Back pain should be added to the list of life constants, in between death and taxes. Adults have suffered more from back pain in recent years due to a widespread lifestyle adjustment. As office work becomes commonplace, constant sitting and lack of physical activity have caused a cascade of patients flocking to pain specialists. While doctors have previously pushed bed rest, treatments for back pain have been leaning more towards stretches and exercises which help the muscles grow rather than deteriorate. Stretches for back pain can dramatically reduce the occurrence of painful stabs or aches, but they must be done properly. Exercising will help ease back pain troubles as well as help you with your weight loss goals, provided the correct form is used. What are the best exercises and stretches for back pain? We’ve got the lowdown!
Back pain is caused by a variety of lifestyle factors
Some people are born with spinal or muscular issues which cause them innate back pain, and some are inundated with the painful symptoms due to lifestyle choices and habits. Lower back pain, in particular, has become common due to frequent poor posture. It’s no secret being sedentary is not good for the human body, but as office jobs took over manual labor there has been a rise in lower back pain. It’s hard to sit ramrod straight for hours at a time but slouching eventually contorts and weakens the muscles in your back, causing pain. On the flip side, working out incorrectly also will lead to back pain. When working with weights, even the slightest bit of poor form could cause severe injuries to the back. A common cause of back pain is lifting too much weight; if you can’t control the weights with the targeted muscles and need to rely on your back to compensate, you’re not working out properly.
Yoga-inspired stretches will help alleviate back pain
If you find yourself suffering from back pain, the temptation to pop an Advil and hope it goes away can be strong. This won’t help heal the cause and ignoring symptoms can be extremely detrimental. Before you reach for a painkiller, try some simple stretches designed to help back pain first. One of the easiest ones to do is a simple extension (or, in yoga terms, the cobra pose). Lay flat on your stomach and bring your wrists up to be directly under your elbows. From there, breathe deeply and push yourself up. Use your abdominal muscles and not your shoulder muscles to hold you, as they’ll help strengthen the back. Hold for fifteen seconds, slowly lower yourself and repeat up to five times. Once you’ve mastered that, try a rotation stretch. Rotation stretches start with a seated position, with your legs straight out in front of you. From there, cross your right foot over your left knee. Rotate your shoulders so you lean over that extended limb and hold the position for 10 seconds. Switch sides and you’re done! It’s important to stretch not only the back (through extensions) but also the limbs and muscles which connect directly. This encourages the muscles to work with each other and ultimately release tension, relieving back pain.
Easy exercises to strengthen back muscles
Stretches are only half the battle. In order to help alleviate back pain, you want to actually grow the supporting muscles. This is done relatively easily through the use of workouts. Don’t reach for the barbell yet! Start small with a basic wall sit, which will activate your core, legs, and back. It’s just as it sounds: the ideal wall sit has your back flat against the wall and your legs at a 90-degree angle, as if there was an invisible chair underneath you. From there, you can roll forward for the plank exercise. Better known as ‘the push-up position’, the plank is a great basic exercise to strengthen your core and back muscles. For beginners, get into a push up position but rest on your forearms instead of having all the weight on your hands. This can help avoid wrist strain, but if you feel comfortable with it you can assume the standard extended-arm version. Holding this position for 30 seconds or more and taking care to engage your abdominal muscles and avoid squeezing your glutes will build muscles and relieve some of the strain put on your back. Once you lower yourself down, finish off the workout with a glute bridge. From a lying position on your back, put your knees up and feet flat on the floor. Pulling in your core and lifting yourself off the ground, you’ll help reinforce the natural curve of your spine. For more help with your weight loss journey contact Advanced Medical Weight Loss & Wellness Center today!