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Last Updated on January 11, 2021

5 Ways to Lessen Back Pain

5 Ways to Lessen Back Pain

As you’ve aged throughout the years, you’ve probably noticed a significant increase in the amount of back pain you experience on a semi-regular basis. While some discomfort is inevitable as you grow older, there are measures you can take to minimize the stress you put on your back throughout your day. The worst thing you can do for back pain is ignore it or try to “tough it out”; you’ll just end up doing more harm than good. If your back pain starts to become so debilitating that getting around becomes a hassle, you need to do something about it before it’s much too late.

Stop Slouching

You’ve heard this ever since you were a kid at the dinner table: Sit up straight! Slouching causes undue and avoidable stress on your neck, spine, shoulders, and neck – and it makes us look like cavemen. Of course, sitting up straight takes a conscious effort at all times – especially when watching TV or clicking around on the Internet. Along with the various exercises that can help improve your posture, you should get in the habit of consciously sitting up tall with your shoulders square. Hopefully, after a while it will become second nature!

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Assess Your Sleep Situation

If you spend sleepless nights tossing and turning in bed trying to get comfortable, your mattress might be the problem. There are many factors that go into choosing the right mattress, such as the amount of support you need as well as whether you sleep on your back, side, or stomach. While there are definitely measures you can take to avoid back pain, you can only do so much. Make sure that when you lay down each night, you’re getting the comfort you deserve.

Get Active

I previously mentioned the importance of exercising, but it’s not enough to just stretch a little bit and assume your back pain will just melt away. A 30-minute a day regimen of low-impact exercise, such as walking, swimming, or practicing yoga, could be all that you need to make a difference in the severity of your back pain. Not only that, but you’ll probably end up losing a little bit of weight, which in turn will put less stress on your back. However, like I said, don’t just think that you can laze around for the rest of the day just because you’ve done your workout routine for the day. Being active means staying active. Do everything you can to avoid long periods of sitting or laying around if you don’t want your back pain to return.

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Herbal Remedies

The reason herbal remedies is so far down on the list is because I don’t want you to think you can simply take a couple pills and feel right as rain. And I definitely don’t want you to believe that over the counter pain pills actually do anything more than mask your symptoms. The reason these remedies are called supplements is because they do just that: supplement the other actions you need to take in order to alleviate back pain. Anti-inflammatory supplements such as ginger, turmeric, and capsaicin come in creams, pills, or even teas, and can give you the comfort needed to take further steps toward a healthier lifestyle.

Meditate and Be Mindful

It sounds cheesy, but meditation can create a certain harmony between your mind and your body that will certainly help out when you’re feeling frustrated due to back pain. Although the jury is still out on whether or not meditation actually alleviates physical symptoms, it does allow you to be more mindful of how you go about your life on a daily basis.

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As mentioned before, being mindful simply means making a conscious effort to care for your back at all times. It means avoiding strenuous movements and activities, as well as lifting objects that are heavier than you know you should be lifting. Remaining conscious of the fact that your body “isn’t what it used to be” can be tough to do, but it’s definitely better than being laid up in a hospital bed!

Featured photo credit: Twitter 365 Project – Day 30 / lu_lu via farm4.staticflickr.com

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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Published on April 23, 2021

10 Knee Stretches For Knee Pain Relief

10 Knee Stretches For Knee Pain Relief

Knee pain is a common problem that affects people from all walks of life, and it often requires some sort of therapy or knee stretches to resolve. The causes of knee pain can range from overexertion, sedentary lifestyle, strains, sprains, injuries, and even structural challenges. Obesity, lack of exercise, or arthritis are also some commonly known causes of knee pain.[1] But there can be other reasons, too.

For example, I got the first knee pain of my life when I was in college. My right knee nearly collapsed because I pushed myself more than the average participant in a mountaineering trip we took that summer.

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Another common cause of knee pain for an average-aged person can be the faulty positioning of the laptop workstation—being at the wrong distance and height—and intensified by a chair too low, too high, or even placed in such a way that you are keeping your knees bent for long periods of time.

So, what are some good knee stretches that you can do to get relief from knee pain and keep them healthy over time? Well, here we go!

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Here are 10 knee stretches for effective knee pain relief.

1. Single Knee to Chest stretch

  1. Lie down on your back.
  2. As you inhale, bend the left knee and bring it to the chest.
  3. Interlock your fingers, placing them behind the left thigh or above the knee. Gently begin to draw the leg closer to your body, keeping the other leg flat on the ground.
  4. Keep your spine stretched and tail bone tucked touching the floor. Relax the shoulders.
  5. If your neck, shoulders, and upper back are tight, you may keep a pillow or a blanket under your head and neck. Count to five and then interchange the feet.
  6. Complete five rounds with left and right foot, together making one round.

