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Exercises to Relieve Back Pain

Lower back pain is one of the most common complaints in our society today. Due to lack of exercise we often experience an imbalance in the core muscles causing weakness and back pain. There are many other causes of back pain, such as: overuse and muscle strains; acute injury; stress and tension; arthritis; and degeneration of discs and vertebrae.

Gentle exercise such as stretching and strengthening your abs, back, and legs build muscle and provide stability for your spine. This can prevent and reduce back pain, as well as assist in a quick recovery from injury.

Do not attempt these exercises if your pain is intense as they are not meant to replace medical care. Only your doctor can determine the cause and seriousness of your pain. Always check with your doctor before attempting these or any exercises. Do not continue any of these exercises if you experience pain.

Relax and Rest

•Lie on your back with a rolled towel under your neck and a pillow under your knees. Extend your arms comfortably to your sides.
•Relax and as inhale let your belly expand.
•Exhale pressing your back towards the floor, slightly engaging the abs.
•Rest in this position for about 10 minutes.

Modified Back Extensions

•Lie on your stomach, supporting your body with your forearms.
•Press your elbows down into the floor to raise your upper back.
•Engage your stomach muscles and allow your back to arch without using your back muscles.
•As you press up, do not let your hips or pelvis come off the floor.
•Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, and then relax. Repeat 2 to 4 times.

Bridge

•Lie on your back with both knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
•Tighten your ab muscles by pulling your belly button toward your spine.
•Push your heels into the floor, squeeze your buttocks, and lift your hips,back and shoulders, off the floor, in that order, until your shoulders, hips, and knees are all in a straight line.
•Hold about 6 seconds breathing normally, and then slowly lower your shoulers, back, and hips to the floor.
•Rest for up to 10 seconds. Do 8 to 12 repetitions.

Straight Leg Raises

•Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor.
•Engage your abdominal muscles and extend your left leg straight.
•Lift the extended leg 6-12 inches off the floor, pause and gradually lower to the floor.
•Do 10 lifts then switch legs and repeat.

Curl-ups

•Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor.
•Cross your arms over your chest.
•Slowly contract your abdominal muscles and raise your shoulder blades off the floor.
•Keep your head in line with your body-don't press your chin to your chest.
•Gently lower your head and shoulders to the floor. Repeat 10 times.

Hip Rolls

•Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor.
•Draw both knees in to your chest.
•Extend your arms into a T-position.
•Bring both both knees into a table top position. Drop both knees to the left keeping them about 6 inches from the floor.
•Bring your knees back to center, and then drop them to the right, keeping them about 6 inches from the floor.
•Dropping to each side counts as one repetition. Repeat 10 times.

Cat-Cow

•Get down on the floor on your hands and knees.
•Place your hands under your shoulders, shoulder width apart.
•Line your knees directly under your hips, hip width apart.
•Relax your head, and allow it to droop.
•Round your back up toward the ceiling until you feel a nice stretch in your upper, middle, and lower back.
•Hold this stretch for about 10 seconds.
•Return to the starting position with a flat and on all fours.
•Next let your back sway by pressing your stomach toward the floor.
•Lift your buttocks toward the ceiling. Bring your head up and look forward.
•Hold this position for 10 seconds.
•Return to the starting position with a flat back on all fours.
•Repeat 6-8 times.

Hamstring Stretch

•Lie on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
•Draw your right leg straight up and towards your body.
•Reach forward with both hands and grab your foot. If you can’t reach the feet try using a strap. You can use a yoga strap, a belt, or a neck tie; or you can just hold the leg lower placing your hand on the back the calf or thigh.
•Draw the leg forward closer to your body.
•Hold for 5 breaths.
•Extend your leg to right and hold the foot in your right hand. Use your strap if this position is uncomfortable or hold the leg at the calf or thigh. Be sure to keep both hips on the floor. This may limit your stretch but using good form may keep you from getting hurt.

Following the instructions will help you stay safe and injury free. Be healthy, be happy!


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Content copyright © 2013 by Terri Johansen. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Terri Johansen. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Terri Johansen for details.



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