With up to 80% of Americans experiencing low back pain at some time in their lives, it’s safe to say that everyone is at risk for back pain. Back pain can range from a dull, ongoing ache to sharp, stabbing pain, and suffering back pain can significantly impact your quality of life.
Common causes of back pain include arthritis, muscle strain, herniated discs, and spinal stenosis. While you can’t prevent every condition, there are steps you can take to safeguard your spine at any age.
Stretching and exercising your back has been proven to help reduce pain and prevent injury. Exercising increases blood flow to your spine, which reduces stiffness and speeds healing. The more you move, the better your mobility, and the lower your risk for developing painful back conditions.
Serving people in Beverly Hills and Marina Del Rey, California, John Regan, MD and our team at Spine Group Beverly Hills are experts in preventing, diagnosing, and treating back conditions.
Today, we’re here to share eight simple exercises you can do at home to safeguard your spine.
1. Knee-to-chest stretch
Knee-to-chest stretches elongate your spine and reduce lower back pain. Begin by lying with your back on the floor, knees bent and feet flat. Using your hands, gently pull one knee in toward your chest. Hold it in position for five seconds while pressing your spine to the floor. Return to the starting position and repeat with your other leg. Perform this stretch two to three times on each leg.
2. Rotational stretch
Rotational stretches are gentle spinal twists that strengthen your core muscles and reduce tension in your back. Start by lying on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Stretch your arms out to the sides with your shoulders firmly on the floor. Slowly roll both knees to one side and rest them on the floor. Hold for five to 10 seconds. Return to your original position, then repeat on the opposite side.
3. Pelvic tilt
A pelvic tilt is a small movement that releases tension in your spine and improves flexibility. Lie on your back , knees bent and feet flat. Arch your back and push your belly up. Hold for five seconds, then flatten your back against the floor and pull your belly in. Hold for five seconds. Repeat up to 30 times each day.
Bridge exercises strengthen your back, buttocks, and hamstring muscles to support your spine. Lie on your back with your knees bent. Gently lift your hips, keeping your shoulders on the floor and your feet in place. Keep your back and buttocks muscles engaged for five seconds before returning to the starting position. Repeat up to 30 times a day.
5. Partial abdominal curl
A healthy spine needs more than strong back muscles; strong abdominal muscles help support your core. Perform the partial abdominal curl while lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands crossed over your chest, and breathe out while you lift your head and shoulders about two inches off the floor. Keep your neck aligned with your spine and hold the position for five seconds. Repeat 10 times.
6. Cat-cow stretch
Cat-cow is a traditional yoga pose that improves spine flexibility. To perform this stretch, begin on your hands and knees with your knees hip-width apart. Arch your back and pull your belly button up (cat). Relax your muscles, bring your belly down toward the floor and lift your hips up (cow). Repeat three to five times in a row.
7. Shoulder blade squeeze
The shoulder blade squeeze helps strengthen muscles in the upper back. While sitting or standing, bring your spine into proper posture. Pull your shoulder blades together in the back, and hold the position for five seconds. Relax, and repeat three to five times.
8. Chin-to-chest stretch
The chin-to-chest stretch can be performed while sitting at a desk. It releases tension in the upper back, and it’s great for anyone who works at a computer. Sit up straight with your spine aligned, and slowly tilt your head forward so your chin touches your chest. Hold for five to 10 seconds. Repeat three to five times.
Always consult your health care team before beginning any exercise routine to make sure that the exercises are safe for you. When you regularly perform exercises that fit your ability level and lifestyle, you can strengthen your back and effectively safeguard your spine.
From pain prevention to spine surgery, find the best in spinal care at Spine Group Beverly Hills. Request an appointment with Dr. Regan online or call our friendly office staff to book today.