Exercise can help prevent low-back pain

Regular exercise strengthens muscles that help stabilize your lower back and prevent common occasional back pain. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of exercise per week. Almost any regular exercise such as walking, jogging or swimming will greatly enhance your chances of maintaining a pain-free back. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons also recommends some back-specific exercises that target the back and abdominal muscles needed to maintain a healthy spine.

Note: If you are currently experiencing back pain, consult your doctor before beginning any back pain exercise program. Not all back pain results from weak muscles. If you are NOT experiencing pain, Rick Jusko, PT, OCS, owner/director of Seattle Hill Physical Therapy says the exercises below can help you keep it that way.

Abdominal contractions

• Lie on your back with knees bent and hands on your stomach below ribs

• Tighten abdominal muscles to squeeze ribs down

• Be sure not to hold your breath

• Hold for 5 seconds

• Relax

• Repeat 10 times

Knee to chest stretch.

This stretch can help strengthen muscles that help stabilize the spine. (click of image to view YouTube video)

Wall Squats

• Stand with your back against wall

• Walk feet 12 inches in front of body

• Keep abdominal muscles tight while slowly bending both knees 45 degrees

• Hold 5 seconds

• Slowly return to upright position

• Repeat 10 times

Knee to chest stretch

• Lie on your back with both knees bent

• Hold the thigh behind your knee and bring one knee up to chest

• Hold 20 seconds

• Relax

• Repeat 5 times on each side

SOURCE: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

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