Chronic back pain need not be permanent. Why not take a little time out to feel better and stronger?
: Consult a physician before doing these exercises. Do not perform them if you have a slipped disc or another back injury.
Step 1: Do the cat stretch Get down on your mat on all fours, with your hands directly below your shoulders. Breathe in slowly while arching your back, tightening your stomach muscles, and dropping your head. Hold, then return to your first position as you exhale, slowly releasing your back and stomach.
TIP: Take a walk before exercising to loosen your limbs and warm your muscles. Go slowly while working out, and stop if something doesn’t feel right.
Step 2: Lie on floor, raise abdomen Lie face down on your interlaced fingers. Keep your feet pressed against the floor. Inhale deeply, then exhale and contract your lower back muscles, raising the upper abdomen off the floor. Slowly lower yourself while inhaling. Perform 12 repetitions.
Step 3: Build abdominals and back Lie with your back flat on the floor, your hands at your sides, your knees bent, and your feet flat. Alternately bend each knee toward your chest, gently cradling it with a hand under your thigh, and hold for a count of three. Release the leg and lower. Repeat three times.
Step 4: Perform a bridge Perform a bridge pose by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the mat. Tighten your abdominals and raise your hips toward the ceiling. Hold for a three count and lie back down. Repeat.
Step 5: Work the glutes Work your gluteal muscles to strengthen your lower back by walking up and down steps daily, maintaining an erect posture.
Step 6: Tighten abdominals Lie on your back and place your feet against a wall so that your legs are bent at 90 degrees. Tighten your abdominals, crossing your arms in front and raising your head and shoulders off the floor. Hold, taking three deep breaths. Repeat.
TIP: Some people seek back pain relief by getting regular adjustments from a chiropractor.
Step 7: Lift barbell to strengthen Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, your knees bent slightly. Slowly raise a five-pound barbell above, then behind your head, contracting your shoulder muscles. Raise it again. Do three sets of 10 repetitions.
FACT: Did you know? Nearly 50 percent of injuries in the office, including those that weaken the back, are the result of long hours spent in front of computers.