8.28.19
Movement As Medicine: The 7 Best Exercises To Prevent + Alleviate Back Pain

Back pain can be a challenging experience to navigate. At best it makes for an uncomfortable day of cautious movement; at worst it takes us off our feet and leaves us bewildered. Whether you’ve experienced occasional soreness from sitting at a desk all day or you have a more chronic condition, understanding the root causes of back pain can really transform the way you approach the issue. 

We recently learned all about the connection between back pain, energy stagnation and misalignment in other areas of the body from body whisperer, Lauren Roxburghcheck it all out here. According to the pro, most people don’t realize that the underlying triggers often have to do with a lack of structural support, something that can be addressed with the right kinds of exercise. Read more about that below, but first a note on the right professionals for back pain…

Start With A Pro. If your back pain is really bad, I would say getting some professional help is a great way to start. You’re probably going to want to go to a physical therapist. Or, go to someone that does what I do, which is called structural integration. This is a form of Rolfing, which is looking at the human body globally, rather than that one little piece.  Sometimes you only need a few sessions of that and then you can start doing your own version. Become your own body whisperer. Once you have the tune-in and you figure out exactly, “Oh gosh. Okay. So my lower back is hurting because my left arch of my foot is collapsing.” If you know that, then you’re going to know how to manage that. Make the choice to put yourself, make yourself a priority, and actively reduce that pain rather than numb it.

Sometimes you need professional’s help to manage back pain — acupuncture’s a great thing, for example, but when it comes to structural imbalances, it’s really important to have a professional look at you. You can even do a consultation virtually. Go to someone that you really trust, that’s referred to you, and then get it looked at and then you’ll have all these resources. That’s why I created all of my tools,  books, and videos. Because people now are healing themselves, which is so phenomenal.

While beginning the process of decoding and relieving back pain might require some guidance from a pro, focusing on a few specific exercises for back pain like the ones below can help build stability, and strength for relief now and later down the line. Here’s what Lauren recommends…

Roll Out Your Feet + Legs. There’s often a direct connection between pack pain and the feet. I love to use an infinity roller to massage tension out of the feet. That’s a really great tool for rebalancing all three of the arches of the feet. When you’re rolling out your feet, keep going up towards your shins. It seems weird, but the shins can have a huge impact on the lower back, so rolling the shins out is phenomenal.

Support Your Sides. Building three-dimensional core strength is really helpful for lower back stuff, but you want to make sure you’re not just gripping the pelvic floor so tight the whole time. Work on strengthening the sideline of the body by doing side plants. It’s also helpful to do lateral movements, side-to-side, to really gett the hips to extension, stretching the inner thighs to allow the sides of your core to do the real work.

Lengthen The Pelvic Floor. We want to be able to create ‘eccentric’ lengths in the pelvic floor. What does that mean? Picture your bicep muscle if you are going to fully extend your arm. That’s called eccentric length. When you fully bend and bring your knuckles back, like you were doing a bicep curl, that’s called concentric. So, you have concentric, which is squeezing the muscle very tight. Then you have eccentric which is lengthening — and we all want that. We need that length because the length is what decompresses the joints and that’s what keeps us vital, and simple, and flexible. It looks amazing, too. It’s aesthetically pleasing but it’s also very functional to have the ability to do both.

Deep Squats. Again, with the pelvic floor, we want to be able to fully eccentrically elongate the pelvic floor. The way you do that is by doing deep squats where you’re coming all the way down. Picture, Japan — like, in Okinawa, people live longest in the world and they’re all like in the garden until they’re like 120; squatting down in the earth. That’s actually what we should be doing and we’re not, we just don’t ever get down there. We really should because it’s really good for our hips, pelvic floor, and our gut.

Do The Twist. Lateral movement is really good for back pain, Think of the body three-dimensionally going upside down, twisting. Twisting is so amazing for the body. Doing side bends, and just working the body in all the different planes of movement is where the magic happens.

Go Upside Down. I love inversions. I think they are phenomenal. And I’m not talking about doing a crazy inversion as they do in yoga. My version of an inversion is to put the big foam roller under your lower back, bring your knees up and then rock your knees side to side, massaging the sacrum and lower back. That’s a phenomenal thing to do for lower back stuff. When you’re inverted, you’re decompressing the joints and the vertebrae of your spine, or the disks, and then you’re allowing your body to kind of rebalance where the musculature structure should hold you up and also kind of lift the organs up as well. You allow your body to take the pressure that it has had on it all day from sitting too much.

The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. 
All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programs. 

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Leave A Comment

  1. How exactly do you”lift” your organs?

    Cynthia Smith | 08.29.2019 | Reply
  2. Nice article but left out one of the other major alternatives for spinal care; chiropractic. PT and rolfing are great but in conjunction a good chiropractor, they can help you on your path to self healing.

    Morgan | 09.05.2019 | Reply
  3. I’m contemplating that, but I have severe arthritis of my spine and one fracture…I’m scared

    Kathy | 09.07.2019 | Reply


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