Back pain is an uncomfortable reality of modern life. Whether it’s from bad posture or for sitting down for hours at a time, how can you relieve the pain? Dr Dawn Harper and physiotherapist Sammy Margo tell you how.
- Back pain exercises: The SIX stretches you can try to ease pain
Dr Dawn Harper began: “There is a growing body of evidence highlighting the link between sedentary lifestyles and back pain.
“Already, huge numbers of people are reporting problems, and this is likely to continue to rise.”
1. Stretching – the spinal stretch
Dr Harper said: “Stretches, which only take a minute or two, will reduce stiffness, boost circulation and ease pain.”
A study by Group Health Research Institute, in Seattle, supports Dr Harper’s recommendation.
The 12-week trial revealed 228 adults with chronic back pain found that stretching exercises were more effective than yoga at reducing pain.
One stretching exercise suggested by physiotherapist Margo, and endorsed by Dr Harper, is the spinal stretch.
How to do the spinal stretch
Feet hip width apart. Raise your arms, palms to ceiling – go slowly.
Reach as high as you can comfortably. Release as you breathe out and lower your arms to the side. Repeat two times.
The professional pair continue to detail the four other exercises that would help to reduce back pain.
2. Stretching – flex and extend
For this exercise, stand by your desk, feet hip width apart. Place your hands or elbows on the desk to take the pressure off your back.
Slowly start to arch your back as if someone was lifting you between your shoulder blades. Allow your head and neck to relax down.
Tuck in your tailbone, engage your butt, hold.
Drop your tummy down and dip your back. Bring your head up slowly, and repeat the sequence twice.
3. Stretching – rotate
As you’re already up and about, stand, feet hip width apart, clench butt and pull your tummy in. Keep your hips facing forward and stretch your arms out.
Cross right hand over your body and place palm on left hip then take it back to where we started and take left hand across body to right hip.
Gradually move up the body rotating and placing your hands to your waist, then up to shoulders. Repeat twice.
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4. Strengthen – roll down
To help support your spine, Margo recommends “improving your core, abdominal strength and building muscles in the shoulders and lower back”.
How to do the roll down?
Stand feet hip width apart. Engage your butt and pull your tummy in. Tuck your chin to your chest and roll down bone by bone.
Let your head pull you down, let arms hang loose, take a couple of breaths. Slowly roll up into standing. Repeat twice.
5. Strengthen – the plank
Ready for a challenge? Get down on all fours – hands under shoulders, knees under hips. Breathe in and engage your butt and pull in your tummy.
Extend one leg back, knee lifted, then the other, so you are in a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Hold it for a few breaths. Repeat twice.
Dr Harper and physiotherapist Margo support the Mind Your Back campaign that hopes to help manage and prevent back pain.
The Mind Your Back campaign champions five steps: stretch, therapy, exercise, posture and strengthening.
To find out more visit Mind Your Back.
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