How Healthy is Your Spine?

 

4 Exercises to Prevent Back Problems

 

Last summer, my back pain reappeared with a vengeance. I was pinned to the couch for weeks and visited doctors, physical therapists, and chiropractors for help. At first, it was tough to visualize the problem with my spine. Then, one helpful chiropractor put it in perspective.

He pulled out a 3D model of the spine and showed me what was actually going on. He explained the blood flow to my disks, how the spine gets nutrients, and what I could do to expedite the healing process.

I’m on the mend, but I don’t want you to end up in a similar position! To keep your spine safe in 2021, practice these four chiropractor-approved exercises that I’ve learned along the way.
 

1. The Knee-to-Chest Hamstring Stretch

Did you know that tight hamstrings can be a source of back pain? To keep them limber, lay on your back with one foot on the ground and your knee bent. Then, bring your other knee to your chest, wrap your arms around it, and squeeze to stretch your hamstring. Repeat the stretch on both sides of your body.
 

2. The Standing Back Arch

For this stretch, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and put your palms on your lower back. Then, bend your upper body backward and hold that pose for five seconds, taking deep breaths. Return to your starting position and repeat.
 

3. The Back Extension

This position is also called the Superman stretch! To do it, lay on your stomach with your arms in front of you and lift your chest and feet off the ground. You can slip a rolled up towel or pillow under your stomach for an easier version. Stretching this way extends and strengthens your spine.
 

4. The Seated Figure-4 Stretch

This easy stretch can be done from your office chair, but it does a great job working the muscles in your hips to prevent lower back pain. To try it, sit up in your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Then, raise one leg, bending the knee and crossing your ankle over the knee of your other leg to form a figure-4 shape. Push down gently on your raised knee to stretch your hip.
 

-Randy Sklar

 

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