Dealing with lower back pain? Try these exercises

Lower back pain can be a real nuisance, interfering with your daily life and making it difficult to fall asleep at night. If you’re suffering from back pain, you’re not alone; This type of pain is incredibly common, especially as we age. Though it may be common, that doesn’t make it any less serious. Thankfully, there are techniques you can use to alleviate your pain at home. Here are a few stretches, home remedies, and lifestyle changes you can use to ease discomfort.

Woman stretching her back
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Stretch it out

Below are the best exercises we recommend completing every day to relieve that frustrating lower back pain.

Knee-to-chest

First, lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent. Lift your right leg and interlace your fingers around your lower thigh, then gently pull your right knee toward your chest until you feel a stretch in your lower back. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds, then release your leg back to the starting position. Repeat the process with your left leg, and complete three sets on each side.

Trunk rotation

To begin, lie on your back and raise your legs, so they form a 90-degree angle with your shins parallel to the floor. Extend your arms out to the side with your palms facing down. Keeping your knees together, roll them to the right side, and hold for 15 to 20 seconds before returning to the starting position. Repeat these movements on the left side, and be sure to stretch each side 5 to 10 times.

Forward bend

Start sitting on the floor with your legs extended straight in front of you. Keeping your back straight, bend at the waist and lean forward towards your feet. Reach your hands to your toes for a deeper stretch, and be aware that you may feel some tension in the back of your legs and your lower back. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds where you feel tension but no pain. Rest for 30 seconds and repeat the stretch three times.

Change your diet

Some studies suggest that eating an alkaline diet can improve lower back pain. This diet involves eating less acidic foods, as foods grown in acidic soil contain less potassium, calcium, and magnesium, limiting the nutrients that promote bone regeneration.

Certain herbal supplements may also provide lower back pain relief, and devil’s claw and willow bark are popular natural remedies that may alleviate your discomfort. Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any herbal medicine, as they can interact with some medications and result in negative side effects.

Simply engaging in a healthier diet and exercise routine can reduce your lower backache. Being overweight or having weak back muscles can put extra stress on your spine, resulting in pain. By watching your weight, exercising, and eating balanced meals, you can reduce your discomfort and prevent it from returning.

Adjust your sleeping position

If your back pain prevents you from sleeping through the night, consider changing your sleeping positions as some positions can contribute to your back pain. Lay on your back with a pillow under your feet for the best results, since sleeping on your stomach can put extra pressure on your spine. If this is the only way you can sleep comfortably, try placing a pillow under your lower abdomen and pelvis while you sleep on your stomach.  For side sleepers, consider placing a pillow between your knees to help your muscles relax.

Improve your posture

Prevent pain from returning by improving your posture. Stand up straight with your shoulders down and back. When sitting at your desk, make sure your feet are flat on the floor, and your back is straight with the computer monitor at eye level. Extended periods of slouching puts too much stress on the spine.

Massage your muscles

For quick relief, gently massage your sore and tense muscles to relieve tension, reduce pain, and increase back functionality. Make sure to use this treatment in conjunction with other home remedies for the best results, and ask your partner or a close friend to help massage the points on your back you can’t reach yourself. Alternatively, you can massage it on your own by using a foam roller or tennis ball.

Take an Epsom salt bath

Soaking for just 20 minutes in a warm Epsom salt bath can relieve your muscle soreness. Fill your bathtub with warm water before adding one to two cups of salt to the water. Keep in mind that water that’s too hot can cause muscle swelling, and water that’s too cold can result in cramps.

Quit smoking

Smoking is a significant danger to your circulatory and respiratory systems, but did you know that it may also contribute to your back pain? Recent studies found that smokers are more likely to experience back pain than people who don’t smoke, since smoking can increase your risk of developing bone issues including osteoporosis of the spine. This, in turn, can cause compression fractures in the spine.

Back pain is inconvenient and agonizing, whether you experience it once a year or once a week. With these stretches and home remedies, you can reduce your pain and hopefully prevent it from coming back.

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