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Back pain affects about a half of all working Americans every year. But don’t be afraid — in most cases, this kind of pain is usually mechanical, or non-organic. This means that it’s not caused by serious health conditions and can be relieved with the help of some simple exercises.
Bright Side gathered 8 of the most effective exercises that will help you say goodbye to your back pain in just 10 minutes.
8. Legs-up-the-wall pose
The initial position: Lying on your side with your legs placed one over the other, parallel to the wall, and your upper body perpendicular to the wall. What to do: Put a foam roller or a folded blanket under your lower back. Slowly roll from your side to your back and extend your legs up to the wall. Stay in this position for about 2-3 minutes. To come out of the pose, pull your knees toward your chest and roll to the side. Benefits: The legs-up-the-wall pose releases the tension in the muscles of your back, alleviates headaches, and soothes menstrual cramps.
The initial position: Lying on your stomach with your arms extended overhead and your legs straight. What to do: Keeping your arms and legs straight, simultaneously raise your right arm and your left leg. Hold for a couple of seconds before returning to the initial position. Switch sides and repeat the exercise. Perform the raises 10-20 times on each side. Benefits: Alternating arm and leg raises increase your muscle strength, correct your posture, and improve your mobility.
The initial position: Standing on your hands and knees, with your knees below your hips, and your hands below your shoulders. What to do: Bring your right hand to your head, make sure that your elbow is pointing out to the side. Rotate your upper body to the right and look up at the ceiling. Hold at the top for a few seconds, then lower back to the initial position. Repeat 8-10 times on each side. Benefits: The thoracic rotation exercise improves your posture, mobilizes your joints, and stabilizes your spine.
The initial position: Lying flat on your back with your legs straight. What to do: Keeping your left leg straight, pull your right knee into your chest. Place a strap or a towel around the ball of your right foot. Straighten your right leg toward the ceiling, as far as possible. Hold for 30 seconds, then return to the initial position and repeat on the opposite side. Benefits: Hamstring floor stretches lengthen your thigh muscles and relieve pressure on your lower back.
The initial position: Standing on the ground with your feet hip-width apart. What to do: Take a step back with your left leg. Slightly turn your left foot to the side so that it creates a 45-degree angle. Place your hands on opposite elbows behind your back. Slowly bend forward over your right leg. Hold for a few seconds to feel a stretch, then raise your upper body back. Repeat 5-10 times, then switch to the other leg. Benefits: The pyramid pose stretches your hamstrings and lower back, and strengthens your quadriceps, feet, and shin muscles.
7. Alternating arm and leg raises
6. Thoracic rotation
5. Hamstring floor stretch
4. Pyramid pose
3. Thoracic spine extension
The initial position: Lying flat on your back with your legs straight and your arms by your sides. What to do: Put a foam roller or a folded blanket under your upper back. Bend your knees and put the soles of your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head. Keeping your knees bent and your buttocks on the floor, let your head and shoulders fall backward until you feel a stretch in your middle back. Hold for a few seconds, then slowly raise your head and upper body. Repeat 10-20 times. Benefits: The thoracic spine extension exercise relieves muscular tension, improves your posture, and maintains mobility in your upper back.
The initial position: Standing with your legs shoulder-distance apart. What to do: Take a step forward with your right leg. Bend your right knee and place your left knee on the floor. Keeping your left knee on the floor, lift your left foot up and grab it with your hands. Hold the pose for 30-40 seconds, then repeat on your other leg. Benefits: Psoas stretches strengthen the muscles in your legs and groin and provide stability in your lower back and hips.
The initial position: Lying flat on your back with your legs straight and your arms by your sides. What to do: Bend your knees into your belly. Grab the inside of each foot with your hands. Open your knees a bit wider than your torso and bring them up toward your armpits. Holding your feet with your hands, stretch your legs out toward the ceiling as far as you can. Hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds, then release it, and get back to the floor. Benefits: The dead bug pose gently stretches your spine and opens your hips and inner thighs.
How often do you suffer from back pain? How do you treat it? Share your experience with us in the comments!
Illustrated by Daniil Shubin for BrightSide.me