Backache

Updated 27 June 2014

Exercises to alleviate back pain

If you feel twinges of back pain at the end of the day, try these exercises to alleviate them.

Whether you sit all day, drive all day or stand all day, you’re likely to end up with back pain at some stage. If you feel twinges of back pain at the end of the day, try these exercises to alleviate them.

Whether they belong to truck drivers, chefs, call centre workers or electricians, backs take enormous punishment. A staggering number of people suffer from ‘bad backs’; millions end up spending time off the job.

Here are a few ways to help your back from becoming a source of sick leave:

  • Learn proper lifting techniques and use them: Your leg muscles are around ten times stronger than your arms, so bend your knees when picking things up. Remember that many people put their backs out while doing ostensibly harmless things like making up a bed or changing a nappy. The rule is, straight back, bent knees;
  • If you drive long distances you should stop every two hours and stretch your legs. Do the same if you work in an office. If you stand all day, wriggle your toes while standing and stand on tiptoe occasionally;
  • Tilt that pelvis: Lie on your back and with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Clench your stomach muscles and buttocks, hold that position for seconds and release it slowly. Repeat the sequence ten times;
  • Stretch your hamstring: Lie on your back with one leg straight and the other bent, but with the foot flat on the floor. Now try to straighten you leg while keeping your back flat against the floor. Hold that position for ten seconds and release it slowly. Repeat the sequence ten times;
  • Lift your leg: Lie on your back with one leg straight and the other bent. Slowly lift the straightened leg as far as you can. . Hold that position for ten seconds and release it slowly. Repeat the sequence ten times;

If you feel any pain while doing these exercises you should stop and see your doctor.

(William Smook for Health24, updated February 2010)

 

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Susan qualified as a Physiotherapist in 1990, and completed her master’s degree in Physiotherapy in 2013 at the University of Pretoria. She has a special interest in human biomechanics, as well as the interaction between domestic and work-related ergonomics. Read more here.

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