If you are feeling sharp or acute pain in your back or neck as a result of any movement, consult with an osteopath, chiropractor or physiotherapist or see your doctor, before you undertake any of these suggested back and neck exercises.
Back pain can be caused by the way a person moves, walks, stands, kneels, sits, lies down, gets up, balances, turns and last but not least, sleeps.
Mostly, it comes down to posture and stress.
If your spine is subject to any, what are percieved as unnatural postural deficiencies, such as stooping for example – this can easily become habitual and is very difficult to change, particularly if induced occupationally and this requires extra effort to reinforce permanent alterations to an upright posture.
The thing is, when standing normally, there should be no tension in the neck, chest, shoulders, upper and lower back and the hips.
For an ideal posture, the sternum should be held high, but not stiffly so – the shoulders should be relaxed and not raised –the chin should be dropped so that the eyes are level - the lumbar should be concave, the belly soft and equal weight should be placed on both feet.
Standing in this way allows all the muscles and articulations to relax and soften and being aware of standing in this way becomes a pleasure.
Pregnant women often complain of backache in the latter stages of their pregnancy, and the reasons are obvious, with the enlarging baby putting major pressure on the lower spine.
Overweight men, with medium to large “pot belly” stomachs endure back pain for the same reason, except their pain will not ease, as long as their stomach remains large. It is a major cause of lower back pain.
Being aware of the muscles of the back and how they interact with the spine and how they need to be restored after a long day working in the garden for example, driving a long distance or simply lifting heavy objects at work or at home, is important in the battle to eliminate back pain.
As a person ages, more attention needs to be given to how the musculo-skeletal system operates, particularly in relation to its effect on the back and how a regular exercise routine can improve the quality of life, for something as simple as getting up out of a chair.
There is an easy, common sense way to alleviate back pain, permanently, through simple balanced posture exercises and a non-stress flexibility routine, which, if practised regularly, provided there is no previous surgery or serious injury, will banish the backache pretty much forever.
These simple back exercises are directed at people who suffer from general aches and pains in the back, neck and shoulder and are recommended to be done as part of an everyday back care and maintenance routine. See separate notes on chronic and acute back pain.
It is important to remember that a flexible spine and strong core abdominal trunk muscles are key to back care and a minimum of back pain. Whilst these exercises relate to the former, it is in conjunction with the latter that ensures long term stability, both of which are absolutely essential for a healthy back.