Joint and Back Pain? Four Exercises that Can Help Reduce Suffering
Most back pain is not caused by serious conditions such as arthritis, cancer or fractures, according to the American Chiropractic Association. It’s caused by sports, sudden movements, lifting or repetitive-stress injuries. The same holds true for other types of joint pain. Fortunately, you don’t always have to run off to the doctor to treat most joint pain. Instead, try some of the following exercises.
Lower Back Press
Lie on a hard surface with your knees bent at approximately 90 degrees and both feet flat against the floor. Slowly press your lower back to the floor and hold that position for 30 to 60 seconds, then relax. Perform three to five total sets. Like many back or joint exercises, the lower back press is designed to strengthen muscles surrounding your lower back to better support your spine or injured area.
Knee-to Chest Exercise
While remaining in the same position, raise your right knee up, grab it with both hands and pull it toward your chest, simultaneously straightening your left leg. Hold the movement for five or 10 seconds and then repeat the motion with your other leg. Do five to 10 total sets from each side. Stretch exercises like this help alleviate taut muscles that exacerbate pain. An alternative exercise is to pull both knees to your chest and hold it. Try doing both exercises to loosen up stiff muscles in the lower back.
Upper Back and Trapezius Stretch
Sit in a chair and hold both arms up and out at 90-degree angles. Your upper arms should be even with your shoulders and resemble a football goal post — with your hands up and open. Slowly move your elbows backward and stretch the muscles in your trapezius, neck and upper back. Hold for five seconds, then move your forearms forward and bring them together in front of you. Hold that movement, then return to the starting position. Do five to 10 sets.
Low Impact Exercises
Low impact exercise puts less stress on joints. One way to work multiple joints is swimming. In fact, swimming is one of the best low-impact exercises you can do, according to the Cleveland Clinic. And you don’t have to swim rigorous laps to get the full benefits. Swim at your own pace. Some alternative exercises for joint pain include walking the width of the pool back and forth in the shallow end, sidestepping 10 to 20 times in each direction while facing the wall of the pool and bicycling (with just your legs) in the deep end of the pool. You’ll need to use a noodle float for the latter exercise. Having elite pools in your backyard or apartment complex will facilitate your daily exercise routine.
Try performing these exercises each day. You’ll be amazed at how much they can help. One caveat is to never perform an exercise that increases your pain level. Perform other exercises that give you relief.