(NaturalNews) Around four out of five people experience back pain during their lifetime, and many people suffer chronic pain that lowers their quality of life. Surgery is rarely needed for back problems and accepting living with daily pain is also a rare necessity. Back pain can usually be relieved with proper stretching and back exercises. If your problem is severe, you may need to speak with a doctor about your limitations. These exercises will help most people build up their back muscles and relieve tension that can lead to decreased pain. Back exercises can also prevent back injuries and issues from developing.
Basic back strengthening exercise
A supported back extension is a simple exercise that builds strength in the back extensor muscles while allowing you to control the amount of weight you lift with your back. Your arms can take a little of the weight or most of the weight depending on how much your back can handle. This is ideal if your back is ready for exercising but still sore or weak.
Lie on your stomach and prop yourself up on your elbows, fingers pointing in the direction you are looking. Then, raise your upper body higher off the floor and push with your arms to assist the movement. Do not go so high that you feel additional pain. Just a couple of repetitions may be plenty when you start out, but work up to 8 to 10.
Intermediate back strengthening exercise
Once you do raise yourself off the floor without needing your arms, you can advance to the Superman exercise. Imagine the Man of Steel flying through the air with his arms extended in front of him and you'll get the basic idea.
Begin lying on your stomach with your arms straight in front of you on the floor. Then, lift your legs and your upper body up a few inches. Slowly lower back down. Work up to 12 reps.
Advanced back strengthening exercise
The back extension with twists exercise is an advanced back exercise that strengthens the muscles that extend the spine as well as the ones that rotate it. This exercise is not recommended if you have back pain of any kind and should not be performed if the twisting causes discomfort. For people with a healthy back, it's a wonderfully challenging exercise that works the back in several ways.
To begin, lie on your stomach and squeeze your thighs together. Place your hands on the back of your head with your elbows bent. Then, raise your chest off the floor and twist your upper body to the right. Twist back to the left without lowering to the floor first. After twisting both ways, lie flat. Repeat 10 times.
Gentle stretches for back pain
Many people believe that they need to strengthen their abs to reduce back pain, and sometimes that can help if you do have weak abdominals, but often, the issue is tight core muscles that prevent your spine from lengthening fully. Stretching the abs and hip flexors can relieve pressure.
An easy way to stretch your abdominals and your hip flexor is to lie face up on your bed and hang one leg off the side. After 20 to 30 seconds, hang the other leg off the bed. If you experience pain, try hanging less of your leg off the side.
A more extreme version of this exercise is to hang both legs off the bed together. Adjust how much of the legs go over the edge if you feel back pain.
About the author: Sarka-Jonae Miller is a published novelist and MARSocial Author of the Year runner-up. She's also a former personal trainer and massage therapist. SJ's published work includes the #3 bestseller "Between Boyfriends" and the just released sequel"Between the Sheets". The chick lit series was recently featured in the San Diego Reader, the largest alternative newsweekly in the United States.