Seven Workouts to Relieve That Nagging Back and Neck Pain
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With the Industrial Revolution came desk jobs, one of the greatest causes of low back and neck pain and strain for Americans today. People who have jobs requiring them to sit inside are not using their backs the way they were intended to be used. When we sit all day, our spine becomes compressed in a flex position and weakens. Compression from sitting all day can lead to low back and neck and shoulder pain.
The best form of back pain relief is back a workout designed to decompress, strengthen and properly align the spine. Cooper Fitness Center Dallas Professional Fitness Trainer Christian Mazur shares the best workouts to strengthen your back and provide relief.
These exercises should be completed at least once a day and ideally once in the morning and once before bed at night.
Modified Cobra - Start on your stomach with your hips pressed to the floor. Place your elbows directly under your shoulders. Press your hips and elbows to the floor, lifting your head up and back, looking toward the ceiling. You should feel a stretch from the ribcage to the waist. Hold for two belly breaths. Repeat five times. (“Belly breathing” is important because it forces the neck and shoulders to relax. As you inhale, allow your stomach to extend out with each breath. When you exhale, allow your stomach compresses in, letting the air out.)
Cobra - For a greater stretch without stressing the neck and shoulders, place hands on the floor directly under shoulders, extending elbows until they are straight, keeping your hips against the floor. Hold for two belly breaths. Repeat five times.
Alternating Superman/Swimmer - Lie on your stomach, with arms outstretched above head. Keep your elbows locked and with your legs straight behind you, raise your right arm (keeping elbow straight) from the shoulder, while raising your left leg (straight) at hip. As you raise them up, exhale. Lower them down and switch sides. Complete 10-15 reps on each side.
Low Back Exercises
Straight Leg Bridge - Lie on your back, and place your legs on top of an exercise ball or chair, with your palms down on the ground. Exhale to initiate lifting of hips off the ground. With your feet in air and palms on ground, align your ankles, hips and shoulders. Use your feet and hands to lift your body into a straight line from ankles, through hips to shoulders. Exhale and lift hips to highest position without straining back, pause for one second. Come back down. For a greater challenge, as you come back down, hover your hips one inch off ground. Complete 15 to 20 reps.
Same Side Knee Drops - Lie on your back with your arms fully extended to the sides. Bend your knees, putting your feet flat on the floor. Spread your feet hip width apart. Maintaining that position, allow both knees to fall the same direction, without shifting the feet. (Feet can roll over, but don’t move them together.) You should feel a stretch through your hips, thigh and stomach. Let your knees fall back and forth slowly, taking deep belly breaths. Complete eight knee drops per side.
Shoulder and Neck Exercises
Upper Back/Neck and Shoulders/Chest - Loop a resistance band around something stable and immovable (such as a post). Hold the ends of the band in each hand. Step back to the desired tension. Keeping your neck and shoulders relaxed; pull your hands back toward your body, keeping your elbows close to the body, squeezing your shoulders together. Release, by spreading your shoulders and allowing your hands to stretch away from your body. Repeat 10 to 15 times. This exercise will take tension out of neck and shoulders, working opposing muscles.
Cervical Spine/Neck - Lie on your stomach on your bed, aligning your shoulders with the edge of the bed, allowing your head to hang off the edge of the bed. Pull your head back until it is aligned with your spine. As you pull the head back, tuck chin under, lengthening the muscles in the back of your neck. By doing this, you’ll strengthen muscles that hold your head in the proper position. Repeat 15 times.
The back is one primary component of the body’s core. For a strong core, you must strengthen both your abdominal muscles as well as your back muscles. By stretching out the abdominal area of the body, which is usually shortened in seated position, the spine has more mobility and there is less compression on the spinal discs. Additionally, when we sit all day long, we are shortening the muscles on the back of neck, while the muscles under throat area are lengthened. By completing these exercises you can relieve tension and pain in your back and neck that occurs when you sit for long periods of time.
For more information about Cooper Fitness Center, click here or call 972.233.4832.
Article provided by Cooper Aerobics Marketing and Communications.