If you have been suffering from chronic pain in your back, it is essential that you make an appointment with a spine specialist who can diagnose your problem and put you on the road to recovery.
But if your back pain is only an intermittent thing that resolves itself quickly, there’s a good chance that you can benefit from adding some back-strengthening exercises to your fitness regimen.
Lower back pain is something that strikes eight in ten Americans, and it is the 2nd leading cause of disability and work loss in the United States. In most cases, back pain stems from an injury that happens as a result of poor mechanics in our back, and that is often a direct result of weakness or tightness in the muscles of the back.
By taking the time to stretch and strengthen all of the muscles that support the spine, you can go a long way to protect yourself from pain and injury. You’ll also improve your posture and your balance along the way!
Knowing the right exercises for strengthening the back is not as clear cut as other fitness goals: the spine runs from the bottom of our skull down to our tailbone, and there are a lot of muscles in between. The muscles that run alongside the spine, known as the erector spinae, help other muscles to hold our body upright, while better known muscles like the quads, hamstrings and abdominal muscles help to maintain stability and add strength.
It is important to do a variety of movements to make sure that all muscle groups are being addressed. Some of the best exercises for strengthening your back include:
- The Deadlift – Begin in a standing position with feet hip-distance apart, holding dumbbells in both hands. Bending your knees slightly and bowing forward, bring the dumbbells to the outside of your shins, keeping your heels planted and your back flat. Then return to your original position. Repeat ten times. Rest, then repeat the set two more times.
- The Bent Row – Remaining in the same starting position as for the deadlift and still holding dumbbells, bend your knees and bow forward again, but this time let your arms hang down toward the ground. Now bend your elbows and bring the dumbbells back towards your ribs, pulling your shoulder blades together. Straighten your arms and return to the original position. Repeat ten times. Rest, then repeat the set two more times.
- The Plank – Whether performed on your forearms your hands in push-up position, holding a plank for one minute, then repeating twice, is one of the best exercises for strengthening your core.
- The Bird Dog – Starting in a plank position on your hands, extend your right arm in front of you and your left leg behind you at the same time, then switch to your left arm and right leg. Repeat alternating sides for one minute. Rest, then repeat the set two more times.
Keeping your back strong and healthy is the best way to avoid lower back pain and injury. If you are experiencing discomfort, make an appointment with our spine specialty practice today to get an accurate diagnosis and learn about the treatment option that is best for you.