Back Exercises

The exact cause of back pain cannot be found in 85-90% of patients. Improper use of the spine frequently leads to back and low back pain. It is, therefore, mandatory to maintain proper posture while sitting and standing to avoid back pain. Heavy physical work, working and lifting weight while bending forwards, rotating your body, and working in vibrating circumstances (driving truck or auto-rickshaw) are some of the reasons that lead to back pain. Sciatica or pain from the low back to the leg occurs in 5-10% of patients back pain. The need for stopping due to leg pain and relief of pain on stopping (pseudo-claudication) is a feature of a worn-out intervertebral disc. Obesity, stress, depression, other psychological aberrations, work dissatisfaction or repetitive work, night duties, unemployment, low educational status, etc., are responsible for continuous back pain with inadequate response to standard management.
Rest is not the treatment of back pain. It is necessary to find out factors that lead to or increase back pain and change lifestyle accordingly. Strong willpower and endurance are also essential. One must remain active despite ongoing back pain. A prolonged leave from work is not recommended. Do not use painkillers for prolonged periods. Routine use of a brace for the low back is not recommended as it weakens back muscles after some time.

Exercise is an essential component of the management of back pain. Walking, swimming, cycling are good exercises for chronic back pain. Gardening is good too, but one must be careful while bending forwards. Fomentation is usually beneficial. Consult a physiotherapist for exercises in prolonged and unbearable back pain.
There are no special diet recommendations for back pain. However, weight control is desirable as a big belly pulls and strains your back. Regular aerobic exercise and Yoga help in the prevention of back pain.

Danger signals in Back Pain (Consult your doctor at the earliest)

  1. Recent severe injury
  2. Age: less than 20 years, more than 55 years
  3. Increasing pain, no relief with rest, no relief in any position
  4. Stiffness in the mornings, significant relief with anti-inflammatory pain killers.
  5. Nerve compression – tingling, numbness, and weakness of lower limbs, loss of control over urination
  6. Malaise, weight loss, fever
  7. Use of glucocorticoid (steroids) and anticoagulant (blood-thinners) drugs
  8. History of cancer

Fracture, inflammatory spondylitis, tuberculosis, osteoporosis, and cancer are some of the causes of nonresponsive back pain.

Back Exercises

See general instructions about exercise

Back Exercise 1
Lie on your back (supine position). Bend your knees and keep them at 90 degrees. Keep a bolster (towel role) under your back and press it.
Back Exercise 2
Bring both legs together in a supine position. Lift your right leg while inhaling up to 20-30 degrees. Do not bend your knees. Hold the leg up for 10 seconds and slowly bring down the right. Repeat with left leg.
Back Exercise 3
Fold both the legs at the knee, placing the heels on the ground near the buttocks. Raise your waist and trunk as far as you can. Maintain this steady position for 10 seconds. Then, slowly bring your waist down.
Back Exercise 4
Pavanmuktasan: Bend knees and pull them towards your chest with fingers interlocked and hands around your legs. Raise your head simultaneously and try touching your chin to your knees. Maintain this steady position for 10 seconds. Straighten both legs slowly later on. This posture may initially be tried with a single leg.
Back Exercise 5
Bhujangasan: Lie on your abdomen (prone position). Keep palms at the level of the lowest rib. Lift your head followed by chest and belly up to naval (cobra pose). Use your back muscles to rise; do not forcibly press your hands. Stay in this position for 10 seconds and slowly bring down your body.
Back Exercise 6
Lie down on your abdomen and place your hands alongside without bending at elbows. Raise head, shoulders, chest, and hands. Maintain this position for some time and slowly return to the prone position.
Back Exercise 7
Naukasan: Lie down on your abdomen. Stretch hands above your head. Keep both legs together. Lift both your hands and legs simultaneously (boat posture). Hold on for some time and slowly return to the original position.
Back Exercise 8
Keep both your palms and knees on the ground (cat posture). Then, lift one leg slowly without bending at the knee. Maintain this position for 10 seconds. Then, bring down the leg slowly. Repeat the same exercise with the other leg. One can also raise the opposite hand during this exercise.
Back Exercise 9
Marjarasan:Keep your both palms and knees on the ground (cat posture). While exhaling, bring your head down so that your chin touches your chest, contract your abdominal muscles and lift your back to make it convex. Maintain this position for some time and return to the original position. Now lift your head while inhaling, relax your back and press it down to make it concave. Again, maintain a steady state for some time and return to the original position.

Soorya-namaskar (Sun salutation), and Yoga postures such as bhujangasan, naukasan, pavanmuktasan, pashchimottanasan, vakrasan, ardhachkrasan, and veerasan help in relieving back pain.

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