Exercises to Reduce Back Pain

oriental dancer backThe back bears the brunt of our mobility. The spine that helps us hold our head high and literally rise above other animals that walk the earth, pays a huge price for this anti-gravity action. It is essential that we take care of the back, especially the lower back that transmits the entire upper body weight to the lower limbs. Those who suffer from backache due to any reason realize the importance of this vital part of our skeletal and muscular system. Here are some tips that will help you deal with back pain to prevent you from becoming a slave to chronic backache.

  • Maintain correct posture- poor posture is one of the most common reasons for backache amongst people, especially those having sedentary jobs. A study confirmed that those with back pain compared to people with no back pain and those with a higher intensity of pain had higher tendencies to sway. This means that maintaining good posture is vital to prevent non-specific back pain that can often be disabling if chronic. Habits for good posture are sitting or standing erect, without stooping or hunching the shoulders.
  • Play sports- Engaging regularly in sports like swimming, running or walking in waist-deep water helps in maintaining back strength and stability. Studies have found that aquatic exercises are better than land-based exercises in regards to chronic lower back pain control.
  • Here are a few exercises that you can do right at your home or at your local gym to strengthen your back-
  • Knee rolls- Lie flat on your back on the ground or firm surface with your hands placed on your waist. Bend your legs at the knee, raise your thighs, and keep your feet firmly on the floor. Now, slowly using just your lower back, roll both knees together to the right side to touch the ground with your feet still together. Hold them on the ground for 10 seconds and then bring them back to neutral position. Repeat this for the other side as well. Repeat each side for 10 counts. This will strengthen your lower back.
  • Back extensions- Lie on your tummy with your hands shoulder-width apart, resting elbows and palms flat on the floor below your shoulders as if propped up and toes curled and placed on the floor. Slowly push yourself above the ground such that only the upper half of the body gets elevated. You should feel your abdomen and back stretching. Hold this for 5 seconds and return to the starting position. Repeat for 10 counts each day for a stronger back.

Penned by Dr. Rachita Narsaria, MD

   References:

  1. Ruhe A, Fejer R, walker B. On the relationship between pain intensity and postural sway in patients with non-specific neck pain. J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. 2013 Jan 1;26(4):401-9. doi: 10.3233/BMR-130399.
  2. Dundar U, Solak O, Yigit I, Evcik D et al. Clinical effectiveness of aquatic exercise to treat chronic low back pain: a randomized controlled trial. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2009 Jun 15;34(14):1436-40.