Many people today suffer back pain from hours of sitting at a desk. This position compresses the hips, the spine, and the shoulders to create a pain in the neck and back.
Anyone who has experienced back pain knows it can be so severe it stops you from moving or creates a constant irritation the leaves you exhausted by the end of the day.
Exercises to relieve or reverse the pressure may bring you pain relief and help you move more freely.
Here are a few to try. Remember to consult your doctor before trying new exercises. This is especially true if you have back pain.
The Cobra Pose is the opposite of sitting, which makes it a great stretch. It reverses the position of the feet, the ankles, the back, the shoulders, and the neck.
- To stretch into the Cobra, lay face down on the floor with your legs together, and your feet pointed toward the opposite wall.
- Place your arms next to your body, positioning your hands under or next to your shoulders.
- Press the lower half of your body, from your hips down, into the floor. To help open your spine, place your hand on your hip as you stretch your leg toward the opposite wall. Repeat on the other side. Continue to press your lower body into the floor for the duration of the stretch
- Inhale and use your back muscles to lift your chest.
- Keep your neck relaxed and aligned with your spine as you draw your shoulder blades and elbows back. Continue lifting your chest up as high as you can. IMPORTANT: ONLY LIFT AS FAR AS IT IS COMFORTABLE. When your back is stronger, you will be able to lift your face upward.
- As you lift, press your tailbone and your hips into the floor for support as you squeeze your stomach muscles toward your spine.
- Hold the pose for 30 to 45 seconds.
- As you exhale, drop your head and use lower your body using your arms for support.
Repeat the pose three times.
Standing Spinal Stretch
- Stand up with feet shoulder-width apart and raise both hands over your head. Make sure that your bicep is tight to your ear. Your hands should touch above your head.
- Tilt your pelvis forward.
- Inhale and begin to lower your head toward the floor one vertebra at a time. You will have the appearance of diving as your body creates a “C” motion with your head and arms. Make sure that your biceps stay tight to your ears and your pelvis stays tucked for the entire exercise.
- When you have bent at the last vertebra, relax and hold for a few seconds. (Your hands may or may not touch the floor depending on your level of flexibility.) You may feel the stretch throughout your back and ribs.
- Hold your biceps tight to your ears, inhale and roll back up one vertebra at a time. Make sure your pelvis stays tucked forward. Keep your arms over your head until your spine is straight. When you are at the top, drop your hands and take two deep breaths.
Repeat this exercise eight to ten times for the best results.
Yoga’s Child Pose
- Get on the floor or yoga mat on your hands and knees.
- Sit down on your heels with the tops of your feet on the floor and bend forward from your waist. Your chest should be on your knees.
- Walk your hands out in front of you as far as you can. Open your fingers and keep your palms and fingertips firmly on the floor. Stretch through your fingertips and your tailbone at the same time to lengthen the spine.
- Hold the position and take three deep breaths.
- Walk your hands to the left, hold and breathe. Walk your hands to the right, hold and breathe.
- Walk your hands back to your body and sit up.
Repeat three times.