Whether it’s chronic or temporary, back pain affects nearly 80% of Americans. There are many causes from posture or sleep habits, genetics, trauma/injury and many more. However, you can easily treat minor back pain with simple stretches and exercises each day
Stretches for Your Back
Stretching is vital to a healthy back. When stretching, remember to wear comfortable clothes, avoid jerky movements and hold stretches for a long time (20-30 seconds). Repetition is key as you should hold for 20-30 seconds, rest and then repeat the same stretch a few times. Above all, stretching should be pain-free. Here are a few easy stretches you can do every day:
Hamstring stretches – These are very common to relieve back pain. In fact, stretching the legs is extremely important for back health as many of those muscles and nerves connect to your lower back. Specifically, lay down, bend one knee with its foot on the ground and stretch the other leg straight in the air. You want to keep the leg stable, so try wrapping a cloth around your foot in the air and pull down gently. You should feel a stretch down the back of your leg. Repeat a few times for each leg.
Back extensions (seal stretch) – Lay on your stomach with your hands flat on the ground and in line with your shoulders. Slightly push up with your hands to raise your shoulders from the ground but keep your legs and hip flat on the ground. This is also called a seal stretch. You will feel the stretching in your lower back.
Rowing stretch – Sit in a chair (you can do this at work) and keep your back straight. Lift your arms straight to the sides and bend the elbow so your hands are close to your ears. Slowly roll you shoulders back and forth (like you’re rowing a boat, but in a higher position). This is great for your shoulders/upper back.
Exercises for Your Back
It’s important to do low impact exercises because you don’t want to put stress on your back or cause injury. These are some easy exercises to help strengthen your back:
Walking – That’s right, something as simple as walking can help strengthen the back. It’s one of the best since it doesn’t require special equipment. Walking actually works muscles that connect to your lower back from your legs. While you’re walking, feel your lower back, you can feel it flex back and forth as you walk. This is working out those muscles for further back support.
Elliptical machine (or steps) – This is a little less jarring that walking, as the elliptical machine provides more of a gliding motion rather than continuously walking forward on hard surfaces. It results in less shock going through your legs.
Water exercising – Swimming in water is one of the best forms of exercise for your back. Gravity can have some negative affects on the back, so the buoyancy of water helps you exercise your back without putting stress on it. Just swimming laps works out all the muscles in your legs, arms, shoulders and back.
For more information on non-surgical options and more information on back exercises see Dr. Saullo at Spine and Scoliosis Specialists. Dr. Saullo has dual training in Physiatry and Physical Therapy that allows him to offer the best options of non-surgical treatment of back pain.
If you do these exercises and stretches and still experience back pain, schedule an appointment with the Spine and Scoliosis Specialists by calling 336.333.6306, as it may be a back condition that needs medical treatment, and possibly spine surgery.