What could be worse than back pain that does not allow a person to stand, sit, walk or even sleep in peace? Surgeries and medicines are temporary solutions, but a proper exercise regime is the only thing that can keep it away in the long run.
Back Pain: Who Is At Risk?
The following factors pose a higher risk for back pain:
Age > 35 years
Anxiety, stress, and depression
Overstrain caused by exercise or physical activity
Medical conditions like fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis
Symptoms Of Back Pain
If your back pain is accompanied by any of these symptoms, consult your doctor at once:
• Weight loss
• Elevated temperature
• Visible inflammation in the back
• Incontinence (urinary and/or fecal)
• Backache reaching the legs
• Numbness around the genitals, anus, and hips
Types Of Back Pain
Before you pick any of these exercises for back pain, it is important to identify the type of pain you are experiencing. Back pain may be:
Acute – Lasts for three to six months. Its onset is sudden. Its main cause is tissue damage.
Chronic Pain – Lasts for longer than six months and may be caused by injury or some other medical condition.
Neuropathic Pain Or Nerve Pain – Nerves in the back continue to perceive pain, even in the absence of tissue damage or even after healing of a back injury.
The back or, to be more exact the spine, can roughly be divided into the upper, middle, and lower back. In the next section, we will explore some effective exercises for all three portions of the back.
1. Bat Wing
Bat Wing is the best exercise for upper back pain reduction. Chest presses and push-ups help in strengthening the back muscles and arms. But this exercise helps in achieving the target by focusing the muscle contraction in the affected area to strengthen and avoid pain. It is similar to row exercise, but with a multiplying range of movements to make sure that your rhomboids are pressurized.
2. Pec Stretch
A Pec stretch exercise is a yoga movement where one needs to apply strength on the arm’s back side focusing on the back muscle. Take your position across a wall placing your right hand up on the wall in a manner that your elbow is on same lines as the shoulder. Gradually, move your body downwards using your hand as a support to avoid falling. Place your opposite hand near you ribs. While doing any exercise, it is important to inhale and exhale in order to ensure proper blood circulation.
3. Downward Dog At The Wall
This exercise has proven to be extremely beneficial for many out there suffering from back aches. All you have to do is just bend downwards facing towards the floor & try holding this position. If your calves start paining, slightly bend your knees. Try to stay in this position for 10 seconds & then release.
4. Thoracic Extension
There are a number of ways to do this exercise. One can just lie down and face upwards with head up straight or do the same activity with a foam roller. You can even sit on a chair clasping your hands behind the head, and then stretch your head upwards facing the ceiling. Repeat this activity 10 times a day.
5. Arm Slide
While doing Arm Slide exercise, stand against a wall with a straight posture. Lift your arms overhead while keeping your shoulder & arms touching the wall. Do not allow your shoulders to shrug towards your ears, your low back to arch, or your arms to lift off the wall. Return to the starting position and repeat for 10 repetitions. This help in strengthening the upper back core muscles, thus avoiding bad fixes.
6. Shoulder Roll
The shoulder roll is an exercise one can perform anytime & anywhere. One needs to focus on making larger circles to smaller with circular shoulder movements. This helps in making muscles more flexible & supple.
7. Scapular Squeeze
Stretching is not as easy as it appears to be. Scapular stretching is an exercise which requires patience & effort. To do this exercise, one needs to keep his/her elbows by the side, then squeeze the shoulder blades together & hold for 5-10 seconds. Relax & repeat this exercise 10 times a day.
8. Rowing Exercises
Rowing exercise not only helps in alleviating pain, but also helps in strengthening shoulder muscles. With each row, one takes the weight of the boat plank on the muscle with a slight jerk. Rowing is a great exercise as it gives you a break from the traditional cardio exercises like running.
Top 10 Back Pain Reasons
1. Injury Or Sprain
The strange fact about sprain or injury of the spinal cord is that you may not feel the wound immediately. It may remain in a suppressed condition for a long time and start showing its existence suddenly without any specific cause. If you were unaware of the old injury, you might feel surprised how the pain was caused. However, old injuries and sprains are found to be most the common cause of back pain.
