Back pain is a common ailment affecting millions of people worldwide. However, 90% of back pain cases do not require surgery to find relief. Nonoperative methods, including stretching and exercises, can be highly effective in managing and even alleviating back pain.
Understand Your Body
Prior to trying any new stretches and exercises, it’s important to understand your body’s limitations and potential causes of your back pain. Before trying to solve any of your back issues, talk with your doctor first to get a better grasp on your back’s limitations. Understanding the root cause of your discomfort will guide you and your doctor or physical therapist in choosing the most suitable pain management techniques.
Stretching can be a great option for reliving back pain. Start with gentle stretches that focus on the muscles supporting your spine. Some stretches you can integrate into your routine to help with this include:
- Cat-Cow Stretch: Involves alternating between arching and rounding your back while on your hands and knees, promoting flexibility and relieving tension in the spine.
- Child’s Pose: A resting yoga pose where you kneel and sit back on your heels while reaching your arms forward, gently stretching the back.
- Hamstring Stretch: Lie on your back and secure a towel around one ankle. Slowly pull the towel overhead, gently extending your leg upward to stretch the hamstrings.
Strengthen Core Muscles
A strong core is vital for supporting your spine and maintaining good posture. These exercises can help strengthen your core:
- Planks: Hold a push-up position, engaging your core and keeping your body in a straight line from head to heels to strengthen abdominal muscles and support back.
- Bridge pose: Lie on your back, bend your knees, and lift your hips off the ground to strengthen the lower back glutes and core while improving spine flexibility.
- Bird-dog exercise: Extend one arm forward while simultaneously extending the opposite leg backward from a hands-and-knees position, helping to stabilize the core and improve balance.
Maintaining proper posture is key to preventing and managing back pain. Be mindful of your posture while sitting, standing, and even during daily activities. Ergonomic adjustments, like securing a supportive chair or adjusting your computer screen, can make a significant difference in the amount of strain you put on your back.
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