- by Medikoe Health Expert
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- Feb 09 2017
10 Exercises to Avoid Back Pain
Back pain is a common occurrence that can happen to everybody at some point in life. It may be triggered by a wide range of factors. The intensity of the pain varies from case to case and treatment depends accordingly.
As the old adage goes, prevention is better than cure and avoiding back pain is a much more favourable option than treating it. Avoiding back pain can be done by simple exercise routines followed consistently. There are certain exercises that specifically target the middle and lower back to improve circulation and enhance the flow of oxygenated blood in the region. This helps maintain the health of muscles and ligaments in the back, keeping them flexible and preventing the risks of injury.
These exercises also keep disorders such as arthritis at bay. For those who are experiencing back pain due to various reasons, exercising the right way can also help alleviate the pain and make it go away for good. Exercises for lower back pain can effectively strengthen the muscles in your back, stomach and legs, and provide support to the spinal column.
It is always a good idea to consult your health care professional before getting started on back exercises. This is especially true if you are already experiencing mild to severe pain as certain exercises which can aggravate the pain will have to be avoided.
Following are 10 examples of exercises that will help avoid back pain:
1. Partial crunches
Partial crunches are a good way to strengthen the muscles in your back and abdominal area. To do a partial crunch, you have to lie down on the ground with the knees bent and feet absolutely flat on the floor. Cross both of your arms over your chest or put your hands behind your neck. Then, you have to tighten your stomach muscles as best as you can and simultaneously raise your shoulders off the floor. Remember to exhale as you lift off your shoulders. You should keep in mind not to lead with your elbows or use your arms to pull your neck off the ground. Once you have raised your shoulders, hold them for a second and then slowly lower them back down to the ground. Repeat this exercise 8 to 12 times in a row. While you are doing the crunch, your feet, tailbone, and lower back should stay rooted to the ground at all times.
2. Wall sit
It is different from the typical squats as you have to keep holding a fixed position for an extendedlength of time instead of working through a vast number of motion-based workouts. This means that if you have too much pain or an injury that prevents you from doing squat exercises, this is a good way to work the thighs and gluteus while strengthening your back. All that you need for this exercise is a wall to lean on and you can do it anywhere at any time.
Here is how to do wall sits for your back – stand 10 inches from the wall and slowly lean backwards until your back is flat against the surface of the wall. Slowly bend your knees and slide downwards while keeping your lower back firmly pressed against the wall. Hold yourself in that position for 10 seconds and then carefully slide back up the wall. Repeat the exercise 8 to 12 times for effective strengthening of your back and thigh muscles.
3. Hamstring stretches
When you stretch your hamstring muscles, signals from the muscle spindles go straight to your spine which sends back signals to either contract the muscle or to resist the stretch. Soon after, signals from the tendons override the signals from the muscle spindles and that allows the muscles to relax into the stretch. This makes it a great way to work your back and make the muscles in that region stronger and more flexible.
The way to do this exercise is to lie on your back and bend one knee. Then you have to take a towel and loop it under the ball of the foot with the bent knee. Hold on to the towel with both hands and straighten the knee by slowly pulling back on the towel. A gentle pull should be felt down the muscles in the back of your outstretched leg. Hold this position for at least 15 to 30 seconds and then switch to the other leg and do the same. Repeat this exercise 2 to 4 times for each leg.
4. Bird dog
This exercise puts emphasis on spine strengthening and balance. You have to get started by perching yourself on your hands and knees, keeping your back straight. Lift up and extend one leg behind yourself while tightening your stomach muscles and keeping the hips level. You have to hold this position for 5 seconds and then switch to the other leg and do the same. Repeat this exercise 8 to 12 times for each leg while trying to increase the duration of each lift as much as possible. For each lift of the leg, make an attempt to lift and outstretch the opposite arm as well. This exercise is a great way to learn how to stabilize and balance the lower back during lifting of the arms and legs. While doing this exercise, keep your lower back muscles and hips parallel to the ground and do not let them sag. Be sure to raise your limbs only to heights where the position of the low back can be maintained.
5. Press-up back extensions
Back extension exercises are a great way to keep the back in shape and avoid back pain. You have to lie down on the floor on your stomach and place your hands under your shoulders. Push down on the ground with your hands so that your shoulders are pushed upwards and begin to lift off the floor. If you can manage it, place your elbows on the floor directly under your shoulders and hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds. Inhale and exhale deeply while holding the position and then slowly lower your upper body back on to the ground. This will exercise your lower back and abs while increasing core strength and flexibility.
The bridge exercise targets multiple body parts at once – it works the back, strengthens the core and works to improve balance and posture all at once. The regular bridge exercise requires you to hold your hips up toward the ceiling for a certain period of time.
To do a bridge exercise, you have to lie on your back with knees bent and only have your heels on the floor. You then have to lift your hips off the floor by pushing your heels into the floor while simultaneously squeezing your buttocks until your shoulders, hips, and knees are in a straight line. Hold yourself in this position for roughly 10 seconds and then slowly lower hips to the floor and rest for 15 seconds. Repeat the exercise 8 to 12 times. It is necessary to avoid arching your lower back when your hips are pushed and held upward.
7. Pelvic tilts
Pelvic tilting is an exercise that makes use of very subtle spinal movements to provide strength and support to the muscles around the lower back, especially around the abdominals. This is a good form of preliminary exercise for getting relief from lower back pain. It makes your back and posture feel great as well and gives a slight but effective massage to your back.
To do pelvic tilts, you have to lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat out on floor. Make your stomach as tight as you can by contracting it inwards. You will be able to feel your back pushing into the floor with your hips and pelvis rocking backward. Hold the position for about 10 seconds while inhaling and exhaling smoothly. Repeat this exercise 8 to 12 times for an effective workout.
8. Knee to chest
The knee to chest exercise is an easy and helpful way to stretch the muscles in your lower back, hamstrings and thighs. Doing the ‘knee to chest’ stretch can help you gain more muscle flexibility and increase the strength and range of motion in your joints. This exercise can be used to ease muscle tension or pain in these muscle groups and to avoid back pain of any kind.
In order to do this exercise, you need to lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Then you have to bring one knee to your chest while the other foot is kept flat on the floor. Keep your lower back pressed down to the ground and hold yourself in this position for 15 to 30 seconds. Then slowly release your knee and lower the leg that your were holding. Switch to the other leg and repeat. Do this exercise 3 to 5 times for each leg to strengthen your back and thighs.
Doing the plank is a good way to increase core strength and reinforce the spine. It works wonders for your posture as well and keeps the back and abdomen in great shape. This exercise is especially beneficial if you have a disorder such as osteoporosis. To do a standard plank, lie face down on the ground with your legs stretched out and elbows bent and directly under the shoulders. Contract your abs and lift your body with toes tucked and forearms on the ground. You should be aligned parallel to the floor from head to heel. Hold this position for as long as you possibly can and slowly lower yourself back onto the floor.
10. Aerobic exercises
Aerobic exercises are a terrific way to strengthen your cardiovascular functioning, as well as to provide strength and reinforcement to your back. Walking, swimming, and biking may all help in avoiding and reducing back pain. It is a good idea to begin with brief sessions and steadily build up over time. If your back is already experiencing pain, swimming is a great exercise option as the water provides support to your body and prevents shocks from occurring in the back.
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