Do you suffer from chronic back pain? You’re not alone! Experts estimate that up to 80% of the population will experience back pain at some time in their lives (Rubin, 2007).

Although back pain is highly prevalent among all populations, the good news is that most cases are mechanical or non-organic. This means that they are not caused by serious conditions (i.e. inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture, cancer), so pain relief is possible. If you suffer from chronic back pain, consider adding specific stretches and mobility exercises into your daily routine.

Is your back aggravated after shoveling the snow yesterday? Try these five exercises to alleviate your pain! 

  1. Cat-Camel into Child’s Pose
    1. While inhaling, tuck your head and tailbone in, arching through your spine, to make a “camel hump” shape
    2.  While exhaling, sink your back down towards the floor and lift your head up at the same time, sticking your tailbone out to make a curve with your spine. 
    3. On an exhale, sit back and try to bring your butt as close to your heels as you can. Bring your torso between the legs, and reach your arms overhead with your palms on the floor. 
    4. Repeat this 8-12 times. 
  2. Bird Dog
    1. Start in a table-top position with your weight evenly distributed and hips squared below your pelvis.
    2. Extend one arm out straight in front of you while extending the opposite leg behind you. You should form one straight line from your hand to your foot, keeping hips squared to the ground. 
    3. Hold for a few seconds, then return to the table-top hands and knees position.
    4. Switch to the other side.
    5. Keep the abs engaged throughout the entire exercise, and work to minimize any extra motion in your hips during the weight shift.
    6. Repeat this 8 times on each side.
  3. Lower Trunk Rotation
    1. Make sure the abdominal muscles are engaged to stabilize the lumbar spine and control the movement.
    2. While keeping the core engaged, slowly rotate your knees to one side. 
    3. Hold the rotated position for 1-2 seconds then slowly rotate to the opposite side.
    4. Repeat this 8 times on each side.
  4. Knees to Chest
    1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. 
    2. Bring your legs up and gently bend your knees toward your trunk, using your hands.
    3. Interlace your fingers around your knees or grasp your forearms to hold this position.
    4. Try to relax your legs, pelvis, and low back as much as you can. 
    5. Hold for a few seconds before returning your legs to the floor.
    6. Repeat as needed.
  5. Pelvic Tilts 
    1. Lie on your back with bent knees and with your feet on the floor.
    2. In this neutral position, the natural curve of your lumbar spine will lift the lower back slightly off the floor.
    3. Exhale and gently tilt your hips toward your head, pressing your low back into the floor. There should be no gap between your back and the floor in this position. 
    4. Stay here for a few breaths, and then inhale and return to your neutral position.
    5. Repeat 8-12 times. 

 

Rubin, Devon I. “Epidemiology and Risk Factors for Spine Pain.” Neurologic Clinics, vol. 25, no. 2, 2007, pp. 353–371., doi:10.1016/j.ncl.2007.01.004.