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Three stretches to relieve back pain

Riddle Hospital March 3, 2014 General Wellness

More than half of Americans will experience back pain during their lifetime. It doesn’t take anything too serious to prompt back pain. Daily activities like vacuuming, bending down to pick up the laundry, or reaching for the top shelf can all contribute to acute back pain.

Up until now, you’ve probably treated back pain and soreness with pain relievers and a night relaxing on the couch. But sitting down isn’t the only answer to back pain. There are simple stretches and exercises you can do to help relieve the mild back pain that occurs as a result of your daily routine.

“Many of us have been spending a substantial more time at home over the last year or so,” says Michael Murray, MD, orthopaedic spine surgeon at Main Line Health. “When you’re in for a long day at home, outdoors or in the office, take 10 to 15 minutes at the beginning and end of the day to perform some stretches to help alleviate or lessen your back pain.”

Dr. Murray also suggests yoga as a great way to keep your back strengthened and stretched. With a busy work schedule there isn’t always time to introduce a comprehensive exercise plan like yoga into one’s daily activities. Therefore, Dr. Murray recommends these three stretches that can be done at home or in the office:

  • Placing your hands on the desk, kick your hips back into the chair, and lower your chest towards the ground. This one is especially for those who will be at their desks all day, but anyone can take a seat and try it.
  • Placing your foot on a sturdy box or chair, and then lean forward from your hips until you feel a stretch in your hamstring.
  • Lying on the ground on your back and bring both knees to your chest. If needed, you can wrap your arms around your legs to hold them there.

With each of these stretching exercises, remember to inhale and exhale. Hold each stretch for 15-60 seconds. By performing this routine regularly, you should be able to bid back pain goodbye.

Aches and pains are bound to happen, but dealing with it more than once or twice a week could be a sign of something more. If you suspect you may be experiencing a more permanent, chronic back pain, make an appointment with your physician.

Main Line Health serves patients at hospitals and health centers throughout the western suburbs of Philadelphia. To schedule an appointment with a specialist at Main Line Health, call 1.866.CALL.MLH (225.5654) or use our secure online appointment request form.