Watch it out: Six exercises to fix backache

  • Soumya Vajpayee, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Aug 12, 2014 14:42 IST

You could be a student, a homemaker or a working professional; back pain, and pain in your spine and neck could be affecting you all. In fact, the World Health Organisation’s study on global ageing and adult health, conducted in India between 2011-13, suggests that 20.2% males and females in India suffer back pain.

Moreover, a whopping 33% of the global population is affected by pain in their lower back at any given time.

The causes could be plenty — bad posture, weight problems, lack of regular exercise leading to poor muscle tone, or sports and gym-related injuries. People with backaches also dread the monsoon, believing that their ache aggravates in humid weather conditions.

Also read: How yoga can reduce chronic back pain

Although there’s no scientific link to prove this, Dr Gautam Shetty, orthopaedic surgeon, Qi Spine Clinic, Churchgate, says, “Weather doesn’t affect pain directly; it changes the perception in people, and it’s their anxiety that leads them to believe that their pain has increased. However, lack of physical activity and reduced exposure to sunlight in the rainy season may lead to fall in vitamin D levels and can cause back pain. Lack of exercise may also aggravate stiffness in joints, especially the back, in patients with disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.”

Exercise 1: To strengthen the abdomen, back and shoulders
* Lie on the tummy with elbows under the shoulder.
* Raise the body off the bed, making your body a plank with the weight on your forearms and feet.
* Hold for 30-40 seconds. Repeat the same two-three times.

Exercise 2: To strengthen the abdomen, back and shoulders
* Lie on one side with your elbow under the shoulder and weight on the forearm.
* Raise the hip off the bed to get the body in a plank position, with the weight on your forearm and feet.
* Hold for 30-40 seconds and repeat the exercise.

Exercise 3: To strengthen the lower abdominal muscles
1. Lie on the back.
2. Lift both legs up and do cycling movements.
3. Do two sets with 10 reps.

Exercise 4: Strengthening the gluteus maximus
* Lie with the upper body supported on the bed.
* Keep the knee of the supported leg slightly bent.
* Bend the other leg to 90 degrees.
* Float the bent leg up as far as the spine can be maintained in a straight posture.
* Ensure the leg is raised in a straight posture.
* Hold for 10 counts, doing 10 reps.

Exercise 5: To strengthen abdominal oblique muscles

* Lie on the back with knees bent.

* Join your palms in the front.

* Pull yourself up to any one side.

* Do two sets with 10 reps.

Exercise 6: Strengthening the gluteus medius

* Maintain neutral spine in all three planes. Place the leg slightly back and toes pointing up.

* Lift the leg up sideways.

* Perform two sets, with 10 reps each.

Also read: Paracetamol no better than placebo in low-back pain

Keep in mind
Exercise is a must, as inactivity enhances the pain.
Be careful when you lift heavy weights.
Avoid standing for long hours.
Avoid a stressful work environment.
Cold-stretches (stretching a muscle without proper warm up) are very harmful.

— With inputs from Dr Garima Anandani, spine specialist at Qi Spine Clinic and Dr Abhay Nene, consultant orthopaedic and spine surgeon, Hinduja Healthcare Surgical

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