2. Herniated Disks
Herniated disks are spine disorders that are caused due to the rupture of the spine. The common term for herniated disk is slip disk, which pinches any particular nerve in the spinal cord. Unlike sprain in the spine, one can feel this type of pain immediately. Back pain due to herniated disks is often diagnosed through X-ray or MRI.
Fracture in the spine may be a leading as well as a prominent cause of back pain. The effect of the fracture may be similar when minor, but it may generate acute pain when the fracture is serious. Patients with a fracture in the spine often become chronic patients of back pain even after surgery or treatment.
Osteoarthritis is a middle age bone problem, mainly noticed among female patients. The condition is similar to degenerative disc disorder or intervertebral disc degeneration, which happens when the discs in the spinal cord start to weaken with age.
During pregnancy, back pain is a common experience. Due to excessive pressure on the spine, back pain is common with many pregnant women at the advanced stage of pregnancy.
Another top factor for backache, it may cause pain in the ligaments, muscles and tendons all over the body. The primary symptom of fibromyalgia is fatigue. Several types of treatments are available for such type of pain.
If you are obese, it is most likely that you would suffer from back pain. The increasing amount of body fat will create pressure on the spine. The only remedy for this type of back pain is weight loss.
8. Anxiety and stress
Modern day life is wrapped with anxiety and stress. Stress is present in all corners of life from the household to the office. Moreover, irregular lifestyles, improper diet, lack of rest, all necessarily give birth to more than a handful of disorders including back pain. It occurs when the nerves inside the spine do not get the supply of an adequate amount of oxygen due to excessive stress. The effects on your mind will also cause a setback to your spine and will make you suffer from back pain.
9. Improper Sleeping Posture
It is strange but true that sometimes, odd sleeping postures can be one of the causes of back pain. Sleeping on your stomach is harmful to the spine, as it puts much pressure on your back. Fortunately, such pains are temporary in nature. However, it may turn to permanent if you do not change your sleeping posture.
10. Prolonged Time Spent In Sitting Position
Are you in the habit of spending too much time sitting in the same position? Many of us spend more than half the day in front of the computers at the office or at home. This may be extremely harmful to the health of your spine. You should take breaks for at least 10 minutes every hour and move around.
A Word of Caution
Since the spine is a highly sensitive area of the body, it is recommended that you practice these precautions:
Always ask your doctor before beginning an exercise routine for the back.
Do not exercise immediately after using an ice pack.
Stop exercising if it causes acute pain that lasts for more than two hours.
Stop the exercise if it causes nausea, numbness, and breathlessness.
During pregnancy, discontinue any exercise if it causes any discomfort, always putting the safety of the baby above your pain.
So here are 25 easy exercises for back pain relief anyone can do at home. They require almost no specialized equipment or expensive gym memberships. Of course, you can always opt for pricier choices, but then, the results would be the same. These exercises can be done with minimal supervision and in the comfort of your home. Some of them can even be done at the workplace during breaks.
If you are into yoga, you can also find some very effective asanas for back pain relief. However, these must be done only under experienced teachers as yoga done incorrectly will do more harm than good. Remember not to overstrain yourself, especially not your back. The spine is what holds you up, so be careful with it. In addition to exercising, you can also do these things to avoid further distress to your already aching back:
Use your knees to bend while lifting a weight off the ground, don’t bend your back.•Don’t stand or sit in the same position and posture for long. Shift your weight on both legs in an alternating manner.
Avoid sleeping on your back or your abdomen; they both put extra pressure on the spine. The best position to sleep is on the side with a pillow between the knees.
Avoid carrying a heavy bag (laptop bag, purse, etc.) on one shoulder. Get a bag that can be carried across the back.
Use a firm mattress, and not one that is too soft and downy. The firm mattress supports the back.•Try to maintain a schedule where you cycle, walk, swim or jog regularly.
Set limits for yourself. Don’t over strain your back. Explain to the people living and working with you that there are some things that you won’t be able to do because of your back pain.
Here’s hoping that one or some of these tips and exercises help you control and reduce your back pain. Remember: when in pain, discontinue these back pain exercises and visit your doctor.