Back pain exercises are for those people who know what a back pain is. Back pain affects a lot of people worldwide and has caused frequent absenteeism in the workplace; proof that if left untreated can be debilitating and frustrating.
If you will try to Google search remedies for back pain it will give you thousands of search results, but the question is – are they accurate? Be careful in falling for marketing promotions to sell a DVD instructional program or a nutritional supplement that all claim to relieve you of your back pain. Your simple back pain may turn out to be a serious problem than you think.
The lower back is the most commonly affected by back pain that is why it is also commonly referred to as lumbar pain, low back pain or backache and there are specific back exercises for back pain relief.
Risk Factors in Developing Back Pain
There are several factors that contribute to the development of back pain like:
Age and Sex
Age is the number one risk factor in developing back pain due to the skeletal degenerative changes that lead to conditions like degenerative discs, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. Usually back pain starts by age 30 and women are more at risk because of menopausal effects.
If you are in a workplace that requires you to lift heavy objects, bend and twist often like in a construction site, and if you are not doing any back pain exercises to relieve yourself, you are at high risk in developing severe back pains.
If you have illnesses like bladder or kidney infection, endometriosis, ovarian cysts or cancer, bone tumors and testicular structure abnormalities it can give you symptoms of pain that radiates at the back.
Smoking can cause your bones to age fast by depleting enough blood supply to your spine causing speedy degeneration of the discs.
Bad posture, obesity, pregnancy, smoking, lack of exercise, low pain threshold, leg length difference, back injuries and small fractures, structural abnormalities like in scoliosis, stress and depression can also cause acute or chronic back pain.
The Right Approach in Dealing with Back Pain and Back Pain Exercises
Here are a few important things you need to consider in dealing with back pain and when considering back exercises.
- Before even starting your back pain exercises, be sure you have consulted your health provider or physiotherapist about it. Have a professional do your structured exercise program rather than just follow internet back pain exercises that may not be suited for you.
- Regular back pain exercises are basic in preventing and relieving back pain for it strengthens the muscles that support your back. So be sure to stick to them on a consistent schedule.
- Avoid activities that will increase the cause of pain like long driving, over bending, sitting or standing for more than 30 minutes.
- For severe back pain episodes you may take non-prescription analgesics and muscle relaxants, but if pain persists you have to see your health provider.
- If you have back pain and are seeking relief from it, do not go to the gym and rely only with the advice from your fitness trainer unless he is properly trained and certified to give you the right exercise program.
- Always perform the correct body mechanics so as not to further strain your back and aggravate the pain.
- Cardio exercises that can complement your back exercises include swimming and brisk walking; these 2 exercises improve the overall functional ability without putting so much pressure on your back.
- Muscle spasms usually trigger the back pain as a result of underlying spinal conditions.
Simple Back Pain Exercises that can Ease Your Pain
The following back pain exercises are used to stretch and relax stiff muscles; strengthen your back, abdominal, hip and thigh muscles to add support to your spine. WORD OF CAUTION: These back exercises can only be employed if you have a clearance to perform them from your health provider or physiotherapist.
Trunk Flexion Stretch – Sit on bended knees while hands are placed on your sides then slowly tuck your chin and arch back backwards and hold for 45 to 60 seconds. Sit back slowly on your heels, letting shoulders drop toward floor and relax for a few seconds and repeat for 10 times.
Standing Hamstring Stretch – Stand on your right leg with your left leg placed on top of a low table or chair. Slowly bend your right knee feeling your hamstring stretch and your hip and abdominal muscles contract. Hold for 35 to 40 seconds then repeat 5 to 10 times for each leg.
Curl-up Exercise – This is one of the back pain exercises where you use a mattress and lie flat on your back with your arms folded across your chest. Slowly tilt your pelvis to flatten your back, while doing this tuck your chin in towards your chest and contract your abdominal muscles by raising your head and shoulders from floor. Hold your position for 10 seconds and release. Repeat 15 times on the first try and then increase the number of repetitions each exercise.
