Do you belong to the two-thirds of Americans who suffer from lower back pain? While nearly 72 percent use pain medication as a way to relieve their symptoms, more than 55 percent use heat and cold packs at home for relief.
But are these methods really getting to the root cause: our ways of moving? We’ve been hunched over our smartphones and laptops, sitting at our desks and slumped over on the couch – and our bodies have adapted to these chronically poor positions of our modern lifestyle.
To address this, more and more doctors suggest their patients move and train their back muscles to ease lower back pain.
Here are 3 short exercises to do just that, and help ease your lower back pain. If you’re someone who suffers from severe back pain or a herniated disc, make sure to check with your doctor before taking part in these movements.
The Cat Cow is a basic motion, but tremendously beneficial, as it increases mobility along the spine and stretches back, abs, shoulder and the neck.
- Start on your hands and knees, making sure your knees are set directly below your hips and your wrists, and that your elbows and shoulders are in line and perpendicular to the floor.
- Center your head in a neutral position, eyes looking at the floor.
- As you exhale, round your spine toward the ceiling, making sure to keep your shoulders and knees in position.
- Release your head toward the floor, but don’t force your chin to your chest.
- Inhale and come back to the starting position.
This exercise is a very subtle movement that strengthens the muscles of the lower back and elongates the spine:
- Lie on your back and bent your knees. The soles should be on the floor.
- When exhaling, gently rock your hips towards your face.
- Please make sure that your butt doesn’t actually leave the floor – instead you should feel your lower back press into it.
- Repeat this movement 10-15 times.
Reclining Spinal Twist
The reclining spinal twist realigns and releases your spine:
- Lie comfortably on your back with your left knee bent and feet on the floor at hip-width.
- Extend your arms out from your sides like a T, in line with the top of your shoulders with palms down.
- Inhale here, lengthening your tailbone down toward the ground.
- As you exhale, drop your bent knee over to the right, and send your gaze over to the left.
- Keep your knees and feet close together, and press the backs of your shoulder blades down toward the mat.
- Remain in the twist for 5-10 breaths, then inhale to come back up to centre.
- On your next exhale, bend your right knee, drop it to the left, and send your gaze to the right.
- Repeat this exercise 3-5 times.
Just three, easy-to-do exercises that won’t take long, and will strengthen your back, perfect your posture, and rid you of pain!