Exercises to ease your back pain, restore your health

If you are suffering from back pain, the last thing that you want is to get out of bed. For most back pain sufferers, moving through the pain is the best way to get relief. Although it may seem counterintuitive at first, research shows that exercise is far more effective in relieving lower back pain than passive methods like medication, bed rest, and support braces.

Part I of this series focused on why it is important to understand the causes of back pain in order to determine the best course of action.

We’ll now help you to move through exercises that can relieve pain and improve your back health.

Movement is medicine

Your body was designed for movement. To maintain good health, you must keep moving. Sitting for too long can cause muscle weakness, stiffen connective tissue, and reduce joint lubrication. Movement, on the other hand, heals and sustains. Your activity is rewarded by your physiology, which releases feel-good hormones as well as decreasing stress.

Poor breathing mechanics, poor posture, hip tension and age-related degeneration are the most common causes for back problems. Corrective exercises that mobilize and strengthen the spine muscles are key to alleviating and preventing back problems.

Listen to your body

The mind-body link is the bridge that allows you to develop a sense of your physical condition and respond to your body’s messages.

Overreacting to back pain can result in unnecessary tests, medication, and other procedures that can slow down recovery. Your mind-body connection allows you to distinguish between warning signals that you should avoid certain movements and more severe ones due to muscle tension or joint stiffness. This is the type of pain that we need to get rid of.

As you go through the exercises, mindfulness meditation and breathing techniques can help to strengthen your mind-body connection.

Practicing corrective exercises

These are examples of three types of exercises to address low back pain.

If you feel pain, or if the exercise is making it worse, stop immediately. Pay attention to the sensations that you feel.

These exercises are designed to treat the most common causes for back pain. However, because every back pain is different, there may not be a solution that works for you. Before you begin any exercise program, talk to your doctor about the cause.

These exercises can be used to relieve low back pain and sciatic nerve symptoms.

  1. Exercises to improve your posture and breathing

Proper diaphragmatic breathing is the cornerstone of any back pain prevention and treatment programs I use in professional sport. Your primary breathing muscle, diaphragm is also a core or postural muscle that attaches your lumbar spine to your rib cage. By learning proper breathing biomechanics you can align your spine, pelvis, and rib cage and strengthen your core. Deep breathing can also reduce your body’s physiological stress response, and aid in recovery.

Breathing bridge

Start on your back, with your knees bent, and your feet flat on the ground.

Use a yoga block to keep your knees straight and hold onto your lower ribs.

To prevent your knees from rolling out, hold a foam yoga block (or rolled towel) between your knees.

To monitor and guide your breaths, place your hands on your lower back.

Inhale deeply, drawing your lowerribs towards each other. You will feel your core tighten and your rib cage shrink. You can exhale and then tuck your tailbone, flattening your low back, and lifting your hips about 3 to 4 inches above the floor.

Use your core strength and glutes to avoid a low back arch.

Keep your bridge position and take five deep, long breaths. Pay attention to exhales and proper rib movement.

To avoid your low back arch, hold this position with the strength of your core.

When you breathe, avoid bending your rib cage upwards. You shouldn’t feel tension or stress in your jaw, neck, or shoulders.

You may feel some discomfort when you lift your hips up to the bridge. If this happens, you can keep your hips on the ground and practice your breathing.

Two sets of 10 breaths are recommended.