Double knee-to-chest Stretch – Use a mattress and lie flat on your back then slowly pull both knees with your arms towards your chest until you feel a comfortable stretch in your lower back. Hold the stretch for 45 to 60 seconds then relax by releasing and lowering your feet on the floor. Repeat 15 times on the first try and then increase the number of repetitions each exercise.
Lower trunk Rotation Stretch – Use a mattress and lie flat on your back with your feet together then rotate both knees on one side and hold for 45-60 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
Pelvic Tilt Exercise – This is one of the back pain exercises where you use a mattress and lie flat on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor and your arms on your sides. Slowly flatten the small part of the back against the floor making your hips tilt upwards. Hold for 15 seconds then release to relax. Increase holding time till 60 seconds for the next tries.
Prone Lumbar Extension – Lie on your stomach with your hands placed on the floor near the sides of your head. Slowly push your upper body off the floor by straightening your arms with your hips still on the floor. Hold for 10 seconds then move back to the floor and relax for a few seconds then repeat 10 times.
Alternate Arm-leg Extension Exercise – Face the floor on your hands and knees holding your body in upright position. Raise your left arm and right leg at the same time without arching your neck. Hold for 10 seconds and release. Repeat with the right arm and left leg then hold for 10 seconds and release.
Alternate Leg Extension Exercise – Lie on your stomach with arms folded under your chin. Slowly lift one leg without bending it that allows the muscles to be stretched at a height you feel most comfortable with, keep your pelvis flat on the floor while doing this back pain exercise. Slowly lower your leg and repeat with the other leg.
Alternative Therapies and Back Pain Exercises to Relieve Back Pain
Yoga Classes – Helps relieve stress and back pain by releasing muscle tension. It is a holistic approach that also promotes overall healing of the mind, body and spirit.
Regular Massage and Aromatherapy – Helps relieve muscle spasm and tension though the use of liniments and herbal remedies that help improve blood circulation.
Physiotherapy Exercises – A physiotherapist is the person to design your physiotherapy program, this is a combination of back exercises, heat or cold application, traction and machine aided therapies.
Spinal Manipulation by a Chiropractor – This is a very sensitive therapy method that can only be done by a chiropractic specialist. It works on the principles of relieving spinal and muscle tension through manual manipulation
Acupuncture – Is an age old Asian therapy method that works on the nerve endings to relieve acute and chronic pain.
Surgery – A conventional method of management where surgery is needed to immediately relieve severe symptoms as is in the cases of lumbar disc herniation, spinal fusion and degenerative disc changes.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) – Is the use of controlled electrical impulses to control pain sensation.
Simple Home Remedies as an Adjunct to Back Pain Exercises
Bed Rest – Is indicated in severe cases of back pain, the principle here is to temporarily immobilize your back to prevent further injury until such time the acute pain subsides.
Firm Cushioned Beds – Is recommended for people with back pain to support the alignment of the spine.
Curled-up Fetal Position – Is advised to people who cannot lie down flat or face down while sleeping. To do this curl-up like a fetus and place a pillow between your legs; change sides often to relieve pressure on your knees. It is certainly not any one of the back pain exercises but gives you the relief back pain exercises can give.
Good Body Mechanics – Avoid bending on your waist instead bend your knees when picking up something. Avoid standing and sitting down for long hours; if it cannot be avoided do some stretching every 2 hours.
If an object is too heavy for you, get help; if you must carry it on your own stay as close to the object you are to carry and tighten your abdominal muscles while carrying something; when standing widen your support by spreading your legs a bit. Avoid using high heeled shoes to avoid straining your back. When sitting down be sure to straighten your back with arms well rested.
Weight Loss – Your extra weight is causing more pressure to your back so it’s time to get rid of the extra pounds. Start with back pain exercises and slowly do other exercises as well.
Back Pain Exercises that are Contra-indicated for People with Back Pain
If you have known serious underlying cause of back pain, these activities are to be avoided:
- Sit-ups with straight legs