The Best Exercise’s for Back Pain
Exercise for back care is usually for rehabilitation or to alleviate pain, though it doesn’t have to be.
Experts agree that routine stretching can both prevent and relieve symptoms of injury, poor posture or simple aging.
Muscles in the low back, abdomen, buttocks and hips are all necessary for supporting the spine. Keeping these muscles active with regular exercise will keep the muscles strong to help avoid back problems and minimize pain if back injury does occur. When your spine and pelvis are aligned and your muscles are relaxed, you are more resilient.
A whole back exercise program should consist of stretching and strengthening the muscles, then a personal exercise plan will be implemented depending on the individuals fitness level, back pain diagnosis and personal needs.
Stretching is just as important as your exercise or fitness for increasing flexibility, reducing tightness and promoting back care. Tight muscles cause unnecessary strain on joints. Stretching plays an important role on improving the length of our muscles and the mobility achieved.
We have put together a list of stretches that support the back.
Knee to Chest
This stretch is used to stretch the lower back and rear muscles. Lie flat on your back with toes pointed to the sky, slowly bend your right knee and pull your leg to your chest. Wrap your arms around your thigh, knee or shin, and pull the knee towards the chest. Hold for 20 seconds then slowly extend leg to the starting position. Repeat 3 times each leg.
Kneel down, and if possible sit on your heels. Lean forward extending your arms in front of you and rest your forehead on the floor in front of you. Hold for 30 seconds to two minutes.
Bottom to heal Stretch
Start by kneeling on all fours, with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders.
Keep your back and neck straight. Slowly move your bottom back towards your heels. Hold the position for one deep breath, then return to the starting position, on all fours.
Start by lying flat on your back. Place a small cushion under the head. Keep your knees together and bent. Roll your knees to one side, keeping both shoulders on the floor. Hold the stretch for one deep breath, return to starting position.
Cat/Cow or Back Extensions
Start by lying on your front and rest on your forearms. Keep your elbows bent at your sides. Look towards the floor, keeping your neck straight. Arch your back up by pushing down on your hands, assuming an all fours position, stretching your stomach muscles. Breath and hold for 5 to 10 seconds depending on comfort. On exhale, slowly round your back towards the ceiling, lowering your head fully towards the floor.
Start by lying on your back with a small cushion under the head. Bend knees, keeping feet straight and hip-width apart. Keep Chin tucked in. Slowly flatten lower back into the floor and tense stomach muscles, then tilt pelvis towards the heels until you feel a gentle arch in your lower back. Return to starting position.
Front to Back Shoulder Squeeze
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, keeping your back straight.
Cross you left hand over your right, press palms together, straighten arms and point your fingertips towards the floor. Now, press your palms together and round your upper back and hold for 10 seconds. Unclasp hands, then interlace fingers behind the back, straighten the arms and lift the chest high. Hold for 10 seconds. Alternate these two positions 2-4 times.
Low Impact exercise
Low Impact exercise is great for people experiencing back pain or to support back care, as it elevates the heart rate without jarring the body, specifically the back. We recommend the following:
Going for a fast paced walk will elevate your heart rate. This is a great time to work on your posture without putting pressure on your low back.
Swimming, water aerobics or exercise is wonderful for rehabilitation as it provides a comfortable workout even if you have back pain. The water provides support for weight and the movement through water strengthens the muscles throughout the body whilst having little impact on the spine.
Water therapy is especially helpful for cases due to intensity of pain, decreased bone density and other disabilities. It is a versatile exercise and particularly helpful for people with conditions such as Osteoarthritis, Osteoporosis, back pain and muscle strain and tears.
Cycling is a great low impact exercise, depending on your fitness level or rehabilitation stage you may want to use a stationary bike, so you don’t have to navigate uneven terrain. A bike will improve muscle strength and flexibility.
Yoga poses are used to ease tension in your back, as well as the hips, hamstrings and inner legs, which can affect your posture and lower spine. The ancient practice has been used for centuries to emphasize stretching, strength and flexibility to relieve back soreness and improve function.
Benefits of exercise on the back and pain
- Strengthen muscles that support the spine
- Alleviate stiffness
- Improve mobility and flexibility
- Improve circulation
- Release endorphin’s to naturally relieve pain
An ideal exercise plan raises the heart rate for at least 20 minutes, 3 to 4 times per week. Try a few basic exercises to stretch and strengthen your back and support your muscles. Repeat each exercise a few times, then increase the number of repetitions as the exercise gets easier.