It’s estimated that 80% of the human population will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Back pain can often be an indicator of poor spine health and if left untreated can lead to more serious back and posture issues.
Spine-health might not be at the top of your to-do list, but taking care of your back and spine is crucial for maintaining pain-free mobility as you get older. Let’s take a look at 5 simple exercises for your back that you can perform easily in the comfort of your own home.
1. Chin-to-Chest Stretch
The first exercise is a stretch for your upper spine that can help to alleviate neck strain. It’s a great stretch for people who spend a lot of time working on a computer.
To perform this stretch start in a standing or sitting position and maintain a neutral spine. Then gently tilt your head forward so that your chin touches your chest. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds. You can deepen this stretch by placing both your hands on the back of your head and applying pressure.
2. Ear-to-Shoulder Stretch
You can also perform this stretch while sitting or standing. Maintain a neutral spine and bend your neck to the side as if you are trying to bring your ear to your shoulder. Don’t try and force this stretch too far at first. Hold it so you can feel a gentle stretch for 15-30 seconds.
Similar to the chin-to-chest stretch, you can deepen this stretch by using your hands to pull your head further over, but you should work towards this.
2. Back Flexion Exercise
Lay down on your back and pull both of your knees up to your chest as if you were performing the fetal position. Then push your head forward until you can feel a stretch. This stretches out both the lower back and your upper spine and neck.
You can deepen this stretch by using your arms to pull your knees tighter to your chest. Hold this stretch for 15-30 seconds.
The bridge is a great way to strengthen the muscles that support your lower spine. To perform a bridge lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Then engage your back and glute muscles to lift your hips off the floor. Keep your feet in place and your shoulders on the floor. Hold this at the top position for 5 seconds.
The plank is a great way to build all the muscles that are responsible for stabilizing the spine. To perform a plank get in a push-up position with your forearms and toes touching the floor. Keep your spine straight and engage the muscles keeping you straight. Focus on tightening the muscles from your legs through to your neck and shoulders.
To start with try holding this position for 10 seconds. The aim is to build up to being able to hold a plank for 2 minutes. If you experience any discomfort when performing the plank or any of these exercises then be sure to consult a physical therapist such as IPM Healthcare for further advice.
Better Spine Health Starts Now
Looking after your spine health is paramount for your overall health. Putting some time aside to perform these 5 exercises for your back regularly will help you to develop and maintain spine health. Be sure to consult with your physician if you experience any regular spinal discomfort.
Be sure to check out our other articles for more advice on healthy living.