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8 Simple Range of Motion Exercises to Help Back Pain

Back pain is often misattributed to injuries or medical conditions. Do you have a pinched nerve? Is that old high school football injury back to torment you once more? Possibly. But more likely, your back pain comes from poor range of motion and general stiffness.

So before blaming that poor tee shot on an injury (which may or may not exist), try a few range-of-motion exercises to get you back in the swing.

Relieve Back Pain and Range of Motion With These Exercises

These should take no longer than 15 minutes a day — fitting even the busiest of schedules. 

1. The Bridge

Lie on your back with your knees bent upward. Slowly lift your hips toward the ceiling, tightening your glutes and abdominals. Keep your head and shoulders relaxed on the ground. Think like a drawbridge, lifting your buttocks to allow a small ship to float underneath. Return to your relaxed starting position and repeat.

(Pain relief guide: Lower back.)

2. Knee-to-Chest

Remain flat on your back with your knees bent upward. Grab one knee with your hands and pull your leg toward your chest. Tighten your abs and press your back into the floor. Repeat, alternating legs and then with both legs.

(Pain relief guide: Lower and middle back.)

3. Lumbar Rotation

Remain relaxed on your back, knees again bent toward the ceiling. Keeping your back and shoulders flat on the floor, tilt your legs toward one side, alternating to the other. Push your legs under their own weight as close to the ground as possible.

(Pain relief guide: Lower back and obliques.)

4. Straight Leg Raise

Remain flat on your back with your legs stretched out straight ahead. Lift one leg straight into the air as far as possible, alternate and repeat with the other. To keep your legs straight, flex your quadriceps (front, upper leg muscle) or use an aid like a belt or resistance band wrapped comfortably around your foot. As a supplement, you may also roll over and do straight leg raises from both side positions and from your stomach.

(Pain relief guide: Lower back and hips.)

5. Prone Back Extension

Lie flat on your stomach. With your arms bent, as if ready to do a pushup, lift your upper body toward the ceiling. Keep your hips and legs flat on the ground. Think of it like standing and bending over backwards.

(Pain relief guide: Lower and middle back.)    

6. The Angry Cat

Get on your hands and knees and straighten your back, but remain relaxed. Then arch your back toward the ceiling by tightening your abdominals. You’ll look like a cat arching its back and fluffing its fur when threatened.

(Pain relief guide: Upper back.)

7. Seated Shoulder Blade Squeeze

Sit up straight on a comfortable chair or stool with good posture (just as your Grandma may have told you at the dinner table). Pull your shoulders back to squeeze your shoulder blades together. As an added benefit, you’ll also stretch your pectorals.

(Pain relief guide: Upper back.)

8. Seated Trunk Rotation

Remain in a strong seated posture. If possible, cross one leg over the other and turn your torso in the opposite direction, and then alternate directions. Use your hands on the seat, if necessary, to pull your torso for an added stretch.

(Pain relief guide: Lower, middle back and obliques.)

Exercise Safely to Improve Range of Motion and Relieve Back Pain

Each person has their own exercise and pain tolerance. Do only as many repetitions as you can painlessly tolerate. Over-exertion may cause further pain or injury. If you can hold a stretch for 30 seconds, great. Five seconds? That’s great, too. Using a padded mat will save from sore backs and other joints later. When paired with an active lifestyle, these range-of-motion exercises may reduce back pain and improve physical performance.

Where exercise and stretching aren’t enough, a great chiropractor in Parrish, FL may help prevent more costly and painful medical interventions later. Schedule an appointment at our new location or call us at (941) 933-1500.