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  • Writer's pictureChuck Johns

8 Exercises to Ease Your Back Pain That Will Only Take 10 Minutes

The human body is a fascinating thing, one that a person might liken to a machine in an imperfect attempt to describe it. There are many moving parts, most of which are interdependent on each other for the whole to function properly. Interestingly, we often don't realize how well everything works and how smoothly the day-to-day operations are going until something goes wrong -- and then we realize all too quickly what we're missing.

Back problems are one common example of this happening. How many times do you really think about the role your back plays in your day-to-day? Not many, which is common.

Fortunately, though back pain can really throw a day out of whack -- just try picking things up, standing or sitting for long periods, or even turning, with your back giving you problems -- back pain is typically non-organic (it doesn't come from a grave health issue) and can be treated with some exercise that anyone can do. Yes, even one suffering back pain.

1. Alternating leg/arm raises. This exercise can help your mobility and correct your posture.

Start by lying flat on your stomach with arms stretched out above your head and legs straight. Keep all limbs straight and raise the right arm and left leg simultaneously. Hold for a few seconds, then return to the first position. Repeat with the other arm/leg pair.

2. Thoracic rotation. This stabilizes the spine and helps with your posture.

Begin on hands and knees, with knees directly below hips. Bring your right hand up to your head, pointing the elbow out to the side. Rotate your upper body headed right, ending with you looking at the ceiling. Hold this position for a few seconds and then return. Repeat up to 8 to 10 times per side.

3. Pyramid pose. This stretches the lower back and hamstrings, giving your quads and shin muscles more strength.

Start standing with feet at hip-width. Step back with the left leg, foot slightly turned to create a 45 degree angle with the right foot. Put your arms behind your back, each hand on its opposite elbow. Slowly bend forward at the waist over the right leg, and hold for a few seconds as you start to feel the stretch. Return to original position, and repeat 5-10 times before switching to the other side.

4. Hamstring floor stretch. This lengthens the muscles in the thigh and helps ease lower back pressure.

Lie on your back with legs straight. Keep the left leg straight and down, and pull the right knee up towards your chest. Place a towel or strap around the ball of the right foot, and keep it there as you straighten the right leg as far as possible up toward the ceiling. Hold that for 30 seconds, then return to the first position and do the same for the opposite side.

5. Legs up the wall. This eases tension in the back muscles, and can even help soothe headaches and menstrual cramps.

Start by lying on your side with legs stacked one on the other and parallel to the wall. Your upper body should be perpendicular to the wall, the flat half of an L. Keep a folded blanket or foam roller under the lower back. Slowly rotate your body from lying on your side to lying on your back, with legs up the wall. Hold this for 2-3 minutes. To finish, pull your knees to your chest, and roll down to your side again.

6. Dead bug pose. This offers a gentle spine stretch, with some also for the inner thighs and hips.

Start by lying on your back, legs straight and down, and arms resting by your sides. Bend your knees up into your gut, and hold onto the inside of each foot. Open the knees wider than the torso, pulling them further up to your armpits, still holding your feet. Keeping a grip on the feet, stretch the legs out as far as possible toward the ceiling. Hold for half a minute to a minute, then release.

7. Thoracic spine extension. This relieves tension in the are and maintains upper back mobility.

Lie down on your back with legs straight and arms resting down by your sides, with a foam roller under the upper back. Bend your knees, with your soles flat on the floor, and put your hands under your head. Without moving the legs, allow your head and shoulders to loll back until you can feel your middle back stretch a bit. When you're there, hold the pose, then slowly raise your head and shoulders back up. Repeat up to 20 times.

8. Psoas stretch. This strengthens leg muscles and increases hip and lower back stability.

Start standing with feet at shoulder-width. Step forward with the right leg, then bend that knee and place the left knee on the floor. Holding this pose (knee on floor), lift your left foot and hold it with your hands. Keep your balance and hold the post for up to 40 seconds, then do the same with the other leg.

That's 10 minutes!!!



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