Exercise Lowers the Odds of Back Pain!

 According to a recent UNC School of Medicine study, it is estimated that “80% of Americans will experience back pain. This has led to chronic lower back pain being the second leading cause of disability in the U.S., which means that sufferers not only deal with pain but high medical bills and missed work”  (1) Not all pain is the same. I can attest to this from my own experience with compressed disks in the past. My greatest gain in mobility and decrease in pain was and still is attributed to exercise. You’re only as long as your spine is flexible and your mind open.

Strengthening and stretching the muscles in your back and core will go a long way toward preventing back pain. For example, when you sit for long periods of time, you typically end up shortening your iliacus, psoas and quadratus lumborum muscles that connect from your lumbar region to the top of your femur and pelvis. When these muscles are shortened, it can cause severe pain upon standing as they will pull your lower back (lumbar) forward, tightening the hip flexors and persisting the devolution of space and posture in your spine.

If you’ve experienced any of these issues, degenerative disc disease, pinched or compressed nerve, muscle or ligament strain, lack of exercise, here are some exercise options for you…

TO STRENGTHEN:

Arch and swimmer kicks on your stomach look as they sound. Lie on your stomach lengthen your arms and legs away from each other stretching long so that they rise an inch or two of the floor. You can hold this or flutter your arms and legs like a wind-up snorkeling swimmer toy.

Squats and forearm planks are great as well. Try to maintain the same length in your spine and extremities as you move through these motions.

TO STRETCH:

A reclined spinal twists is good for a stretch and to ignight your body’s detox and digestion. Lie flat on your back, pull one knee up into your chest, and slowly cross it over your body while keeping the same side shoulder on the floor. Your lengthening is continuing through your spine and oppositionally across your body as you wring out the muscles and organs like a dish towel.

For you Yogi’s Cat & Cow are good for mobility, and you can add as much tension and release through the muscles to exaggerate the effect. Bending over crossed legs or stacked legs for a few deep breaths are wonderful for the lumbar spine region.

What exercise will do for you:

improve posture and spinal stability, improve balance, build lean muscle, reduce back pain.

I love working through these positions and movements in our Harrison hammocks, as you can take each to whichever extreme and level of Fitness you would like. It It also allows you to challenge yourself, for example of forearm Plank with your feet in the Harrison hammock behind you changing your angle, or the weightlessness that swimming in the Harrison hammock provides to the rest of your body so you can extend as long through your spine and arms and legs as you would like.

Read more on the UNC Study and check out these exercises from Dr. Axe and Dr. Merccola to promote spine health, or come hang with me at AntiGravity®STL!

1 thought on “Exercise Lowers the Odds of Back Pain!”

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