Simple exercises that could alleviate back pain

According to the American Chiropractic Association, 31 million Americans deal with back pain, and it can be debilitating.

Most people get a back injury from doing movements they don't normally do, sitting at a desk too long, or from lifting something, and it doesn't have to be something heavy.

Mary Taylor spends most of her time sitting at a computer. One day, she felt like she needed to sneeze.

"And then sneezed and felt this horrible pain in my lower back," Taylor explains.

Taylor exercises at The Train Station. Personal trainer and health coach Kinsey Mahaffey's first advice for clients with back pain is to rest for a few days.

"If they notice the pain doesn't get better in two to three days, that's when you want to go see a doctor," Mahaffey said.

Taylor went to a doctor and ended up with a bulging disk from that sneeze. She was actually told to exercise her back - back to health. It's something Mahaffey does often.

"We'll often see muscle strains and sprains, some arthritic conditions in the back. We'll see bulging disks, herniated disks, and we also see some degenerative disk disease," explained Mahaffey.

One of the back exercises Mahaffey recommends is a cobra back extension.

"A cobra is where you're lying face down on the floor, and then you lift up off the floor and come up into a back extension, which will strengthen the muscles along the spine," Mahaffey said.

"With a 'Pointer Dog,' you're on your hands and knees, and you're going to extend the opposite arm and opposite leg. This not only works the back muscles, this works the glutes, your shoulders, and your core stabilizers," she adds.

Another exercise is a pelvic tilt.

"This one is a great one to strengthen your core without flexing forward like you would in a crunch," explained Mahaffey.

She also loves a plank to strengthen the back.

"It's really important to do stretches to keep your muscles flexible but also to keep your spine in healthy ranges of motion. If you stay in one position for too long, your spine loses that mobility, which also increases your risk of injury," Mahaffey said.

A good stretch to try is the 'Cat Camel.'

"You want to start on your hands and knees. You're going to inhale, pull your belly button in toward your spine and arch your back up, and then you'll exhale, lower your belly toward the ground and look up. The only back injury that this is not appropriate for is a bulging or herniated disk," she explained.

Finally, Mahaffey said it's important to be consistent with the exercises if you want your back pain to subside.

"It took a while for my back to start feeling better, but as I started doing the exercises daily, it made a big difference," Taylor said.

If you sit a lot, get up and walk around every 20 minutes for at least two minutes to break up the position your body is in. Finally, try to keep good posture and spine alignment through your daily activities.

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