Yesterday I shared 10 simple tricks you can try to head off another bout of back pain before it begins. (If you missed my message, and want to catch up, click here.) I hope you start using them right away.
But now you need a long-term solution… something that can help you heal your back problem for good.
Weakened muscles in the center of your body, including your abdominal muscles, are behind most back problems.
This area—often referred to as your core—helps support your back. Over the years, your core can become weak and less flexible. And this can lead to the muscle and ligament strain that triggers back pain.
But curing your back pain, and preventing it from coming back, is possible. And it’s easier than you may think.
The key is committing to doing some simple back exercises that will help strengthen your muscles and increase your flexibility.
These easy movements—which focus on your lower back, hamstrings and stomach muscles—will ease any current aches and pains.
But more importantly, they will help you erase your back pain permanently.
Ban back pain FOREVER with back exercises
Following are seven simple back exercises to heal your back pain, and keep it from coming back.
1. Knee Hug Stretch:
Lie on the floor on your back. Feel free to place a pillow under your head for comfort.
Clasp your hands behind your right knee, and gently pull it towards your chest. If you need assistance raising your leg, wrap a towel behind the knee and grasp the ends to complete the stretch.
Your knee can remain straight or slightly bent. You should feel a comfortable stretch in your lower back and buttocks. Hold that position for a 10 to 15 count. Then lower your leg gently back to the floor.
Switch and do the stretch with the opposite knee. Repeat three to five times on each side.
2. Cat Stretch:
Get on all floors with your back level. Use pillows or a yoga mat under your knees for comfort, if needed.
Slowly arch your back so you look like a Halloween cat (your head will drop, and your mid-back will rise). Hold for a count of two.
Repeat the movement five to 10 times.
3. Pelvic Tilt:
Lie on your back with your knees bent, and your feet flat on the floor.
Using your stomach muscles, suck in your belly while you tilt your hips upward, flattening your upper back against the floor. You will feel the stretch in your belly muscles, lower back and buttocks.
Hold for a count of 10. Repeat the move 10 times.
4. Lower Back Stretch:
Kneel down and sit on your heels. With your knees about hip width apart, place your hands on your thighs.
Move your hands onto the floor directly in front of you. Slide them forward as you shift your core down towards the floor.
You will end with your arms stretched forward in front of you, head down and the trunk of your body as close to the floor as is comfortable.
Relax into the stretch, and hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
5. Lying Knee Stretch:
Lie down on your back with your legs straight out to start. Tighten your stomach muscles and bend your right knee up and cross it over the left side over your body. Rest the toe of your right foot on the floor to the left of your body
You will feel a pull through your back and buttocks. Hold for a count of 20.
Tighten your abdominals again, as you rotate back into your starting position. Then repeat the same stretch using your left leg. Complete three times for each side.
6. Seated Hamstring Stretch:
Sit in a sturdy, straight-backed chair. Scoot your buttocks down towards the edge of the seat.
Stretch your left leg out in front of you with your heel resting on the floor. Sit up straight and tighten your abdominal muscles pushing forward without actually bending your body.
Hold the stretch for a count of 30. Repeat three times for both legs.
7. Double Knee Stretch:
Lie on your back. Gently pull both knees to your chest until you feel a comfortable stretch in your lower back. Feel free to use a towel behind your knees to assist with the stretch.
Hold for a count of 10 to 15 and then lower legs back to the floor. Repeat the movement three to five times.
Remember to breathe deeply and don’t hold your breath during a stretch. Never bounce or push past a point of comfort. And feel free to use individual stretches any time you need to loosen up a stiff back, or ward off a backache.
Repeat these back exercises at least five days a week to strengthen your muscles and increase your flexibility. And eventually your back pain will be nothing but a distant bad memory.
Yoga and tai chi are also excellent for strengthening and stretching back muscles. Check your local YMCA or rec center for affordable or free classes.