with athletes who use a regular stretching routine compared to those who don’t! Stretching is a great warmup or cooldown and improves muscular coordination, as well as prevents soreness and promotes faster recovery.
Whether you suffer from stiffness, aches or recurring pains, back” pain exercise> is one way that you can improve the condition of your back and your overall health. There are many stretches” that you can perform> to relieve your pain. Here are 18 easy stretches that you can try in 18 minutes to help reduce your back pain.
1. The Hamstring Floor Stretch
Lie on your back with your legs bent at a 90 degree angle. Make sure that you keep your hips level and your lower back down on the floor. Do one leg at a time by slowly straightening and grabbing the back of your leg with each hand. Gently pull your leg towards your body and hold for 30 seconds twice with each leg. You should only stretch until you feel slight discomfort, never pain. Only pull as far as your flexibility will allow.
2. Knee to Chest Stretch
Lie down on your back and place your feet flat on the ground with your legs at a 90 degree angle. Pull your leg back and hold it over your chest at a 60 degree angle by using both of your hands in a clasped position. Hold the stretch until you feel minor discomfort, but not pain. This stretch should be done for 20 seconds for each leg, twice.
3. Spinal Stretch
Start by lying on your back and stretching your arms out to the sides at shoulder height. Your palms are facing downward. Make sure that you keep your legs bent at a 90 degree angle. Take a deep breath and as you exhale start lowering your legs to one side of your body while you look in the opposite direction with your head. Then bring your knee slightly forward so that you can place your opposite hand on the top of your bent knee. Hold this stretch for 20 seconds and then repeat the stretch again for the other knee.
4. The Piriformis Stretch
Lie down on the floor and raise your right leg so that it is externally rotated away from your midline. Place the outside of your right ankle on the top of your left knee and then slowly move your left knee so that it goes towards your chest. When your left knee gets close enough to your chest, clasp your hands just below the knee, around your left hamstring muscle. Then use your hands to pull on your left knee and right ankle until you feel a stretch. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then repeat the stretch with your opposite leg.
5. The Hip Flexors Stretch
In a kneeling position, bend and raise your right leg while placing your foot on the floor in front of you. Shift your weight so that it is on your right leg and shift forward. One you are in this angled-forward position you should feel a slight stretch. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then repeat the stretch with the opposite side.
6. The Quadriceps Lying Down-stretch
Lie down on one side and keep your shoulders, hips and knees in a straight line. Now bring your heel towards the buttocks by pulling at the ankle until you feel a stretch in the front of your thigh. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Afterwards relax briefly before repeating the stretch by turning over on your other side.
7. The Total Back Stretch
Stand an arm’s length away from a sturdy object, such as a table. Lean forward with your knees slightly bent and grasp at the edge of the object with both of your hands. Keep your arms fully extended and your head in line with your shoulders. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds.
8. Standing Hamstring Stretch
Select a sturdy object, like a chair or bench. Stand facing the object and place the heel of the foot of the leg that you want to stretch on top of the seat of the chair. Make sure to keep your knee and trunk straight as you lean forward and bend at the hips. Hold this stretch for 20 seconds before returning to your starting position.
9. Cat and Cow
Start knee” down on the floor> and then place your hands on the floor so that your needs and hands are both flat on the floor. Take a deep breath and then inhale as you lift your lower rib cage. Round your back and relax your neck. While maintaining firm abdominals, exhale and lower your chest toward the floor. Look up slightly and repeat this set of motions a few times.
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Melissa Bell has a strong background in nutrition education, fitness and yoga, and experience working on specialized stretching, bodybuilding and weight loss programs. She is actively studying Japanese, doing research and travelling for conferences while taking care of two children.
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