Back pain is a complicated topic with as many causes as there are care options. Many people experience low-grade back pain and stiffness, regardless of their size, condition or ambition. This type of low-grade back pain is often caused by the muscles in the back. These muscles are responsible for keeping you mobile, standing straight and effectively executing your life’s demands. They flex you, extend you, and laterally bend you to provide a multi-dimensional movement experience.
The common problem today is that we spent an inordinate time sitting. We now know “couch potato” inactivity raises the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and initiation of full respiratory decline. This may sound shocking and a bit exaggerated, but there’s honesty in the message.
Here are four simple exercises you can do to counteract simple low-back pain.
1. Low-back extensions (LBE): Place your hands on your hips so the web of your hands rest on your hips just above legs and your thumbs wrap around your back. Begin by keeping your knees extended, not locked, and bend back, using your thumbs to add pressure and provide support. Extend back as far as you can comfortably, and then return to upright position. This is a movement exercise, not a stretch. Complete 10 to 25 repetitions at a time, three to five times per day.
2. LBE with added head extension: This is the exact same movement exercise as described above, but while you’re in a back extension, extend your head back for a count of two and return to the upright position.
3. LBE with head extension and exhale: Same as above but add an exhale for a count of two.
4. Lateral Hip Thrust: Standing with your feet shoulders width apart, place your right hand on your right hip as you did for the LBE. Try to keep your shoulders over your feet as you shift your hip to the left with a little added pressure with your hand. Return to the neutral and upright position. Perform 10 to 25 repetitions per set and include two to three sets per day. Repeat the movement pattern on the other side, using your left hand and a right hip thrust.
All the above movement exercises will take less than five minutes of your time to perform but will help prevent hours of low-back pain. As always, remember Palmer Chiropractic Clinics are available to help with your back questions and back-care strategies. For more information, visit www.palmerclinics.com.
Dr. Oppelt graduated from Palmer College in 1994. He has been part of the Palmer Clinic Faculty for 19 years.
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