Suffering From Back Pain? Avoid These Four Exercises

Back pain is either chronic, meaning that you wake up every day in pain, or you move wrong and end up hurting seemingly out of the blue. Either way, you’re told to exercise, as that will alleviate the pain. While this works – somewhat – there are some exercises that you just shouldn’t do, as they put too much pressure on your back. They’ll actually make your pain worse. Here are the four worst offenders, as well as some good alternatives.

1) Sit Ups

Traditional sit-ups will strengthen your core muscles, especially those in your abdomen. Ideally, they’ll make your back better, since the front muscles will add support. However, they need to be avoided, since they put pressure on your spine and will make your back pain much worse.

The Alternative: Partial Crunches

Partial crunches are designed to strengthen your abdominal muscles but in a back-friendly way. Start by laying on your back with both feet flat on the floor and your knees bent, facing the ceiling. Place your hands behind your neck in order to give it some support. Then, raise your shoulders off of the floor by
tightening your abdominal muscles. Do not use your arms. Lower yourself back down and repeat.

2) Superman Back Extensions

This exercise involves laying flat on the floor face down while lifting your arms and legs up. It looks impressive, especially if you can hold it for a period of time. The problem is that it stresses your lower back.

The Alternative: The Bird-Dog

This exercises actually strengthens your lower back without stressing it. Start out on your hands and knees and then extend one leg behind you to hip level. Raise the opposite arm to shoulder level at the same time. Use your abdominal muscles, but don’t tilt your pelvis. Hold this position for a brief count
and then repeat on the other side.

3) Standing Toe Touches

This is a common stretching exercise that will help your hamstrings. There are few things more painful than a tight or pulled hamstring, except for an injured back. That’s what you may end up with if you attempt this stretch when you have a history of back pain.

The Alternative: Stretches With a Towel

For this stretch, start out on your back and bend one knee. Place a towel around the foot of your extended leg. Straighten your knee as you use the towel to pull that leg up off of the floor. Hold the position for 20 seconds before repeating on the other side. Your back should remain flat on the floor the entire time.

4) Double Leg Lifts

We’ve already gone over how a strong core can keep back pain at bay. However, if you do double leg lifts, you risk injuring your lower back.

The Alternative: One Leg Lifts

Place yourself in the same position as for the towel stretches. Lift one straight up and hold it in place. Repeat with the other leg, once again, keeping your back flat on the floor. If you have any questions on these exercises, make an appointment to see your local chiropractor.

How to Maintain a Healthy Spine and Body at the Office

What’s that phrase? Something about sitting being the Smoking of the 21 st Century? It doesn’t seem possible, but research backs it up.

A few decades ago, before email, paperless transactions, and paperless files, it was necessary to leave your desk periodically during the day. Trips around the office were made to make copies, grab a file, file a folder, and use the FAX machine. While these tiny trips may have seemed unimportant at the time, they did get people out of their chairs.

To help prevent serious health issues and maintain spinal health, there are a few things you can do.

One, make an appointment for regular chiropractic care to ensure your structure keeps its proper alignment.

Two, develop a routine you can do at your desk. Here are a few suggestions to try.

First, Breathe

We all breath, both consciously and unconsciously. But, that doesn’t mean we do it correctly. Breathing correctly gives our cells the correct amount of oxygen they need to work correctly. It also helps lower stress and tension throughout the body.

Try this exercise to retrain yourself to breathe the right way.

  • Sit up in a straight but gentle posture.
  • Keep your shoulders down and back.
  • Inhale through your nose, so the air goes all the way down and pushes your stomach outward.
  • Pause 2 seconds.
  • Exhale through your mouth.
  • Pause 2 seconds.
  • Repeat

Do this every 15 minutes for 30-seconds.

Next, Take Time to Stretch

It’s very easy when we’re busy or focused on a project to forget our posture. A good way to bring ourselves out of the poor posture habit is through stretching. Here are a few ways.

Upper Body

  • Begin by sitting up straight.
  • Bring your arms out to each side, keeping your shoulders back and down, palms facing up.
  • Stretch your arms backward as far as you can and hold 2 seconds or more.
  • Alternatively, stand inside an open doorframe stretching your arms out to touch either side. Move slightly forward to give your arms, shoulders and
  • upper back a stretch.

Lower Body

  • Begin seated with both feet flat on the floor.
  • Bring up your right ankle and place it on your left knee.
  • Gently move your right knee toward the floor, then lean forward as far as possible and let your hands fall toward the floor and dangle.
  • Reverse sides and repeat.

Do these stretches every 30 minutes, for 2-minutes.

Also, drink a lot of water. When our muscles tense up toxin build-up. Drinking plenty of water will help keep your body flushed out, especially after your stretching routine.

Finally, Walk Around

The easiest way to remember to walk is by taking full advantage of bathroom breaks. Remember that water you’e supposed to be drinking? Besides all its other health benefits, it will also make sure you have to “get up and go” regularly.

But, don’t stop there. Consider taking the stairs to the restroom on a different floor. Or, take a circuitous route instead of a direct one, just make sure you don’t get distracted along the way.

Have an hour lunch? Use 30 minutes to walk across the street and back, or to the local park. You’ll get a lot of steps and still have time to eat something afterward.

Keep Moving, Even in Your Chair

Some work demands prolonged sitting time. You can do things to help make sure you don’t suffer unnecessarily for it.

Reaves Chiropractic
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