Body

Back Pain Again?

Try these six exercises to find relief.

When your back hurts, simple, everyday movements become difficult. That’s because you use your back muscles for all kinds of activities, from bending and standing to sitting, lifting, and reaching. It’s a common misconception to think that rest and inactivity are the best treatments for back pain, when gentle exercises and stretches will actually do the trick much better and faster.

Rather than waiting for your back pain to go away on its own, get down on the floor and give these exercises a try.

Hamstring Stretches

Sometimes, back pain can be worsened when the muscles surrounding your back are tight. Your hamstrings run down the back of your thighs, so you may find back pain relief by stretching these muscles. To do so, lie on your back and bend your left knee. Place a fitness band or towel under the ball of your right foot. Holding each end of the band or towel, slowly pull to lift your right leg. You’ll feel a stretch along the back of your leg. Hold for 30 seconds and switch legs. Only lift one leg at a time. Double leg lifts can exacerbate back pain.

Bird Dog

Strengthen your core and back muscles to relieve back pain with the bird dog. For this one, start with your hands and knees on the floor. Lift your left leg and extend it behind you. At the same time, lift your right arm and straighten it in front of you. Hold this position for five seconds and return to starting position. Now lift and extend your right leg and your left arm. Throughout the movements, keep your back straight and your torso as stable as possible.

Bridges

Bridges work your back muscles while engaging the supporting muscles of your back, including your glutes, hamstrings, hips, and abs. Lie on your back on the floor. Bend your knees and only let your heels touch the floor. Press your heels into the floor, tighten your glutes, and lift your hips toward the sky until your knees are in a straight line with your hips and shoulders. Hold for several seconds and lower back to the floor. Repeat. While raising your hips, avoid arching your back.

Knee to Chest

Relieve tension in your lower back, glutes, hips, and thighs with the knee-to-chest stretch. To start, lie on the floor on your back, bend your knees, and set your feet flat on the floor. With your right knee bent, raise your left knee up toward your chest. Place your hands behind your left thigh or on your left shin to gently pull your knee toward your chest. Hold your knee for 30 seconds, then release and switch legs.

Seated Spinal Twist

Stretch the tight muscles in your back, hips, glutes, shoulders, neck, and abs with a seated spinal twist. Sit on the floor and extend your legs in front of you. Bend your left knee and set your left foot on the floor next to your outer right thigh. Place your left hand on the floor behind you to keep your balance and press your right elbow against the outside of your left knee. Now, twist your upper body toward the left. Hold this position for 30 seconds and release. Switch sides.

Pelvic Tilt

To strengthen the pelvic muscles connected to your core and spine, try pelvic tilts. Get on your back, bend your knees, and place your feet flat on the ground. From this position, engage your abdominal muscles, pull your stomach in, and press your lower back toward the floor. Hold for 10 seconds, relax, and repeat.

Now, Get Back to Work!

Did you know that back pain is one of the leading reasons people miss work? Use these exercises to put back pain in its place and to get you back on the clock.