Poor posture is one of the top underlying causes of lower back pain. Whether you sit at a desk all day or are a professional athlete, poor posture could be the cause of that never-ending ache in your back. Try implementing the following exercises and stretches recommended by sports medicine doctors to reduce tension, build strength, and improve posture.
One way to both treat lower back pain and improve your posture is by strengthening the muscles in your lower back and core. The following 5 exercises can be performed with no equipment either at home, the gym, or even sitting at your desk.
Partial Crunches for Lower Back Pain
Partial crunches are a simple exercise that strengthen your core and back muscles to help with posture and back pain. Lie on your back, crossing your arms in front of your chest, and slowly raise your shoulders from the floor while engaging your core muscles. Hold for one second then slowly lower your shoulders back down to the floor.
This low-impact exercise eases back pain by stabilizing the muscles in the core and lower back during movements of the arms and legs. Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Then, while tightening your abdominal muscles, lift and extend your right leg behind you and your left arm in front of you. Hold this position for 5 seconds, then repeat with your left leg and right arm.
Reverse High Five
If you have been sitting at your desk all day, take a break from working to stand up and complete a few rounds of this exercise in order to prevent slouching and neck pain. Standing tall, turn your palms to face away from you and then press your hands back as if you were giving someone a double high five behind you.
This simple exercise is a great break from sitting on the couch or crouching over a desk. Start by standing with your back against a wall and slowly slide down the wall as if you were sitting down in a chair, keeping your knees bent no farther than a 90-degree angle. Pressing your lower back into the wall, hold this position for 30 seconds.
This pose is ideal for relieving back pain and building strength throughout the entire body. Keeping your hands lined up with your shoulders, straighten your legs out behind you, lifting your heels and keeping your hips raised. Engage your core, keep your chest open and shoulders back, and hold the position for one minute at a time.
Don’t Forget to Stretch
Stretching your muscles helps you develop strength, flexibility and balance, which lead to less muscle pain and better posture. These gentle yoga stretches will help improve your posture and lead to less pain in your back and neck.
This restful stretch lengthens your spine, and relieves tension in both the lower back and neck. Starting in tabletop position, sink your hips back towards your feet and gently place your forehead on the floor, keeping your arms extended out in front of you.
This stretch massages the spine to relieve tension in the upper body and increase blood flow. Start on your hands and knees in tabletop position then inhale to look up, dropping your abdomen towards the ground for cow pose. Next, exhale and arch your spine up towards the ceiling like a cat, keeping your chin tucked into your chest.
Cobra pose strengthens your upper back and relieves spinal tension. Start by lying down on your stomach and placing your hands underneath your shoulders. Using the strength of your back, lift your shoulders away from the floor and press into your hands.
Thoracic Spine Rotation
This stretch is great for alleviating any tightness or pain in the lower back. Lie down flat on your back and pull one knee close to your chest. Cross your knee over your body and let it rest on the floor, rotating your spine. Rest here for as long as you would like then repeat on the other side.
Isometric Seated Rows
This stretch is perfect for improving poor posture and working out stiffness in the neck caused by sitting in one place for too long. If you have an office job, take a break from hunching over your computer and start by sitting tall in your chair with your shoulders back. Exhale as you draw your elbows back into the hair and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
To learn more about spinal conditions, back pain and treatment options, make an appointment with one of our sports medicine experts at The Woodlands Sports Medicine Centre today.