Back pain is a common condition that affects people of all ages. Its causes vary, and can be due to lifting incorrectly, however we also find that lacking strength in the core also contributes to this issue. The good news is that there are ways to prevent back pain and strengthen your back muscles to help alleviate the body ache. If you suffer from chronic back pain, these are 5 exercises that we do at the gym with our clients to help them reduce back pain and get moving again.
Planks are a great exercise for your core. Planks work the muscles in your back and around the pelvis, which can help strengthen your spine. This helps support the spine and reduce stress on it, which is great news if you’re suffering from sciatica or other back pain symptoms.
Planks can also help improve flexibility, which is important when you’re recovering from an injury or trying to avoid one altogether. In fact, doing planks regularly is one of the best things you can do for your overall health as well!
2. Dead Bugs
- Dead bugs are a fantastic exercise for beginners and even women post-pregnancy. Here’s how you execute the “dead bug” exercise.
- Lie on your back with your legs bent at a 90-degree angle and feet flat on the floor.
- Keep your head, back and core flat on the floor.
- Raise your arms straight up towards the sky. This will be your start position.
- Once your knees are at 90 degrees, and your arms are straight up, you are going to lower the right arm straight up above your head, and extend your left leg, then bring back to centre.
- That is one rep, you will repeat this sequence on the other side.
- The key is to lower and extend your limbs, all while keeping your lower back planted on the floor and your core engaged.
This exercise will strengthen your back and works on the reverse side of your torso. Many people experience pain when bending forward. However it is also important to maintain the ability to also extend the spine backwards.
- Start by laying down flat with your chest and body on the floor in a push up position.
- Place your hands underneath your shoulders and slowly press into the ground, straightening your arms, and raising your chest.
- Extend up slowly until you reach a point where you feel a stretch and can hold this position for 10-20 seconds.
- Once complete lower your chest down to the floor again and repeat the sequence 5 times.
4. Deadlifts with Dumbbells or a Barbell
Strength training is one of the best ways to build up your back and increase its strength and endurance. But isn’t it dangerous to lift weights? No, not if you do it right!
People think that lifting weights when you’re already in pain can make things worse. However, we find that proper strength training decreases pain because it’s strengthening the muscles around the joints.
Lifting heavy weights can be dangerous if you don’t know how to lift them properly or don’t take care of your body beforehand by warming up and stretching. However, when done correctly by training with a qualified coach, it’s safe to perform heavier lifts with proper technique.
We suggest learning the movement first with a light kettlebell, or dumbbell to perfect technique, and then you can move up to more complex lifts such as working with a barbell and adding additional load.
The thing about back injuries is that quite often they’re due to bad posture or repetitive motions at work (for example: sitting at a desk all day), so exercises like deadlifts may help relieve some pain while also strengthening your core muscles which will ultimately improve posture also.
5. Child’s Pose
- What is the pose?
This pose helps relieve lower back pain by stretching your spine and hips. Start on all fours, with your arms straight out in front of you and your knees touching each other. Then, walk your fingertips forward until they are straight out in front of you, then sit back into a wide squat position.
You’ll feel relief from tension throughout the entire length of your spine when practicing child’s pose regularly. It is a gently way to decompress the spine, and also work on flexibility over the knee joint.
6. Seal Pose
Seal Pose is the compliment exercise to child’s pose. Seal pose gently activates the spine in the form of extension. Your spine needs to move comfortably through leaning forward and backward in order to maintain properly health.
- Lie face down on the floor, with your arms relaxed alongside your body. Relax and breathe deeply as you rest in this position for one minute.
- Then, place your hands underneath your shoulders on the floor with a flat palm.
- From there you are going to push up from the ground, lifting the chest and feeling a stretch through the abdominals and lower back.
- Be gentle and only go to a range that provides a stretch but no pain.
- Hold the extension at the top for 20 seconds, lower and repeat 5 times.
Most people will experience back pain at some point in their lifetime, even if they are otherwise very healthy. But the good news is that back pain can more often than not be treated relatively easily with the right stretches and exercises.
Need help getting back on track safely? Come meet us and we’ll help you get moving again.