Stretches and Exercises
If you experience back pain and stiffness in the morning, these 3 back exercises can help to increase your mobility and decrease pain and discomfort:
Upper Back Stretch. Try an upper back stretch for a great stretch that works both the neck and upper back muscles. Start by sitting with good posture in a chair.
Stretch out both your arms in front of you and rotate your hands under your palms are face away from each other. Then bend over at the upper back as if you are diving off a diving board.
You should also flex your head chin-to-chest while bending at the upper back.
Back Flexion Exercise. Find a supportive surface to lie down on that is padded enough to offer some comfort. While laying down, bend both your knees up and put your feet flat to the ground.
Slowly bring up both knees to your chest and hold your knees with your hands. Gently pull your knees close to your chest and hold the position for 3 seconds.
Slowly allow your knees to come back down to the starting position with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent. Do 5 to 10 repetitions.
You should not perform this exercise if you have a serious disc herniation, a vertebral compression fracture, or back pain caused by a serious medical condition, i.e. a spinal tumor.
If, after performing a back flexion exercise, your symptoms worsen, then you should stop and bring this issue up with your doctor. You should also stop the exercise if you start to have pain in your butt, thigh, or leg.
Knees-to-Chest Stretch: This knees-to-chest stretch is very easy to do. It offers a feel good back stretch you can do after sitting at a computer for an extended period or working in your garden and doing a lot of bending.
While lying on your back, pull both your knees to your chest and pull yourself into a ball-like position. You should feel a comfortable stretch once you are in the balled-up position.
The knees-to-chest stretch is one you can do daily and faithfully to help increase your range of motion. Having increased range of motion is helpful to everyone and especially if you have arthritis in your back.
Arching Back Stretch: This is a relatively easy stretch that starts with your standing straight with your feet shoulder length apart. Next, put the palms of your hands on your lower back and take a few slow deep breaths.
Bend your upper body backwards. Make sure to keep your knees straight and support your back with your hands.
Hold the stretch for 5 seconds and slowly return to your standing position. Repeat the stretch at least 5 times per day, 4 to 5 times per week.
On All Fours Stretch: Begin this back flexion and extension stretch by getting on your hands and knees on the floor. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders with your arms straight.
Now rock forward pulling your weight into your arms. Round your shoulders and let your seat down a little and hold this position for 5 seconds.
Now rock backward, sitting your buttocks as close to your heels as possible. Keep your arms straight and hold the pose for 5 seconds.
Return slowly to the start position and repeat 5 times.
Pain Medication Simply Doesn’t Work
Research has found that over-the-counter pain medications are rarely effective for treating back pain. In fact, a new report, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, finds that acetaminophen doesn’t reduce inflammation or pain and doctors are no longer recommending it for back pain.
Doctor now advise patients to concentrate on back strengthening exercises and only consider prescription medication as a last resort.
It is always wise to check with your doctor before starting any exercise program, especially if you are not used to exercising regularly. Your doctor may have some options and advice you may not be aware of.