Great Stretching Exercises To Help With Back Pain
Back pain is a serious issue that affects many people in many ways. The impact ranges from severe spinal injuries to mild sprains and poor posture. There are many different back problems, all affecting people in different ways. Some complaints provoke regular spasms and twinges, which can disrupt activity.
This, in turn, affects mood and productivity. Other pulled muscles and sprains can leave patients unable to move for a while. Everybody should take good care of their back. This means aiding back pain and preventing it wherever possible.
One of the best ways to do so is to engage in regular activity that will keep the back in better condition. There are many different stretching exercises for back pain that sufferers can try. The best thing about this approach is that it is adaptable. Therefore, there is no excuse not to give it a try.
This guide will look at three different types of stretching exercises for back pain, for three different demographics:
- Easy stretching exercises for office workers
- Simple seated exercises for seniors
- Floor or mat based exercises for ongoing problems
1. Easy stretching exercises for office workers.
Back pain and other strains are commonplace in the office. We spend so long sat at the desk, typing away, that the back can seize up. In addition to this, there is the added problem that comes with poor posture. Long-term issues lead to stress and strains that are a real nuisance. The best approach is to stretch the back out as much as possible to be sure of keeping it strong and limber. This means regular periods of motion, so problem areas don’t seize up again.
The following can help:
Get out of the chair, then sit back down
This sounds a little simplistic, but there are two important factors here. First of all, any effort to get up out the chair, then sit back down, works essential muscles. It is a starting point for motion and exercise that acts as an excellent warm up. This works even better when users do so without using their arms. This action requires more excellent balance and stability, with the core and spine engaged.
Twist the neck and chest in a safe, gentle manner
Here workers place their hands behind their head, supporting neck and gently twist the torso from side to side. This is great for engaging the upper and mid-spine. In addition to this, these movements help to stretch out the scapulae and trapezius neck muscles, pectorals and obliques.
It doesn’t seem like such a simple motion would do so much. Regular stretches like this can help. It is essential to keep things smooth and gentle. No jerks over overexertion.
This is another simple motion that many people do without thinking about it. Workers can place their hands on the spine and bend it back into a curve. This helps to work the spinal extensors, anterior neck muscles and open out the chest with pectorals. It works best to do this in repeated movements while holding the pose for around 20 seconds. Again, the more frequent the actions, the better the health of the spine and muscles.
The reach back
Then there is the reach back–one that feels good when the back has seized up in a computer chair. Here users reach back behind the back and lock their hands together. They then move the shoulders up, as though shrugging, and then extend the arms back.
Once again, this works well as a repeated motion as part of the frequent exercise. It is an excellent option for working away from the desk as it requires little space and is pretty discrete.
Workers dealing with back pain should watch their activity levels and reconsider their chair too.
Prevention is better than the cure for back pain. These stretching exercises are a great starting point for anyone looking to improve their aches and pains. However, office workers can go even further. Regular exercise in the workplace helps to keep workers fit and healthy. This doesn’t mean that everyone should rush out and get an office treadmill or under-desk exercise bike.
Instead, hourly breaks to get up and move can work just as well. Workers can use this time to enjoy the stretches mentioned above. They can also take the stairs to visit colleagues or walk around the block on a break. When they return, it is best to return to a comfortable, ergonomic chair that supports the back. This can ease pain and reduce complaints significantly.
Simple Seated Exercises For Seniors
The exercises seen above are all great for those that want to get up and move. However, seniors and those with mobility issues may struggle with some motions. This is where it helps to learn some stretching exercises for back pain from a seated position.
Many simple stretches are adaptable so that users can perform them from a comfortable chair. This help with balance so that they can concentrate fully on the stretch and feel the benefits. This solution also means that seniors may be more likely to perform these moves and improve their conditions.
How to perform seated stretching exercises for back pain?
The great news for seniors and those with mobility issues is that many basic stretches are possible from a chair. The twists, back bend and reach behind above don’t require the legs to work. They can feel more productive from a standing position as it offers more room to twist and bend. The same muscles are still moving in the same direction. As long as the hands support the back, neck or torso in the right position, it can still work.
This approach is all about comfort and security for those that may otherwise fear exercise and activity.
