Exercises for Lower Back Pain

Referring back to the Telegraph's list of things that confirm that you are old, aching backs were one of the things I said yes too.

It happens not irregularly, unfortunately, but at least this time, unlike last year, it hasn't happened on the day before we due to leave on our summer holidays!

I have been researching ways to strengthen my back and my core, in order to try and prevent further relapses.

I am not very good at drawing, but I promise to try to illustrate the positions once I can manage something a little better than stick-figures!! That will have to be a later update though, for now, I will have to describe them to you;

1. Lying on your back, arms outstretched, feet flat on the floor (knee's up) and approximately shoulder-width apart. Try for a pilates-style 'neutral' position so that your back is neither arched up nor flat against the floor. Twist your knees to the floor and twist your head to face the opposite direction. Take deep breaths & try to keep your tummy pulled into your spine and hold the position for a count of 10. Return to the starting position and then repeat in the opposite direction.

2. On all fours - hands and knees approximately shoulder-width apart and with back neither arched nor dipped, pull your tummy to your spine & carefully stretch your left hand forwards and your right leg backwards. Hold for a count of 10 whilst breathing deeply & then repeat with the opposite side. Once you begin to find this easy, try to bring your arm and leg back to the starting position without placing them on the floor, and then stretch them out again... try for 12 repetitions on either side.

3. Again, starting on your hands and knee's - both approximately shoulder-width apart, back neither arched nor dipped & tummy pulled in to spine (you'll get bored of me telling you this), then gently pull your bottom back to sit on your heels, without moving your hands (this is quite good for stretching the back out & I find it helps greatly when my back is actually aching).

4. Start by lying on your front with your hands flat on the floor near your shoulders, elbows flat along the floor. Gently push yourself up leaving your forearms braced on the floor and gently arch your back, as always, try to keep your tummy tucked into your spine as much as is possible and breathe deeply!

5. Try to touch the floor; start by standing up straight and tall. Imagine that your head is being pulled towards the ceiling, but try to keep your shoulders low and away from your ears. Stand with your feet roughly shoulder-width apart (just for a change) and roll down gradually - keeping, as always, your tummy pulled in towards your spine. Try to stay relaxed, if at first you find that you can't touch the floor first try, try not to touch the floor next to your feet, try for further away or put a block or stepping stool down to reach to. Gradually, walk your hands off the step-stool and towards your feet. This is probably not a wise one to try whilst your back is aching, but it is a good one to use after the aching has subsided as it stregnthens the back and helps to prevent relapse!

6. Finally; and I think the easiest. Try to keep walking. Believe me, when I tell you, that I know it can be very hard to walk when your back feels like it is in spasm... but it is totally worth the effort. The more you keep it moving, the easier it will become and the faster it will improve. Just don't overdo it in case you make it worse!

So there you go! The Autumn Voices hints and tips for those with a bad back! Although, I think the best advice that I can give you, is what my husband told me... never, ever, clean the bathroom & the fishtank the day before you are due to go on your main family summer holiday!


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