One of the most common areas of pain and discomfort is the lower back. It is estimated that 31 million Americans experience low back pain at any given time. Worldwide, back pain is the leading cause of disability, preventing people from going to work and engaging in other physical activities.
Your back is comprised of bones, joints, ligaments, and muscles. These 4 components work together to allow movement, stability, and hold your back in proper alignment. Back injuries can occur when you have poor posture, perform repetitive tasks, or lift heavy objects. Chronic arthritis may also contribute to back pain.
Studies show that physical activity and exercise can reduce back pain. Let’s focus on 4 simple stretching exercises that may reduce back pain and strengthen the muscles in your back.
Using a yoga mat, begin on your hands and knees. Exhale as you round your spine, keeping your head down, into “Cat Posture”. Hold for a few seconds, then inhale as you arch your spine and lift your head up into “Cow Posture”. Perform both Cat and Cow for 8 repetitions.
Using a yoga mat, begin on your hands and knees. Exhale as you lower your hips down to your ankles while reaching your arms forward. You will feel a stretch in your lower back. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat for 2 sets.
Knees to Chest
Using a yoga mat, lay on your back and bring both your knees to your chest. Wrapping your arms around your knees, hold for 20 seconds and perform a total of 2 sets.
Using a yoga mat, lay on your back and bend your right knee up toward your chest then over to your left elbow. Keep your left leg straight and keep your back and arms on the ground. Hold for 20 seconds and switch to the other side. Perform 2 sets on both sides.
Looking ahead, next month we will cover 4 strength exercises to strengthen the back and hips.