Fitness Plans

Steps to Relieve Lower Back Pain with Exercise and Stretching

Maybe you don’t have any painful experiences that ruined your back. Maybe you just have poor posture and a weak core, and your back pain developed over time.

Either way, it can be crippling. Even basic movements like standing up or lying down feel extremely uncomfortable, not to mention working out or lifting something heavy.

The thing is that treating general lower back pain comes down to the same 4 basic steps:

Stretch your hips

When the muscles around your hips are tight, your body often compensates with increased movement, particularly flexion, in the lumbar spine. When you have back pain, this will hurt and prevent any healing.

To address this issue you must stretch your hips and increase the flexibility of several key muscles in the hips. Do these 3 stretches once or twice a day, holding each one for 30 seconds.

Hip flexor stretch Hamstring stretch Piriformis stretch

Strengthen your core

Our core is made up of – for the most part – our abs, butt, and lower back. When any of these areas are weak, the others must pick up the slack. Unfortunately a lot of people have weak abs and butts, often leading to tension in the lower back.

Here are 3 basic exercises to strengthen your abs and butt. Use them every other day.

  • Keep your body in a straight line
  • Consciously focus on bracing your stomach and feeling the tension there
  • Work up to being able to hold this for 60 seconds
  • Then progress by placing a weight on your back (start with 25 lb.)

Side plank

  • Keep your hips high so that your body is in a straight line
  • Tighten the stomach and focus on feeling the tension there (mainly on the bottom half)
  • Work up to being able to hold for 45 seconds on each side

Glute bridge

  • Push your hips high
  • Focus on feeling the tension in your butt
  • Work up to being able to hold this for 60 seconds
  • Then progress by placing a weighted barbell on your hip crease

Improve your posture

The important step to relieving lower back pain takes a conscious effort throughout the day. Poor posture puts strain on your neck, shoulders, and back (upper and lower). Here’s what basic good posture comes down to:

Chest stretch Neck stretch

  • Hold the crown of your head high
  • Pull your shoulders back and prevent them from rolling forward
  • Avoid slouching (usually a combination of the above two points)

Here are a couple of useful stretches to perform to aid you in correcting poor posture. Hold them each for 30 seconds, once per day.

Neck stretch

  • Roll your head forward and to one side
  • Keep your arm on the opposite side down and relaxed
  • Use your hand on the same side to gently pull your head down
  • You should feel the stretch starting up behind your ear and going down through your neck

These 5 yoga poses to keep diabetes under control!

Regular yoga practice can help reduce the level of sugar in the blood, along with lowering blood pressure, keeping your weight in check, reducing the severity of the symptoms and slowing the rate of progression of the disease. It also lessens the possibility of further complications. Stress is one of the major reasons for diabetes. The practice of yoga is also proven to lose weight and slow the process of fat accumulation. 

Surya namaskar and kapal bhati pranayama are some of the most effective yoga poses that help weight loss. Since obesity is a major contributing factor for diabetes, doing yoga to keep your weight in check is the key.

#1 Pranayam

Breathing in deeply and breathing out helps oxygenate your blood, and improves circulation. It also calms the mind and gives your rattled nerves some much needed rest. Here are few more health benefits of pranayama you should be aware of.

Steps to do this pose

  • Sit on a yoga mat on the floor. Fold your legs in either padmasana or sit cross legged.
  • Now straighten your back, keep your chin parallel to the floor, place your hands on your knees with your palms facing upwards and close your eyes.
  • Breath in deep and hold your breath for five counts. Exhale slowly. Repeat this process at least ten times.
  • Once you are done, rub your palms together till they are warm, and place them on your eyes. Now slowly open them and smile.

#2 Setubandhasana

This pose not only helps keep one’s blood pressure in control it also helps to relax the mind, improves digestion, relieves the symptoms of menopause in women and stretches the neck and spine.

Steps to do this pose:

  • Lie flat on your yoga mat, with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Now exhale and push up, and off the floor with your feet.
  • Raise your body up such that your neck and head are flat on the mat and the rest of your body is in the air.
  • You can use your hands to push down for added support.
  • If you are flexible you can even clasp your fingers just below your raised back for that added stretch.
  • The key here is to not overexert or hurt yourself while doing this pose.

Tip: Avoid doing this pose if you have a neck or back injury.

#3 Balasana

Known as the child’s pose this is a great stress buster. It gently stretches the hips, thighs and ankles, calms the mind and helps relieve stress and fatigue. It is also a great remedy for that lower back pain you might have from long hours of sitting.

Steps to do the pose:

  •  Sit on the floor with your weight on your knees. Now flatten your feet onto the floor and sit on your heels.
  • Spread your thighs apart a little. Exhale and bend forward from your waist.
  • Let your stomach rest on your thighs and extend your back. Now stretch out your arms in front of you to elongate the back.
  • You can also rest your forehead on the floor. This may require flexibility, so don’t push your body beyond its limit. You will get better with time.
  • This is a resting pose so you should ideally breath at a normal pace. You can stay in this pose for as long as three minutes or as little as five counts

Tip: If you are pregnant, have a knee injury or have diarrhoea do not do this pose.

#4 Vajrasana

This is a simple pose that is great to relax the mind, improve digestion and massages the kanda.

