As I have probably mentioned several times we spend most of our time in flexion. If your back pain is persistent and you have tried what I have talked about in a previous post here’s another idea to try to alleviate your pain.
Let’s recap, here is one way to try to relieve back pain,
Standing Back Bend
If you have been sitting for a long period of time or spend much of your time bent forward performing labor intensive work then you can try the exercise in the picture above. As shown, all you have to do is stand and place your hands on the back of your hips and bend backwards 12-15 times. The first few back bends may hurt but it should feel better after a few repetitions. If after a few reps your back pain becomes worse than STOP.
However, in this position we are still weight-bearing and at times we will feel no difference in our pain or possibly feel worse due to the fact that in weight-bearing we place the greatest stress on our discs. So how can we do this same exercise and not be weight-bearing?
Prone Press Ups
As you can see in the picture above he is extending his back while on his stomach. In this position you are not weight-bearing therefore taking pressure off the discs in your back. To achieve this position start on your stomach with your hands under your shoulders. Push up extending your elbows until they are completely extended as shown. Do not pick your hips up off the floor/treatment table when trying to perform this exercise. When you achieve this position EXHALE before returning on your stomach. An EXHALE will cause your hips to sag taking even more pressure off your back/discs. As before perform 12-15 repetitions. If your back pain has reduced but did not completely disappear feel free to do more. Again, STOP if the pain gets worse.
Hope this helps for some of you. I perform the exercise on my stomach weekly as I get left-sided low back pain myself. It is a good way to reinforce extension in our spine even if you are PAIN FREE due to the simple fact that we are usually in a FLEXED position.
Please remember these are simple tips and all exercises are to be performed at your discretion. it is always advised to see your MD or physical therapist if you have SEVERE pain before attempting anything.
For most of us, long days spent at the computer or sitting in front of the desk will cause pain at the base of our neck. Wonder why? Well remember one of my earlier posts about spending most of the day in flexion… well guess what? It’s happening again at the cervical spine (neck) when we spend prolonged periods on the computer, reading a book, knitting, cooking, etc. I always recommend to my patients to stop what you’re doing every 30-60 minutes and perform 12-15 chin tucks to help relieve postural neck pain caused by the activities I have listed above. Here’s what a chin tuck looks like
Confused on how to perform a chin tuck? It’s not looking up or down as you can tell by the picture.. just think of it as one of these 3 things:
Think of an ugly man trying to kiss you – what would you do?Think of a pie being thrown at your face – what would you do? Give yourself a double chin – what would you do?
You most likely have figured out the motion with those examples. Those are common cues I give my patients who tend to perform the exercise incorrectly.
Chin tucks simply put your spine in mid-range extension taking pressure off your discs and ligaments from being spent in flexion for a prolonged time. If you continue to have some tension along your neck here are two stretching that you can perform to help alleviate general neck pain. These stretches are for two muscles that generally become shortened when sitting with bad posture.
Upper Trapezius Stretch
The instruction for this stretch is to bring your ear to your shoulder. In this picture I am stretching the left side of my neck. If you are unable or do not want to place your other arm behind your back you can put your left hand under your left leg if you are sitting down to feel the stretch even more.
Levator Scapula Stretch
As you can see in this photo the only difference is the rotation of the head towards the arm pit. My simple instruction to any patient is to pretend you’re going to sniff your arm pit. I know, pretty corny. As with the picture above, this is stretching the left side of the neck and if you decide you can take your left hand and place it under your left leg if you are sitting down to further feel the stretch.
So go ahead, give them a try and let me know what you think!
All exercises are to be performed at your discretion. If you are having severe pain it is always best to get thoroughly evaluated by a doctor or physical therapist.