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USA Karate Guest Blog: Beneficial Exercises to Aid in Back Pain and Stiffness
Chronic back pain can be a discomforting and debilitating illness. Chiropractic care is a great way to help diagnose and treat most back problems but it is important to add exercise into everyday life to help aid in spinal health. There are many exercises that are targeted to different parts of the lower back, shoulders, and spine that are created to help with pain and stiffness. Below are a few exercises and activities that may aid in back stiffness and pain.
Yoga has been recognized as an alternative health care method that helps reduce stress, depression, anxiety, and contributes to overall total body and spiritual wellness. It is an ancient practice that focuses of unity of mind, body and spirit through meditation and physical movements.
Yoga brings focus and awareness to the body and breath centering the mind and body. It also increases flexibility and balance, helps create better posture, and strengthens the core muscles. Yoga massages and stimulates all organs of the body through movement and breath. Stretching muscles and joints act as a detoxification by ensuring optimum blood supply to body parts. Yoga utilizes muscles in the body that don’t normally get attention, strengthening muscles that might have previously been neglected. Two great starting poses are the Cat pose and the Cow pose. These poses can be done interchangeably and are great for stretching the back.
Cat Pose: provides gentle massage to the spine and belly organs through rounding of the back.
Start on your hands and knees in a “tabletop position” with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. As you exhale, tuck the tailbone under and round your back as you bring your head to your chest. Stay in this position for about 5-10 seconds and then breath your body back to the neutral first position.
Cow Pose: stretches and warms up the spine through arching of the back.
Start on your hands and knees in a “tabletop” position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. As you inhale, lift your chest and your sit-bone towards the ceiling and gaze forward. This should create a swag or dipping arch in your spine. Hold for a few seconds and exhale back to tabletop neutral position.
Other poses to look into are Downward-Facing Dog, Cobra, and Camel. There are numerous yoga poses that are specifically for back pain that can easily be found online or taught at local yoga studies. Not only is yoga great for back pain and stiffness, it also has numerous physical and mental benefits that make practicing yoga on a daily basis worthwhile.
Stay Active Throughout the Day
Most of us spend the majority of days sitting at desks or in front of a computer screen. Sitting for long periods of time, especially if we are sitting with improper spine alignment, can cause a great deal of all over back pain.
If your job consists of sitting for long periods of time, try to get up at least once every 30 minutes and stretch or go for a little stroll around the office. Also try working while standing for a while to limit the amount of time spent in a seated position. Make sure that when you are seated, you sit with good posture that includes a long straight spine and shoulders that aren’t hunched over.
Having strong core muscles is key to maintaining a healthy back. Try some light exercises like walking, yoga, or stretching regimens. Focus on exercises that target core muscles and shoulder muscles. It is always important to consult a physician if you suffer from serious back injuries before partaking in any exercise.
Whether you suffer from chronic back pain, spinal alignment issues, or minor back problems, it is important to stay active and introduce stretching into your daily regimen. Again, Consult an expert on back pain and stiffness before engaging in any physical activity to ensure proper execution and to eliminate the chances of worsening your condition.
Claire Taylor is a health advisor with Good Greens, a vegan protein bar.