Relieve your back pain with 10 simple exercises

October 9, 2015

It's well documented that movement can ease pain and help the body and mind feel better. We'll go over some straightforward and useful exercises to try out if you're suffering from back pain.

Relieve your back pain with 10 simple exercises

1. Pelvic tilt

Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and knees shoulder-width apart. Push the small of your back into the floor by pulling your lower abdominal muscles up and in. Inhale and exhale normally. Hold for five seconds, then slowly relax. Do three sets of 10.

2. Single knee to chest

Lie face up. Bring one knee toward your chest so that you feel a stretch but no pain. Repeat 10 times, then switch sides.

3. Static crunches

Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Tighten your stomach muscles and press your lower back into the floor. Raise your left knee, so that your leg forms a 90-degree angle. Place your left hand on the top of your left thigh and, exhaling, press forward, while resisting the force so that your knee doesn't move. Hold for five seconds then relax for five seconds. Perform 10 repetitions and then repeat on the other side. Do three sets.

4. Trunk rotation

Lie on the floor on your left side with your knees bent, right knee brought toward your chest. Place your hands by your head. Rotate your shoulders and head as though you're trying to look over your right shoulder, letting your right arm follow. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times. Turn onto your right side and repeat.

5. Clamshell

Lie on your left side with your knees bent. Tightening your abdominal muscles, lift your right knee while keeping your ankles together. Keep your hips aligned. Slowly lower leg to starting position. Do three sets of 10 repetitions, then switch sides.

6. Alternate arm and leg extensions

Lie on the floor facedown, arms extended in front of you. If desired, rest your forehead on a small pillow or rolled towel. Lift your right arm and left leg about five centimetres (two inches) off the floor. Hold for three seconds, then relax and do the same with the left arm and right leg. Do one set (both sides) 10 times.

7. Piriformis stretch

Lie on your back, knees bent and lower legs parallel to the ground. Cross your right leg over the left, just above the left knee. Grip your left knee with both hands and slowly pull toward your chest. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, then repeat on the right leg. Do one set of two repetitions per leg.

8. Pelvic bridge

Lie on your back with your knees bent. Tighten your abdominal muscles to flatten your lower back against the floor. Lift your buttocks off the floor so that your body forms a straight line. Squeeze your buttocks. Return to start. Do three sets of 10 repetitions.

9. Double knees to chest

Lie face up, knees bent. Gently pull your knees toward your chest so that you feel a stretch but no pain. If you wish, place your hands behind your knees and use them to pull your legs forward. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times.

10. Wall squat

Stand with your back against a wall, heels about two steps from the wall, shoulder-width apart. Pulling in your abdominal muscles, slide slowly down the wall until your knees are bent at about 90 degrees, as though you're seated. If that's too difficult, bend your knees to a 45 degree angle and gradually build up from there. Count to five and slide slowly back up the wall. Repeat 10 times.

These exercises aren't just a good way to stretch out your body and get a bit more activity into your day: they can also help alleviate back pain. Try them out for a few weeks to see if your pain improves.

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