Steps to do this pose:

  • All you need to do is place a yoga mat on the floor.
  • Kneel on the mat, and let the top surface of your feet touch the mat, such that your heels are pointing upwards.
  • Now gently place your buttocks on your heels. It is important to note that your heels are on either side of your anus.
  • Now place both your palms on your knees, facing downwards. Close your eye and breath in deeply at a steady rate.

#5 Paschimotasana

This is a forward bending pose that helps the blood to flow to the face. Apart from that, it helps the stomach function better, strengthens the thigh muscles and relaxes the back and arms.

Steps to do this pose:

  • Sit with your legs stretched out on the floor. Next hold the big toe of your feet with your index finger and thumb.
  • Now, exhale and slowly bend forward and try to touch your forehead to your knees.
  • The key is that your elbows should touch the floor.Do not breath in.
  • Stay in this position for five counts and inhale as you rise back to the sitting position.

Tips to keep in mind: If you have any type of back pain or complaints with your spine, do not do this pose. Moreover, be easy on yourself, you might not be able to touch your knees with your forehead. Know that if you keep at it you will regain your flexibility and be able to do the pose properly.

Yoga Poses for Stress Relief

Instead of reaching out for antidepressant pills, bring out your yoga mat and try these poses the next time you feel low and depressed and see your mood perk up instantly.

Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

The standing forward bend is the ideal yoga pose to reduce stress. It helps in preserving proper functioning of the nervous system by improving blood supply throughout the body. It also helps in stretching and relaxing the spine and increasing flexibility. It tones the abdominal muscles and organs, and is the perfect yoga pose for weight loss.

Stand with your feet closed and arms resting on the side. Raise your hand above your head while inhaling and bend your torso forward while exhaling. Touch the ground with both your hands, keeping your legs straight. Hold the pose for 30 seconds with normal breathing rhythm. Come back to the starting position. This makes 1 repetition. Repeat it 5 to 10 times.

Down Dog (Adho Mukha Savasana)

The down dog or the downward facing dog pose is an amazing stress-relieving yoga pose that helps in waking up the senses and reduces fatigue and tiredness. It helps in improving bone density and preventing bone diseases such as osteoporosis in women. It rejuvenates the body by improving blood circulation, and this yoga pose can also help in relieving neck pain by reducing stiffness of the upper body. Get down on your knees and hands so that your back remains straight and parallel with the floor. Now, push up your hips by straightening the knees and elbows so that your body forms an inverted V shape, Hold the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute while breathing normally. Return to the starting position exhaling slowly. This makes 1 repetition. Repeat it 5 to 6 times.

Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)

The extended triangle pose is the ideal yoga pose for stress management that helps in full-body stretching. It helps in increasing flexibility, improving digestion and relieves the problems of anxiety, depression and fatigue. It addition, it also increases bone density and reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis. It also helps in toning the oblique muscles and is  effective to reduce fat. Stand straight with your feet approximately 4 feet apart, raise your arms on both sides and keep them parallel to the floor,. Now turn your right foot out by 90 degrees and bend your torso to the right side while exhaling, and hold your right calf with your right hand while pointing your face and left hand towards the ceiling. Hold the position for 30 seconds and come back to the starting position while inhaling. This is 1 repetition. Now repeat the entire movement on the left side. Repeat it 5 to 6 times on both sides.

Cat Pose (Marjaryasana)

The cat pose is the best pose for stress relief that helps in stretching the spine and toning the muscles and organs of the abdomen. It helps in improving overall health by relieving digestive problems and is also one of the most effective yoga poses to relieve PMS. Get on all fours with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Now, exhale and pull your spine inward to form a curve pointing towards the ceiling. Bend your head toward the floor, but make sure your chin should not touch the breast. Hold the pose for 30 seconds and come back to the starting position. In most cases, the cat pose is combined with cow pose which you can do by inhaling and dropping your belly towards the mat while pointing your head upward. These 2 poses are to be repeated 5 to 6 times holding each pose for 30 seconds alternatively.

Extended Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana)

The extended puppy pose is one of the most simple yoga exercises that helps in relaxing the body by stretching the spine and shoulder, thus reducing stiffness. It is useful for correcting body posture, increasing flexibility and rejuvenating the mind and the body. Begin on all fours and slowly lower your chest towards the floor by sliding your arms forward but make sure that your elbows don’t touch the ground. Drop your head so that it touches the floor. Keep your neck relaxed and hold the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute while breathing normally. Now, come back to the starting position while exhaling. This makes one repetition. Repeat it 5 to 6 times.

Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Last but not the least comes the corpse pose or Savasana, the ultimate yoga pose for stress relief. No yoga session is complete without the corpse pose which is the most calming and relaxing of all poses. It transports the body to a state of deep rest and relaxation.

Lie down on the yoga mat with any cushion or pillow for support. Keep your feet slightly apart and relax your knees and toes. Place your arms on the side of your body, your palms open and facing the ceiling. Close your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply to relax your body and mind. Stay in this posture for 10 minutes and end your yoga session in a relaxed and rejuvenated way.

Beat work stress and anxiety effectively with these relaxing and healing yoga poses and enjoy a happy and cheerful life with family and friends.