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10 exercises to relieve your back pain

Back Pain Exercise

Most of us have had some kind of back pain in our life. Many of these are related to muscle pulls or muscle strain and will be healed completely after proper rest. However, at times they also need to be attended properly and can be because of the disc related issues.

As you perhaps know already, our spinal cord is an intricate bundle of nerves and tissue that extend from the brain’s base through the entire length of our back. It is protected by the bones (or vertebrae) that make up the spine. The spinal cord is responsible for communicating messages to and fro the brain to all parts of the body – your muscles, organs etc.

The spinal cord can be broadly divided into 4 sections –

  1. Cervical region
  2. Thoracic Region
  3. Lumbar Region
  4. Sacral Region

Each of these region, as you notice in the above picture has a series of discs of connecting bones of almost similar structure.

The lower back pain is often caused due to disc related issues in the lumbar region – L1 to L5.

Given below are a few exercises that can relieve you from the lower back pain. Here, we try to improve the strength of muscles around your lower back such that the strain on your spinal cord and disc is minimal. This will provide great relief and improve your posture and reduce your pain and improve your spinal health.

However, when you have lower back pain, it is very important that you first consult your orthopedist to understand the nature of the pain. DO NOT attempt these exercises unless you have already consulted your doctor or physiotherapist

1. Child Pose (Balasana)

  1. Kneel down on your hands & knees.
  2. Keep your toes on the floor and knees about hip width apart.
  3. As you exhale, slowly lower your buttocks towards your heels feeling the tailbone lengthen away from the back of your pelvis.
  4. As your torso folds over your thighs, lengthen the back of your neck before your forehead rests on the floor.
  5. Reach arms forward, about shoulder width apart, with your head resting on floor. Your neck should be relaxed, and your buttocks resting on your heels
  6. Keep your gaze drawn inward with your eyes closed. Hold for up to a minute or longer, breathing softly.

2. Cat Camel Stretch (Marjarasana)

  1. Starting Position – Kneel on your hands & knees. Place your hands, shoulder-width apart and your knees, hip width apart on the floor.
  2. Bring your back into a horizontal in a “neutral”  and flat starting position.
  3. Downward (Cat) Phase: Gently inhale and Using the abdominal and low back muscles, tip your tail toward the ceiling while increasing the arch in your mid and low back. Allow the abdomen to stretch toward the floor. Pull your shoulder blades down your back (like a cat stretching). Hold this position for 3-5 seconds before returning to your starting position.
  4. Upward (Camel) Phase: Gently exhale and tuck your tailbone under and use your abdominal muscles to push your spine upwards towards the ceiling, making the shape of a camel’s hump. Hold this position for 3-5 seconds . Lengthen your neck and allow your head to reach toward your chest, maintaining alignment with the spine.
  5. Continue to cycle between the Cat and Came phase several times.Feel the movement of each vertebra and welcome the growing mobility of the spine with each cycle.
  6. Listen to your neck and spine and never feel yourself overextending and creating pressure in your spine.
  7. After about 3-5 cycles of each phase sit into Child’s Pose for 15 seconds before returning to your Cat Camel articulations.

3. Glute Bridge

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Tighten your glutes and lift your hips off the floor.
  3. At the highest position, there should be a straight line from your knees all the way to your shoulders. Hold the contraction for five seconds before returning to the starting position.

4. Back Extention

Level – 1 ( Easier Version)

Level 2 (Moderately Tougher Version)

  1. Lie down on your stomach. Keep your arms close to your body. You can bend your elbows as well.
  2. Keep your legs apart as shown above
  3. Make your abs tight and lift your stomach off the mat. Support with your elbows on the floor (level 1) and raise your chin up.
  4. If this feels comfortable, then move to level 2, ie support with both palms on the floor and raise you chin up and extend and stretch your back. Your spine will lengthen and energy shall spread from your head. It’s important to keep your back lowered.
  5. Hold this position for 3 – 5 seconds. This movement should be repeated around 5 – 7 times. It’s important to relax throughout.

5. Swimming Pose

  1. Lie down on your stomach, keep your legs together without bending.
  2. Do not bring your shoulders near your ears. Keep the blades in your back. Your arms should be over your head now. Stretch for a few seconds.
  3. Make sure your abs are tight. Bring your navel above the ground.
  4. Breathe in and stretch out your left arm, and right legs and spine as far as possible as shown above. Make sure your face is down. Hold for 3 – 5 seconds
  5. Now, alternate your hands and legs. Hold for 3 – 5 seconds
  6. Breathe in and hold for 5 seconds

6. Knee to side stretch

  1. Lie flat on your back, bend the knees, and lift the feet off the floor. The calves should be parallel to the ground. Flex your feet and extend the arms out to the sides like a “T.”
  2. Press the palms into the ground. Take a deep breath, feeling your back body expand into the earth. On the exhalation, guide the knees/legs to the left side coming into a twist. Stay in this position for around 3 seconds.
  3. If you are not flexible enough and unable to bring your leg till the floor, then you can stop at 45 degrees (i.e half way through) and do the same in both direction
  4. Do this for both right and left side.

7. Supine spinal twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)

  1. Lie down on your back in the supine position with one knee bent and cross it outside of the opposite foot.
  2. Use the hand to put slight pressure on the bent knee to push down towards the floor.
  3. Keep both shoulders squared and rooted to the floor.
  4. Extend the opposite hand and gaze towards the hand.
  5. Hold this position for 7 – 10 seconds.
  6. Get back to neutral position and continue with the other knee – hand combination.

8. Knee to the chest

  1. Lie down on your back comfortably
  2. Hold around the knees with your palms bringing knees as close as you can, to your chest.
  3. DO NOT roll up and lift your head/neck upwards or towards the knee. Your head should rest on the floor always. Similarly, DO NOT raise your lower hips from the ground and roll your lower body up. Your hip should rest on the floor.
  4. If you are unable to bring the knees closer to chest do not exert yourself too much. It will gradually improve.
  5. Hold this position for 10 – 15 seconds

9. Single knee to the chest

  1. Lie down on your back comfortably
  2. Hold left knee with your palms bringing knees as close as you can, to your chest.
  3. DO NOT roll up and lift your head/neck upwards or towards the knee. Your head should rest on the floor always. Similarly, DO NOT raise your lower hips from the ground and roll your lower body up. Your hip should rest on the floor.
  4. Hold this position for 10 – 15 seconds
  5. Bring your knee and legs to original position and then repeat with right knee and hold for 10 – 15 seconds
  6. If you are unable to bring the knees closer to chest in the beginning, do not worry or exert too much. It will improve gradually.

10. Raised Leg Stretch

  1. Lie down on your back with palms facing downwards on the floor, head & neck straight and on the floor
  2. Gently raise the right leg, without bending up till 90 degree / perpendicular to the ground
  3. Make sure the left leg does not raise up and is touching the floor
  4. Hold this position for 5 – 7 seconds.
  5. Gently release right leg and alternate with the left leg

Published : - 02/03/2020

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