5 Simple Stretches to Ease an Aching Back

Your aching back! The majority of adults will experience some degree of back pain during their lives. Here’s help

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Stretch to Reduce Back Pain

The best ways to deal with an aching back include minimizing bedrest, exercising, maintaining good posture and strengthening your core.

When you take time to strengthen the muscles that support the spine and stretch the muscles that are pulling on the spine, you can help ease lower back pain and even prevent it altogether.

With this plan, it’s key to keep a timer near you so that you know when to move on to the next stretch. You also want to be conscious of “bracing the core” – keeping deep torso muscles in a position that will enhance spine alignment and posture. The easiest way to brace is to draw the belly button in toward the spine. Be sure to maintain regular breathing – no holding it in when you’re exerting yourself.

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Alternating Leg and Arm Raise: 2 Minutes

A. Lie on your stomach on a mat (or floor) with your arms reaching above your head and your neck in a neutral position.

B. As you tighten your core by bracing, lift one arm and the opposite leg up toward the ceiling comfortably, without moving your hips.

C. After counting to five, alternate sides and repeat.

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Alternating Kick: 2 Minutes

A. Lie on your back with your feet in the air (calves parallel to the floor) and your arms at your sides.

B. Begin to lower one leg to the floor. Be sure that your lower back doesn’t shift off the floor and your hips don’t move.

C. Keeping your core engaged, bring the leg back up to meet the other before alternating sides. This should be a very slow movement – try counting to five as you alternate sides.

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Spine Twist: 2 Minutes

A. Lie on your back with your knees bent, your feet flat on the floor and your arms out to either side in a “T” position.

B. Lift your knees together and toward your chest before slowly bringing both knees to the left side as you turn your head and gaze to the right. Feel the stretch in your lower back while keeping your core braced to protect your back.

C. Count five deep breaths in this position with your knees resting on the floor to your left before lifting your knees back to centre as your gaze returns to face the ceiling. Repeat on the opposite side.

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Bridge: 2 Minutes

A. Lie on your back with your feet on the floor and your hands by your sides. Lift your hips and torso up off the floor toward the ceiling (so that your body is in a straight line) while you bring your arms underneath you and interlace your hands.

B. Press your shoulders, upper arms and feet into the floor as your hips reach higher up.

C. Take 10 deep breaths. Slowly return to the floor and rest for five breaths before continuing again. Repeat this sequence.

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Legs on the Wall: 2 Minutes

*This exercise requires a wall or a solid piece of furniture.

A. Lie on your back and bring your buttocks as close to the wall as you can with your feet up the wall.

B. With your arms out to your sides, push with your hands to help you scoot your butt all the way to the wall so that you body is a perfect 90-degree angle.

C. Keep your core braced and bring your lower spine to touch the floor as much as you can. Remain in this position as your body relaxes and blood flows away from your lower limbs.

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Cool Down

This routine may have been demanding on your lower back. Before resuming with your day, enjoy a cool-down pose to alleviate any tension. Stand with your legs hip width apart and fold in half, reaching your stomach toward your thighs. Keeping a slight bend in your knees, grab opposite elbows and take 15 deep breaths in this position as you release your lower back muscles more and more with each breath.

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