Exercise to prevent and alleviate back pain

Back pain can be very aggravating and can interfere with your daily activities and your quality of life. The muscles of the back are used in just about everything we do, and because they support the weight of your body, they are greatly susceptible to injury.

Exercise is really your best defense against back pain. It is important to keep a strong core to support you through your daily activities. Exercises to strengthen your back, abdominals, butt, hips, and thighs are essential to incorporate into your workout regimen.

I have experienced a back injury in the past, and I can tell you from experience that it is not fun. It hinders everything you do, every move you make. Because I have a weak back, and minor scoliosis, keeping a strong core is imperative and something I will need to continue to maintain throughout life. Back strength diminishes as we age and your risk for injury goes up, so even if you don’t currently suffer from any type of back pain, it is still important to strengthen and take care of your core.

If you are one of the millions of people to suffer from back pain, here are a few exercises (SparkPeople) you can do to help prevent further injury. The important thing to remember is to give it time. Do the exercises on a regular basis and the results will pay off in the long run.

*Know that this is not a substitute for seeing a medical professional. If you are experiencing back pain, or are suffering from an injury, seek medical attention and get your doctor’s approval before beginning any exercise routine.

Leg Raises to strengthen stomach and hip muscles
How to: Lie on your back with your arms at your sides. Lift one leg off the floor to about a 45° angle. Hold your leg up for a count of 10 and return it to the floor. Do the same with the other leg. Repeat 5 times with each leg. If that is too difficult, keep one knee bent and the foot flat on the ground while raising the opposite leg.

Leg Raises to strengthen back and hip muscles
How to: Lie on your stomach. Tighten the muscles in one leg and raise it from the floor. Raise it as high as you can (approximately 30°) without causing any discomfort to your lower back or lifting your hip off the floor. Hold your leg up for a count of 10 and return it to the floor. Do the same with the other leg. Repeat 5 times with each leg.

Wall Slides to strengthen your back, hip and leg muscles
How to: Stand with your back against a wall and feet shoulder-width apart. Slide down into a crouch until the knees bend to about 90°. Count to 5 and slide back up the wall. Repeat 5 times.

Back Leg Swing to strengthen hip and back muscles
How to: Stand behind a chair with your hands on the back of the chair. Lift one leg back and up while keeping the knee straight. Return slowly. Raise the other leg and return. Repeat 5 times with each leg.

These exerices are so easy and can be done virtually anywhere. Try incorporating them into your exercise routine or do a few while watching TV in the evening. Below are more great core strengthening moves I encourage you to try, as well as a few yoga moves to increase strength and flexibility in your muscles.

Strengthen your core with these 5 great moves

Doing yoga is another great way to strengthen and increase flexibility. Try out these moves to help with back pain.

Aside from doing exercises, there are other ways to alleviate the aches of a weak back. Making small changes while you sit at your desk or sleep at night can help tremendously.

With so many people working long hours in front of a computer, posture has stopped receiving any attention. Try to focus on sitting up straight and keeping your abdominals strong. Sitting in a quality chair is important, as well. Find one with a lot of lumbar (lower back) support. Another way to achieve this is to sit with a small pillow at the small of your back or stick a rolled up towel between the you and the chair.

Another way to prevent waking up with a stiff back is to change the way you sleep. Many doctors will recommend you sleep on your side in the fetal position with a pillow between your legs. The pillow, preferably a big, fluffy one, should be held between your knees. A body pillow can also be used. This may take some getting used to, but eventually you won’t even notice it’s there and you may see a decrease in back pain upon waking.

Lastly, be aware of how you move in your day to day activities. Something as simple as cleaning, doing laundry, or lifting your child could put you at risk for injury if it’s not done properly. Make sure when lifting, to bend at the knees, not the waist, and hold the object close to your body. Let the legs to the grunt of the work as to not strain your back.

Hopefully these tips help if you are suffering from back pain, but remember to consult your health care provider before beginning any exercise.


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