Before you head off to the doctor to find out how to address your lower back pain with medicines or surgery, try these simple but very effective exercises that will help to stretch and strengthen your muscles. You may find they’re just what you need for a strong back this is pain free all day long!
Lower back pain is not uncommon today, especially for women with certain anatomical or lifestyle factors that may contribute to their symptoms. Severe lower back pain can interfere with your mobility and cause pain in your legs and up to your shoulders, whereas even minor aches and pain in the back region can be a constant annoyance.
The good news for women who suffer with chronic lower back pain is that there are a number of effective exercises you can try to alleviate the pain and strengthen the muscles. Using certain machines at the gym will help but you can perform these exercises in the comfort of your own home, quickly and easily. The key is to go through these exercises regularly, as this will make the back strong and help to alleviate your everyday pain.
You may notice that stretching alleviates back pain, simply because it helps to encourage blood circulation and allows the muscles to flex and bend. When you sit for long periods of time or are hunched over your desk, your back muscles become clenched so that blood cannot flow as freely.
While simple stretches can alleviate back pain, quality stretches will do so much more. Standing up and stretching your hands over your head will open up your back but to really address your back pain, take this one step further. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and put your hands above your head, fingers clasped together. Gently bend your knees slightly as you lean backwards. In one fluid movement, lean forward so that your hands touch the ground between your feet as you straighten your knees. You’ll feel your leg muscles stretch but your back will also stretch in both directions during this movement.
Gently move back and forth between these two stretches. This will ensure your back gets a good stretch in both directions.
Dog and Cat Stretches
Many yoga poses can benefit the back, but sometimes holding one pose too long does little to encourage blood circulation through these muscles. A good way to address lower back pain with yoga poses is to move back and forth between dog and cat poses. To do this, get down on all fours, your hands beneath your shoulders. Relax your back and neck.
Start with a cat pose or stretch. Arch your back up while your head drops down, making an upside down “C” shape. Gently and fluidly move into the dog pose or stretch; push your abdominals down toward the floor while you pull your head up, looking toward the ceiling, and push your hips up and back. Your body is now making the “C” shape in the opposite direction. For maximum results, gently move between these two poses or stretches for at least three sets.
This is another good yoga pose that relaxes the back and helps with sore muscles. Start by lying on your belly, arms next to you as if you’re going to do a pushup, your forehead on the exercise mat. However, rather than push up with your arms, gently roll yourself up and back by gently lifting your forehead, then your chin, then your neck, then your shoulders, and lastly your belly. Balance yourself on your arms but they should not be doing the work of holding you in place, as your legs stay on the mat.
As you perform this movement, feel your back pushing in toward your abdominals. This works all those muscles that are scrunched and squeezed during the day when you sit at a desk. Gently roll yourself back down and repeat for at least three sets. Remember to be very gentle and to roll and curve yourself through this movement; don’t push your upper body off the floor but think of forming that “C” shape.
This is a common exercise women do to tighten their tush, but it also works the back muscles. Start by lying on the floor, knees bent, feet on the ground. Push your buttocks and back up so that your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. As you do this, forget about tightening your tush and concentrate on relaxing the back muscles as they stretch and loosen.
To perform rolling curves, lie on the ground and start by pulling your knees to your chest, as far as your legs will bend. As you do, feel your buttocks moving up and off the floor and concentrate on the stretch in your spine rather than worrying about stretching your legs. It often helps to rock just a slight bit as you move your buttocks off the floor more and more with each movement.
If you’re in good enough shape to manage it, you might take this rolling curve even further by rolling enough to put your legs over your head, your toes touching the floor behind you, arms straight out for balance, while your back stays in place. You’ll feel your spine curving and stretching to support this movement.
What are your favorite moves for alleviating back pain? Have you tried any of these and have they been successful? Share your stories and tips in the comments below!