As many as four in five Canadian adults have some type of back pain during their lifetime. That is despite more than 60% of Canadian adults’ efforts to maintain their bone, joint, and back health with natural supplements and minerals.
Fortunately, there are many different (non-pharmaceutical) tools you can use to help manage back pain. That includes the therapeutic application of healing plants and natural herbs as well as manual treatments (like acupuncture and massage).
Plus, the best at-home management plans for chronic, episodic, and injury-related back pain all incorporate physical exercise and stretches. Naturally, some exercises and stretches are more effective for specific types of pain and specific people. Nevertheless, the following exercises and stretches are scientifically-proven to help relieve back pain for many people, especially when performed regularly.
Taking a brisk, 30-minute walk on flat ground has significant benefits for people with back pain. People who often do this type of exercise (and who remember to “brace” or tighten their abdominal muscles while doing so) find their back pain is more manageable. Most notably, it seems to help insulate against the everyday postures that tend to cause back pain flare-ups (like lying in bed, walking around, and sitting still for work).
Some of the most beneficial exercises aim to stretch and strengthen the muscles in your hips. That’s important because back pain commonly comes from tightness in one of those muscles (psoas) pulling the spine into a painful position when the other muscles (hip flexors) aren’t strong enough to hold it.
To stretch and strengthen those muscles, try doing "glute bridges":
“Stabilization” exercises can do two things: reduce back pain severity and restore pain-free movement. Done regularly and repeatedly, the benefits of this exercise can be similar to those of manual therapies like massage. To add leg lifts to your healthy living routine:
Yoga-type stretches can relieve back pain. Simple poses like “knee-to-chest” can immediately loosen muscle tension and stiffness that causes and complicates back pain. That’s true even if you don’t practice yoga long-term.*
To perform a knee-to-chest stretch:
*Adopting an integrative yoga practice makes yoga-like stretches more effective for both physical and emotional pain. In fact, research suggests that integrative yoga — which incorporates mindfulness/meditation, stretching/loosening exercises, and breathing exercises — can be even more beneficial than physical exercise for back pain.
Like integrative yoga, tai chi (and tai chi inspired exercise and stretching) can make a big difference to people experiencing back pain. The other exercises and stretches on this list are good for regular use throughout the day (to prevent back pain while working, for example). Yet adopting a healthy living routine that combines mindfulness with movement is different. It can diminish back pain more than conventional exercise, core/stabilization exercises, or physical therapy alone.
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Many visitors on our blog are suffering from some form of medical ailment, from back pains, neck pains and body aches, to more serious conditions such as fibromyalgia and depression. We post tips on healthy living regularly, to help you get through the difficult times.
Disclosure: we are not medical professionals. Thus, tips we provide on this blog should not be viewed as medical advice. Furthermore, tips we share are based on research, studies, and testimonials. Always verify by conducting your own research.
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