If you have back pain, you’re not alone.
The American Association of Neurological Surgeons estimates that up to 85 percent of Americans will share your misery at some point in their lives.
It’s a debilitating condition that accounts for nearly $90 billion in healthcare spending, the third largest source.
But if you’re exercising, you’re doing the right thing to manage your discomfort.
It’s a vicious circle when it comes to back pain. You want to lie in bed, but then you’ll feel stiff and achy when you get up for the day.
That makes you think that moving around will worsen it. Unfortunately, the opposite is true.
Staying active maintains good blood flow to your back to aid the healing process, especially if a muscle strain is the cause.
Most cases will heal themselves over time. But exercising is an excellent prevention and treatment both physically and mentally.
Starting with some simple stretches can help you ease into your workout. The operative word is gentle.
Warm up with some light aerobic then go on to some easy warm-up moves to prepare your back for activity.
Often inflexibility will worsen back pain. That’s what makes an exercise like the hamstring stretch so effective.
Like many others, there are modifications of this move to match your range of movement and avoid further strain.
You can still experience the pose without the risk of further injury. Begin by laying down on your back with your knees bent.
Place a towel or yoga strap around your right foot. Straighten your leg and point it up toward the ceiling.
Don’t force the move if you feel any discomfort. It’s all right if you can’t straighten your knee completely. That’s why you can use a strap.
If you’re able, pull your outstretched leg toward you. Hold for several seconds and gently release it. Repeat with your other leg.
Like the previous move, the back extension helps relieve inflexibility by stretching the muscles of your chest and abdomen.
Coupled with back exercises, they can increase your range of motion and help relieve pain. The key to avoiding pain is balance.
Both your core and back need to support your spine equally. Begin by laying on your belly with your legs extended behind you.
Place your palms and forearms flat on the floor at shoulder level. Then, slowly lift your upper torso. Keep your elbows under your shoulder.
Hold the pose to experience the gentle stretch. Lower your body back to the floor after maintaining it for several moments.
Bend your heels if you feel any tension along the bottom of your feet until it passes.
Child’s pose is a classic yoga move that works well as a warm-up exercise for back pain. This exercise targets your hips and thighs. You’ll find that it’s calming for an added benefit.
Begin by kneeling on the floor and sitting on your heels. If you find this posture difficult, sit on a yoga brick or folded blanket to relieve any pressure.
You can use these props to support your abdomen and head too. Place your palms on your thighs.
Then reach forward with both arms as you bend your torso toward the floor. Keep your arms soft.
Only extend as far as it is comfortable. Hold the pose for several seconds. Move each palm back toward you and gently raise your torso back to a sitting position.
The bridge pose targets the chest and neck muscles. It’s a soothing pose that you’re sure to love.
You can do this exercise as a static move where you’ll hold it for 10 to 15 seconds. You can also do several reps done slowly.
Both start out the same and provide identical health benefits. Lie on your back with your knees bent.
Then, raise your hips off the floor, keeping them in line with your legs and spine. Place your extended arms on either side of you with your palms facing down.
You can also clasp them behind your back to deepen the pose. To do reps, repeat the move 5 to 10 times, pausing briefly at the top of the pose.
Don’t return all the way to the floor between reps until you’re done.
The cat-cow pose combines two yoga moves to stretch both your chest and back. You’ll find it helpful to use your breath as a guide to create a welcome rhythm between each of them.
Begin on all fours in a tabletop position. Inhale, then exhale as you round your back upward like a cat stretching.
Don’t move your head, but rather let it hang down. Hold the pose briefly.
The belly portion of the move comes with the cow pose. After returning to tabletop position, push your tummy toward the floor as you lift your chest to deepen the stretch.
Remain looking forward. You can do the cat pose as you inhale and the cow pose as you release your breath. Repeat alternating between the stretches several times.
You can do this sequence in order anytime you need a rest break or to relieve tension. All these moves are non-jarring and easy for even beginners.
But let your body be your guide. Don’t do a move or push yourself if you experience any tension or pain.
Done regularly, you’ll find that they’ll increase your flexibility for some welcome relief.
Tips for Avoiding Back Pain
Staying active is one of the best ways to avoid future flare-ups. It helps maintain your strength and flexibility which can speed recovery from an injury.
It can also help you maintain a healthy weight which can add additional strain.
But you learned one of the most effective ways to prevent back pain when you were a child, sometimes shoes can help.
Correct posture whether you’re sitting or standing will help you avoid developing the habits that can lead to improper balance.
Sudden, awkward moves are a common cause of muscle strain. Perhaps we do indeed learn the most important things in kindergarten.
Our team at The Fitness Tribe often collaborates together to produce content. Many times the content is not written by a single author, instead it is usually a team effort.