We get it–any degree of back pain is uncomfortable. Thankfully, specific exercises can help strengthen your body’s most important muscles to find relief or avoid this chronic discomfort altogether. Read below to learn more about some of the causes of back pain and what exercises may work to prevent or reduce your discomfort.
What Causes Back Pain?
There is no single reason back pain develops. Back pain is often a result of a combination of lifestyle choices, from sitting for most of the day with poor posture to being overweight or not exercising enough, although certain conditions can also be to blame. Individuals experiencing back pain from a chronic condition, such as arthritis or a ruptured disc, or a specific injury should talk with their doctor before starting any new exercises. For many people, however, regular back exercises and simple lifestyle adjustments may be enough to reduce or even eliminate back pain. As helpful as we think these exercises can be, it is always best to check in with a medical professional before attempting any new activities.
Exercises for Back Pain
The hamstrings are a group of three muscles that run along the back of the thigh and help support the lower back. These muscles are also notoriously sensitive, so exercising your hamstrings, even through simple stretches, can reduce your chance of injury and help prevent back pain over time.
To stretch your hamstring, lay on your back, and use a resistance band or towel around your foot to hold your leg straight. Slowly pull up on the band or towel, moving your leg towards a 90-degree angle or until you feel a stretch along the back of your leg. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds, release, rest, and then repeat five to ten times on each leg.
Wall sits are an easy way to take a break from sitting on the couch or a chair and develop stronger muscles in your back and legs. To prevent injuries, be sure to do your wall sits against a sturdy wall and on a piece of floor that will not slip during the exercise.
To do a wall sit, face away from the wall and set your feet about 12 inches away from the base of the wall. Slowly lean back until your spine is flat against the wall and then gradually slide down until your knees are slightly bent and your lower back remains flat on the wall. When you get to a position that feels comfortable but is still engaging your leg muscles, hold this partial squat for 10 to 20 seconds. Repeat these steps five to ten times and see how long you can keep your wall sit going!
Bird Dog Pose
This classic position is beloved because of its effectiveness in improving back strength and reducing pain, especially in the lower back. By using your back, arm, leg, and abdominal muscles, this exercise engages the most important muscle groups for preventing back pain.
To do this exercise, start by getting on all fours and placing your hands flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart. As you flex your abdominal muscles, raise your left leg or arm–or your left leg and right arm together if you want an extra challenge–and hold the pose for 10 to 15 seconds. Take a moment to rest, then repeat the stretch with your opposite arm or leg and hold for another 10 to 15 seconds. Repeat this pose as many times as you can, aiming for five to ten repetitions on each side.
Weight Lifting Regimen
Although this isn’t a specific exercise, implementing a weight training regimen can promote the development of lean muscles to help support your back. Weight training under the right conditions, usually with a trainer or instructor and with smaller weights, can produce strong muscles that better support the spine.
With help from a physical therapist, occupational therapist, or other trained professional, you can begin slowly lifting smaller weights or using an exercise machine that lets you gradually increase resistance or weight. Developing an effective weight training routine with a medical professional takes time, but committing to an effective exercise regimen several times per week can help relieve back pain. An extra plus? Incorporate aerobic exercise into your weekly activity to promote blood flow.
Other Ways to Relieve Back Pain
While these exercises can be helpful for individuals with mild to moderate back pain, these exercises may not be beneficial for people with severe back pain from chronic conditions or injuries. If your back pain has progressed to the point where these exercises would be difficult or painful, it’s time to work with a medical professional, like a chiropractor, to treat your back pain. A chiropractor can develop an individualized treatment plan consisting of physical rehabilitation exercises, chiropractic adjustments, and other holistic pain management techniques that will get you back to feeling your best.
You don’t have to live with chronic pain. The team at All American Healthcare is dedicated to helping our patients live a full, healthy, pain-free life. We combine chiropractic pain relief, physical and holistic medicine, and physical rehabilitation for our patients to promote long-term pain relief. Visit us at either of our convenient locations in Covington or Hammond, Louisiana, and start living free from pain today!