There is often a sense that exercise and fitness are for the young and able. Those that struggle with spinal conditions, poor bone health, and other issues can fear exercise. This is especially true for seniors that haven’t exercised in the long term. Others may fear the idea of stretching alone. These seated exercises for back pain reduce risks of injury and falls. A secure comfort seat acts as a safety net. Many can work on these stretches while watching TV.
3. Floor and mat exercises for those that want to take things further
There will be times when these seated positions don’t quite do enough to help. The range of motion may not be entirely what users were hoping for. They may also fell restricted by the back of the chair.
Those that can – both physically and logistically – can try for some floor exercise to work the spine and hips for excellent results. Many people will do so in the comfort of their homes after work. However, some work environments may offer a private space where people can work out this way in peace.
Here are some great mat-based exercises that can help with back pain:
Lower Trunk Rotation Stretch
Anyone that doesn’t know what the lower trunk means doesn’t need to worry here. The motion is pretty simple and very active. It starts off pretty relaxed – on the back, legs bent and with feet and knees together. Then they lower the knees to the left, as far as is comfortable, to feel a stretch on the opposite side.
This helps with the lower back and hips. The hips play a more significant role in back pain than many realize. After all, everything connects up. Then they hold the position for a count of twenty, and the knees move to the opposite side.
Single Knee to Chest Stretch
This motion, on the other hand, does as the name suggests. Here people lie on the mat, back straight, and raise the knee up towards the chest. Just like the previous motion, users should only reach as far as is comfortable. Some choose to hold the knee and pull it – if it is easier.
This works the hips, buttocks and lowers back. Here we go back to that idea of everything connecting up. Poor posture and issues with the hips can affect the back. An injured knee or leg can affect the gait, which then affects the back. This is another motion that works well with repetition.
This sounds like a very strange name to those with no previous experience. Those concerns should rest assured that there are no animals involved. Instead, this is a move based on yoga. The hands and knees plant on the mat, so users carefully start out on all fours.
Practitioners then arch the back in each direction to stretch it out. First, they pull the shoulders and buttocks up, arching the spine and looking up. This resembles a stretching cat. Then they tuck the head and hips in to reverse the direction of the spine. This is the cow. The reason for this name is a little less apparent.
Of course, this use of the mat leads to the potential of yoga, and other disciplines, for ongoing back pain.
Those that have space, and the means, can enjoy the freedom to move and stretch with a range of floor-based back exercises. Anyone that is serious about regular movement could work a little yoga into their daily routine. There is a preconception among some people that yoga is for the fit and flexible.
This isn’t the case at all. Fitness and flexibility are merely some of the products of regular sessions. Here users can take some of the motions seen above and transition them into poses.
Great yoga poses to stretch the spine and correct the back include:
- child’s pose
- downward dog
- the bridge
Where possible, it helps to transition between the poses with steady breathing and a nice flow. Users can hold them, work on breathing and work through as many repetitions as is comfortable. With time, this can correct some back issues and improve range of movement.
The importance of working out safely
The three options highlighted here show three different styles, for different abilities and situations. Whatever the case, all those practicing these moves and stretching exercise must do so safely. This means an understanding of the space around them and their limitations. Workers that try and stretch too far risk pulling a muscle and damaging productivity.
Seniors that lose focus on their balance, or use poor seating, could fall and injure themselves. Those that turn to yoga may reach far with difficult poses or forget to use a mat. Everyone engaging in back exercises must put safety first with their equipment and motions.
Medical opinions and physiotherapy where problems persist or worsen.
Of course, all of this applies to all those that want a little light exercise. Those that deal with stiffer spines, cramped muscles, occasional spasms or poor flexibility. Those that struggle with more painful, long-term conditions should seek advice from a medical professional.
There is a chance that they will recommend many of the same motions to keep the back moving. However, there could be more in-depth underlying problems with the spine, muscles or ligaments. In this case, patients may require professional instruction and physiotherapy or physical therapy.
Stretching exercises for back pain can be simple and effective, so no reason not to get moving.
Ideally, everyone should take part in some essential back exercise and stretches each day. These gentle motions help to keep the muscles and spine working in a pain-free way. They also help with flexibility for more fluid movements. A few light stretches across the day works wonders for the prevention of back pain. This is true no many the age or ability of the practitioner.
Those that want to start slow, or worry about their mobility, can begin with those seated stretches. With time, many can then progress to something a little more robust. Wherever users end up, the process needs to be simple, manageable, convenient and – most importantly – pain-free. Those that start now and keep at it will see some significant improvements.