Your back, just like the rest of your body, needs regular exercise to be healthy and strong. It needs a regular fitness regimen to keep it performing at peak efficiency.
Back pain exercise involves exercise of not only your back muscles, but also of those that support your back. The abdomen and thigh muscles are in the second group. You will want to exercise both groups to avoid or alleviate back pain. You may also want to add healthful fish oils to your daily diet to lubricate your joints. This is especially important as you age, since aging joints become more susceptible to painful problems.
Back Pain Exercise You Can Do At Home
A good physiotherapist or chiropractor will be able to teach you many useful exercises for reducing back pain, but these five will get you started.
1. Back, hip, and leg muscles. Stand with your back against a wall. Place your feet shoulder-width apart, your hands on your hips. Inhale and exhale deeply and evenly as you gently slide your back down the wall until your knees are at an angle of about 90 degrees. Count to five, and then gently and slowly slide back to your original position. Repeat five times. This will stretch and strengthen important back, hip, and leg muscles.
2. Abdomen muscles. Lie on your back on the floor. Firmly place your feet flat on the floor. Your knees should be bent and raised toward the ceiling. Lean forward until your head and shoulders leave the floor, trying to touch your knees with both hands. Hold the position as you count to 10. Relax and repeat 5 times. This will strengthen the abdominal muscles that help support your back.
3. Back muscles. Stand with hands on hips, feet slightly apart. Move your hand backward onto the small of your back. Keep your knees straight. Gently bend backwards at the waist as far as you can. Be careful not to bend so far that you increase your back pain. Hold the bend for 2 to 3 seconds. Return to your normal position. This back pain exercise will strengthen the muscles in your back itself. It will also loosen tight back muscles.
4. Hip and back muscles. Use a straight back kitchen or dining chair for this exercise. Stand behind the chair, holding the chair back with both hands. Lift one leg up and back, keeping its knee straight. Return it slowly to position, and lift the other leg up and back in the same way. Repeat 5 times with each leg. This exercise will strengthen hip muscles that support your back, as well as the back muscles themselves.
5. Back and hip muscles. You may want a mat under you for this one. Lying face down on the floor, tighten the muscles in one leg and raise it from the floor. Hold the leg up while you count to ten, and then lower it slowly to the floor. Lift the other leg, count to 10, and lower it slowly to the floor. Repeat 5 times with each leg to give added strength to your back muscles and the hip muscles that support them.
CAUTION: Back Pain Exercise Demands Warm-up!
You’ve heard it before, but this word of caution is important. Before beginning your back pain exercise, talk to your physician about what you plan to do. You may want to show these exercises to him or her and get advice. Then set aside time to exercise regularly, at least every other day.
Back pain exercise demands warm-up, so schedule at least five minutes at the start of your exercise period for that. Warming up lowers blood pressure, improves blood flow to the heart, increases muscle temperature and makes muscles more pliable. Warm up with some type of slow, rhythmic movement. Walking is a good warm-up for your back pain exercises. Use an easy walking pace, inhaling and exhaling evenly and deeply to send oxygen to your muscles.
Back pain exercise has benefits for the rest of your body also. Think of your back as the main core of a healthy body. By giving it simple, low impact exercise each day or every other day, you will strengthen your muscles, preparing them to protect and support the painful area throughout the day.
Get Even More Help for Back Pain
While back pain exercise is a long-term solution to your back pain, you want to reduce your pain right now. You don’t want to wait. You want treatments that will give relief while you make muscles stronger.