What would you give to make your back pain go away, or to keep it from coming back after you’ve finally found relief? As a lumbar spine specialist in New Jersey, I’m well aware of how profound and agonizing back pain can be, and of the desperate feelings that it can generate.
As rewarding as it is to help patients get past their discomfort and get their lives back, I am always concerned that as they move ahead, they may fall back on old habits that make them more vulnerable to reinjuring themselves in the future. Paying attention to your spine health and doing some simple daily exercises is an investment that’s well worth your time.
Though every patient is different, the following are some of the exercises that can stretch and strengthen your back and the muscles that support it. By starting out doing them just a few times a day, then slowly increasing your repetitions as they become easier, you can go a long way towards protecting yourself from future pain.
• Knee-to-Chest Stretch – Start on your back with your knees bent and feet resting flat on the floor. Use both hands to pull one knee to your chest, holding it there while tightening your stomach muscles and pressing your spine down. Return to the initial position and repeat on the other side, then do it again with both legs at the same time.
• Rotating Lower Back Stretch – Start on your back with your knees bent and feet resting flat on the floor. Roll your knees to one side while keeping your shoulders flat, and hold that position for a count of 10. Return to center and repeat on the other side.
• Lower Back Flex Stretch – Start on your back with your knees bent and feet resting flat on the floor. Tighten your stomach muscles and hold them that way to a count of five, then release and press your spine towards the floor for the same count. Relax.
• Lower Back Bridge – Start on your back with your knees bent and feet resting flat on the floor. With your arms resting on your chest, lift your hips off of the floor, keeping your stomach and glute muscles engaged. Hold the position for a count of three, then release.
• Cat Stretch – Start on your hands and knees with your back flat. Put your head down and arch your back like a cat, pulling your stomach up, then reverse the position, letting your stomach hang towards the floor and pointing your tail bone towards the ceiling. Return to the starting position.
• Seated Rotating Lower Back Stretch – Start by sitting on an armless chair and cross your right leg over your left. Twist to the right, using your left elbow to press against your right knee and hold for a count of ten, then repeat on the other side.
• Shoulder Blade Squeeze – Start by sitting up straight on an armless chair, then pull your shoulder blades together and hold for a count of five.
If you are fortunate enough to be pain free, then now is the time to protect yourself by strengthening your back. If you are in pain, contact our office to make an appointment with a lumbar spine specialist in New Jersey.