Back pain is the number one injury or symptom clients present with at New Image. And it’s becoming increasingly common as we become less active.
Let’s think about the amount of sitting the average person does. You might spend eight to 12 hours sitting a desk, you drive to and from work sitting down, then sit down for dinner, sit down to watch TV, and then finally you lay down to sleep.
Then, when something or someone demands your body to move repetitively or suddenly, every muscle in the body acts like a mummy trying to walk out of a tomb..shocked!
So what can we do to avoid the chronic back pain so many of us suffer? The long answer is: exercise seven days a week, no less than 30 minutes a time, keep your heart rate over 60% max, complete three resistance training sessions….
OR you can try this cheat sheet. Here are seven exercises to complete daily to stop back pain from slowing you down.
1. Squat – Wall squats, chair squats or free standing squat
Our bodies are designed to squat (watch a two year old), but our ability to perform this important movement decreases with a lack of practice and flexibiltiy. The more you squat (as long as you’re injury free), the more likely it is that your body will be ok moving through similar compound movements in the future, like when you help your best friend move house.
- Bend your knees first.
- Evenly distribute your weight on both feet, keeping every part of you foot on the ground and sit into your glutes (butt).
- Stabilise your knees throughout the movement and keep your eyes up.
2. Four point hip extension
This stretch requires spine stabilising muscles to co-contract while arms and legs are being moved away from and towards the body.
- Kneel with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips.
- Breathing out, slowly extend one leg and the opposite arm away from the body in a controlled manner.
- Breathe in to return to the starting position and repeat with the other arm and leg.
3. Prone extension
We spend so much of our lives in a flexed position, even when we are active. It’s a good idea to encourage the spine flexor muscles (abs) to stretch and our spine extensors (lumbar muscles) to contract.
- Lay in the prone position (on your tummy) and relax.
- Place your hands under your chest (palms down) and push your torso up, keeping your pelvis connected to the ground/bed.
- Only continue extending the spine to a comfortable position, return to start and repeat.
4. Supine bridge
Supine bridging requires a number of muscles including the hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, spine extensors and spine flexors to activate together.
- Lay in the supine position (on your back) with your knees at 90 degrees and feet flat on the ground.
- Breathing out, raise your hips towards the ceiling and peel your spine off the ground.
- Breathe in to return to the starting position.
5. Hamstring stretch
Tight or weak hamstrings can cause the pelvis to tilt into a position that leads to back pain over time. Increasing hamstring flexibility will allow the pelvic girdle to stablise or move freely when required.
- Lay on your back.
- Raise one leg to a vertical position, put your hands behind the knee and draw the knee to the same shoulder.
- Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. Do not stretch through any pain.
6. Hip flexor stretch
The hip flexors and the hamstrings both influence the position of the pelvic girdle and the condition of the lower back muscles. Increasing flexibility of the hip flexors and quadriceps supports functioning of the sacroiliac and hip joints, allowing more range of movement and an increase in day to day performance and comfort.
- Kneel on one knee with the opposite foot in front of the body.
- Tilt the pelvis backwards (tuck the pelvis) until a stretch is felt in the front of the hip.
- Do not lunge and lean forward. Keep the spine upright.
7. Glute stretch
Tight or weak gluteal muscles lead to deviations in the pelvis and can travel down the kinetic chain, leading to knee pain if untreated. Strengthening and stretching your backside will increase the range of motion in the hip joint.
- Place one ankle on top of the other knee with your bottom knee bent so the foot is flat on the ground.
- Slowly slide your backside towards your bottom heel, keep your spine upright.
- The closer your butt is to your bottom heel, the more intense the stretch.