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Who’s Got Your Back?

Believe it or not, your back is a section of the body that needs a lot of protection and care—and not just because a little back pain can knock you off your feet. Your spinal cord is a crucial part of your central nervous system and makes all body function possible. Back exercise is great for both rehabilitation and prevention of back pain and spinal damage.

For people without existing back pain, you can condition it aerobically, work it with weights or repetitive contractions, or stretch it to improve flexibility. These are some general categories of movements to keep your discs, ligaments, muscles and joints healthy:
 
Yoga. Increase your flexibility, strength and meditation skills with yoga. Possibly most important, the breathing techniques induce relaxation to relive pain.
 
Pilates. With Pilates, you’ll get stretching movements that help to align the spine along with strength-building movements for the postural muscles.
 
Hamstring exercises. Tightness in the hamstrings limits movement in the pelvis, which increases stress in the lower back. Stretch your hamstrings by lying on your back and pulling your legs towards you.
 
Low-impact aerobic conditioning. Stretch and strengthen your back and get in a little cardio to increase blood flow and nutrients to the back.
 
Core exercises. Strengthening your abdominal muscles will help to take pressure off your back. Be sure to tuck your pelvis in when performing core exercises—try lying on your back and keeping your back as flat to the ground as possible as you move.
 
Water therapy. This is a good place to start if your back pain is especially intense since movement in the water is gentler on your joints.
 
Walking. Another gentle form of exercise, walking will prevent your back from getting stiff, but be careful not to overdo it if your back hurts when walking.

It is important to consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise plan, especially if you have or have experienced back pain.

Visit the OrthoCarolina Spine Center online.

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