About 3.7 million Australians (or 16 percent of the population) suffer from back problems, according to the 2014-15 National Health Survey. It is also estimated that 70 to 90 percent of people will suffer from lower back pain at some point in their lives. So, how can regular physical activity help with back pain? Strengthening your back muscles could reduce the risk of less pain and dysfunction.
How do you need you’re in serious need of help or it just might be that you cramped a muscle from lying in an odd position the whole night in bed? Back problems can affect your neck, upper back and lower back. Common back problems include muscle spasms, muscle strain, nerve injury and degeneration of the spine. Serious back problems involve compression fractures, spinal stenosis, disc herniation, cancer, infection, spondylolisthesis and neurological disorders. These problems are caused by a number of factors, such as age, physical fitness, weight, genetics, smoking habits and forms of exercise.
The exercises listed here should target and strengthen muscles that support the spine. Most of them require no equipment, while others may require dumbbells or resistance bands.
Strengthen your gluteus maximus (butt) with this exercise. The gluteus maximus is the large muscle of the buttocks and one of the strongest muscles in the body. It’s responsible for hip movements and crucial in stabilising hip joints. Like on the ground your feet flat on the floor and hip-width apart. Place your hands by your sides. Press your feet onto the floor and slowly lift your buttocks off the ground and then raise your shoulders from the floor. Be sure your body is in one straight line. Lower yourself back down and rest for 1 minute. Do 3 sets of 15 reps each.
Lying Lateral Leg Raises
Improve your mobility and balance by strengthening your hip abductor muscles. Lie on the ground on one side. Keep the lower leg slightly bent on the ground. Tighten your core then raise the top leg without moving the rest of your body. Hold this for 2 seconds, then lower the leg back down. Do 3 sets of 10 reps each for both legs.
Plank and variations
Working on your core is just as important as working on your back muscles to ensure you have a strong back. This is because strong abdominal muscles help maintain proper hip alignment. Lie on the floor with your forearms and feet in contact with the floor. Lift your body of the floor maintaining a straight line from the back of your head to your heels. Hold this position for up to 60 seconds whilst continuing to breath. Make sure you maintain your neck in line with your spine and don’t allow your hips to ‘drop’. As a variation, you can perform this exercise on your hands and feet or alternate between the 2 options.
You don’t need a lat pulldown machine to perform this exercise. You can simply get a resistance band. This exercises is great for the back and the arms. Stand or sit down and hold the band in both hands and raise it above your head. Your hands should be slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Mind that you’re sitting straight and engaging your core. While keeping your left hand stable, pull down your right elbow down to your ribcage. Your lats should be contracting. Do 1 to 3 sets of 10 to 16 reps for each side.
Challenge your lower back with this exercise, just make sure you’re not experiencing any back pain when performing this. Take two medium-heavy weights. Bend forward at the waist whilst maintaining the natural curve of your lower back. Your legs should be slightly bent. While holding the weights. Bend your elbows and pull up the weights until your elbows are level with your torso, mimicking a rowing motion. Mind that your shoulders are relaxed. Lower the weights to the starting position. Do 1 to 3 sets of 10 to 16 reps.