Five Exercises to Help Your Back Pain Go Away for Good
For the 31 million Americans who suffer from daily back pain, relief can be hard to find. In fact, back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide and the second most common reason for visits to the doctor. While it can be caused by many different things—extended periods of sitting or standing at work, bad posture, stress, an overly-strenuous workout or helping a friend move, to mention a few—once back pain hits, it can stick around for a long time. Your gut instinct might be to stay frozen until it goes away, but the best thing for your back is to keep it moving with gentle stretches. In fact, a regular routine of a few quick exercises can help you reduce your back pain without a trip to the doctor. Try to do the following exercises every morning and again at night.
- Back curl: Lying on your back, pull one knee towards your chest and hold for 15 seconds. Place it back down and repeat with the other leg. Now pull both knees up at the same time and hold. Run through the cycle two or three times.
- Side-to-side twist: Still lying on your back, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Keeping both shoulders on the ground, roll your bent knees to one side, holding them there for 10 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Run through the series two or three times.
- Bridge: Still lying on your back with your feet flat on floor, lift your hips and torso off the floor into a bridge. Then interlace your hands underneath your hips and press your shoulders and upper arms into the floor, lifting your hips higher. Hold for 10 seconds. Lower yourself slowly back down, rolling down from the top of your spine to your tailbone. Repeat three times.
- Cat-cow: Start on all fours, with palms and knees on the ground. Slowly arch your back, tilt your butt up and look up at the ceiling so you make a C curve with your torso. Return to the neutral starting position, then tilt your pelvis down and gaze at the floor near your feet, so your body reverses the C curve the other way. Return to neutral and repeat the series three times.
- Seated twists: Sitting on the floor, cross your right leg over your left leg. Bracing your left elbow against the outside of your right knee, twist to the side, holding the stretch for 10 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side and cycle through three times on each side.
There are some circumstances where you should immediately see a doctor for back pain, like if there is numbness, swelling or intense pain. If you fall into one of those categories, make sure to call your physician. And for more back pain moves, see the below video:
Photo credit: Michael Dorausch