Stretch and Strengthen Your Aching Back

Chronic low back pain sneaks up on us slowly over time as unused muscles grow stiff and inflexible. Sitting all day contributes to weak abdominals, poor posture and tight hip-flexors. Tight hamstrings and hip flexors turn into tight hips and glutes that cause pain by pulling on the back. Medical experts say exercise is the best solution to prevent low back pain. Find exercises that will strengthen the entire core and stretch the back and legs. Here are a few to try once or twice a week to relieve your aching back.

Full Body Roll-Up

This is a great starter move that teaches you to articulate your spine while stretching the muscles in the back and legs that cause back tightness. Slow, controlled motion will strengthen your core. Perform 6 to 8 roll-ups slowly and remember to keep your feet on the ground.

1) Lie flat on your back with your arms extended over your head.

2) Inhale and point our arms to the sky. Exhale and slowly reach for your toes so that you roll up into a “C” curve.

3) Inhale and start to slowly go back in a C curve.

4) Exhale as you uncurl your body one vertebra at a time back into the mat.

Cat Stretch

Yoga’s traditional cat pose promotes spinal flexibility and stretches the entire spine. Repeat this 6 to 8 times.

1) Start on all fours. Hands should be directly under shoulders and knees directly under hips.

2) Begin with your spine in a “neutral” or long position. Gently round your back by slowly tucking your tailbone and lowering the crown of your head.

3) Draw your navel up to your spine and hold the stretch while breathing gently.

Bird Dog

This move strengthens the abs and they, in turn, strengthen the low back. It also lengthens the spinal column and improves posture. Perform 6 to 8 per side.

1) Kneel on the mat on your hands and knees. Reach one arm long, draw in the abdominals, and extend the opposite leg long behind you.

2) Repeat on the other side.

3) Move slow and steady. Hold the pose with arm and leg out momentarily before switching to the opposite arm and leg.

Glute Bridge

Glute bridges strengthen not only your low back but your glutes and hamstrings as well. Your chest and shoulders will also appreciate the nice stretch. Repeat 6 to 8 times.

1) Lie on back and spread your bent knees hip distance apart. Stack feet flat on mat under your knees.

2) Lift your hips to a bridge as you squeeze your glutes. Hold, squeezing tight, and return to mat with control.

Read More: Exercises to Beat Back Pain

 

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