Exercises for Back Pain
Exercises for Back Pain
By Brennan Howe
One way to get a good stretch is with an exercise ball. Many
people like these because you can stretch your back without
straining it and other muscles. And like with pilates,
exercise ball stretching helps strengthen your core muscles,
including your back. If you are new to the exercise ball,
chose one that is soft and not 100% inflated. These are just a
little bit easier to work on than hard balls. As with other
stretches, do these exercise ball stretches slowly and smoothly,
hold for about ten seconds (longer if you can), and repeat ten
BACK ARCH: Sit on the ball as if it is a chair. Walk
your feet forward so that the ball rolls under your back until your
rear end is on the ground. Place your hands behind your head
and slowly push yourself back up so that you roll backwards over the
BACK FLOOR PRESS: Lie on the floor with the ball under your
knees and legs over it. Arms should be resting at your sides.
Pull your belly button towards your spine and hold. Remember to keep
the rest of your muscles relaxed. As you get more comfortable
with this exercise, you can do it while lifting your arms a few
inches off the floor, as in the pilates Hundred.
BALL SQUATS: Stand with ball between your back and a wall,
with feet hip width apart. Keeping your back straight, bend
knees until they at ninety degrees and thighs are parallel to the
floor. The exercise ball will roll up your back. Hold
and return to starting position.
Strengthening exercises are great for relieving back pain, as well
as preventing future injury. Many of the above exercises will
strengthen the back muscles, and here are a few more to incorporate
into your exercise routine.
FRONT LYING CHEST LIFT: Lie on your stomach on the floor,
interlace your fingers, and place your palms against the back of
your head. If that causes pain, simply place your palms on the
floor on either side of your head. Now raise your chest up of
the floor just a few inches and hold for five seconds. Work up
to three sets of eight repetitions.
DOUBLE KNEES TO CHEST: Lie on your back, arms to your side
and legs extended. Bring both knees in to your chest, grasping
your legs behind the knees. Hold
PELVIC TILT: Lie on your back, feet flat on the floor with
knees bent. Press down with your feet and push your pelvis
upward. Hold and repeat.
STOMACH LEG LIFTS: Lie on your stomach, palms on the floor
supporting your chin. Press your pelvis to the floor and lift
both legs off the ground a few inches. Hold and repeat.
CURL UPS: Lie on your back, hands behind your head, knees
bent and feet flat on the floor. Curl up, lifting your face
toward the ceiling, until your shoulders are a few inches above the
ground. Hold and repeat.
OBLIQUE CURL UPS: Start out the same was as curl ups, but
roll your knees to the right side and then curl up. Repeat on
If you go to a physical therapist for back pain, chances are you
will have to do some kind of aerobic exercise as part of your
treatment. Even if you donít seek therapy for your back, itís
still a good idea to incorporate aerobic exercise into your back
pain treatment plan. For those who suffer from back pain, the
best aerobic exercises are low impact. These include swimming,
walking, water aerobics, and bicycling. Running and aerobic
dance should be avoided as these jar the body and are too hard on
already-injured muscles and joints. There are even videos
featuring non impact aerobics, which can be great for those
suffering from debilitating back pain. Not only does aerobic
exercise benefit your body, but it also benefits your mind: aerobic
exercise has been shown to improve moods, decrease depression, and
increase the tolerance for pain.
If you havenít exercised regularly in the past, you should start out
slowly. Just walk two or three blocks or swim one lap, and
gradually increase your pace and distance. Any exercise at all
is much better than none. You should eventually work up to a
regular schedule of twenty to forty minutes of exercise three to
five times per week. An added bonus is the release of
endorphins that occurs with thirty minutes or more of aerobic
exercise. Posture is very important in easing the strain on
your back. If you chose to walk, stand up straight without
slouching. Keep your back arched slightly and abdominal
muscles pulled in. If you bicycle, adjust the peddles and
handle bars so that you an sit up straight.
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