Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Prevent and Relieve Back Pain

It is getting colder out, and I seem to be hearing many more stories of people injuring their backs this time of year. Following are some easy stretches for the back (especially that lower back) that can help prevent that soreness you feel after putting up those holiday lights.  The lower back resting pose is also great for if you already feel you may have slightly injured your back.  (If you have injured yourself, it might be a good idea to go visit your doctor or chiropractor first to rule out any serious injuries.)

 As with any exercise, if it hurts to do any of these, please do not do them!  Consult with your doctor if you have any concerns.

Lower Back Resting Pose (my favorite!)
This exercise is done near an ottoman or chair.
1. Lie on your back with the chair at your feet and raise your legs in the air.
2. Bend your knees and place your lower leg on the top of the ottoman or chair. Your lower legs should be at a 90 degree angle with the floor and your bottom should be near the base of whatever you are using as a leg rest.
3. Relaxing your lower back, rest in this pose for 10-15 minutes. You should feel a decrease in the strain on your lower back muscles. If not, try adjusting your position.
4. While in this position, concentrate on your breathing.  Take a few deep breaths and as you inhale, your belly should rise, then your chest and then your shoulders.  As you exhale, bring your shoulders back down, your chest falls, then your belly falls as well.

Lumbar Vertebrae Stretch
1. Lie on your back with knees bent.
2. Pull in and tighten your stomach muscles while flattening your lower back to the floor.
3. Hold for a few seconds. Repeat several times.

Neck and Lower Back Wall Stretch
1. Stand with your back straight against a wall.
2. Gently move your lower back and neck toward the wall. Without over stretching, hold for a few seconds.
3. Repeat several times.