2. Quad Stretch Sideways

  1. Lie down sideways on your left, with elbow bent on the ground, supporting the head with the palm.
  2. Inhale and bend your right leg, toes pointing backward. Grab the ankle with the right arm and bring the heel as close to the buttock as possible. Hold it for five seconds, and exhale release.
  3. Turn to the opposite side on your right.
  4. Inhale and bend your left leg, toes pointing backward. Grab the ankle with the left arm and bring the heel as close to the buttock as possible. Hold it for five seconds, and exhale release.
  5. Make sure to have a good round grip around the ankle—fingers together, thumb apart.
  6. Complete five rounds with right and left, together making one round.

3. Figure 4 Stretch

  1. Lie down on your back.
  2. Bend your knees and place your feet on the ground, hip-distance apart.
  3. As you inhale, place your lower right leg on the left thigh, crossing the ankle over. At this point, your right knee should naturally be pointing sideways, creating a figure 4 shape.
  4. Interlock your fingers behind your left thigh and gently begin to draw your legs closer to your body, lifting the left leg away from the ground until it becomes parallel to the ground.
  5. Keep your spine stretched and tail bone tucked touching the floor, relax the shoulders.
  6. If your neck, shoulders, and upper back are tight, you may keep a pillow or a blanket under your head and neck. Count to five and then interchange the feet.
  7. Complete five rounds with left and right foot, together making one round.

4. Single-Leg Raises

  1. Lie down on your back, arms by the side of the body, palms facing down.
  2. As you inhale, lift the left leg, keeping the knee straight. The right leg can either be resting straight on the ground or bent with the foot firmly placed on the ground as per your convenience.
  3. Keep your spine stretched and tail bone tucked touching the floor, relax the shoulders.
  4. If your neck, shoulders, and upper back are tight, you may keep a pillow or a blanket under your head and neck. Do 5 lifts on one side and then change the feet.
  5. Repeat from the other side.

5. Leg Extension Sideways

  1. Lie down sideways on your left, with elbow bent on the ground, supporting the head with the palm.
  2. Inhale and lift your right leg, keeping the knee straight and toes pointing diagonally. Exhale and bring it down. Repeat five times at a medium speed. Do not use jerky movements, and do not do it too slowly.
  3. Turn to the opposite side on your right.
  4. Inhale and light the left leg up, exhale down. Repeat the same exercise five times.
  5. Make sure that the core is engaged for better results.

6. Tiger Stretch

  1. Come down on the ground on all fours—knees and palms. Ensure that legs are hip-width apart and knees in line with the hips. Also, ensure that wrists and shoulders are in one line. Relax the toes.
  2. As you inhale, lift the right leg, toes pointing up. Try to bring your toes as close to the head as possible. Let the back arch naturally. Lift your neck as if trying to meet the toes.
  3. As you exhale, bring your leg down bending the knee, and sliding it from under the body to meet the forehead. Drop your neck looking down trying to meet the knee.
  4. Repeat the stretch from the left side—both times slowly and mindfully.
  5. Complete five rounds with right and left together, making one round.

Note: You can keep a towel and anything that gives slight support to the knee while you place them on the ground in case you need more support.

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7. Knee Extension Sitting

  1. Sit up on a chair with your back straight.
  2. Interlock the fingers placing them behind the left knee.
  3. As you inhale, lift the left knee, bringing it parallel to the ground. Do it with medium speed without any jerky movement. Repeat five to ten times.
  4. Keep your spine stretched and shoulders relaxed.
  5. Interchange the feet and repeat the same exercise on the right leg.

Note: The image suggests holding the chair rather than the back of the knee, but I would recommend holding the back of the knee as it provides better support. Choose based on your convenience.

8. Dynamic Squats

  1. Squat down and bringing your right arm from inside, slide your right palm below the sole of the right foot, palm facing up. Bring the left arm from the inside, slide your left palm below the sole of the left foot, palm facing up.
  2. For those who cannot squat, please roll a mat and keep your heels on it and stand facing a wall at an arms distance from the wall so you can place your palms on the wall.
  3. Once you have found your comfortable position, hands are not to be moved from where they are.
  4. While exhaling, come up and straighten your knees, maintaining the position of the palms.
  5. Inhale squat and exhale come up again while straightening the knees.
  6. Repeat five times, slowly and with awareness of breath.

Note: Contrary to what some people think, squats are very good for knee strengthening and, therefore, reduce knee pain in the short and long term. Do it slowly, and you will be okay. In case you feel that it is too challenging for you—the hips aren’t open enough or there is severe pain, you can simply sit down on a chair and then stand up—keep repeating with arms stretched in front.

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9. Kneeling Lunge

  1. Exhale and bring both your palms on the ground coming into an inverted V position.
  2. Inhale and bring the right foot firmly between the palms, left knee on the ground and toes relaxed.
  3. Sit up keeping the spine straight and bring the palms to the waist.
  4. Make sure that the right knee and ankle are in one line. Look forward.
  5. Inhale and bring the left foot firmly between the palms, right knee on the ground, and toes relaxed.
  6. Complete five rounds with one set of left and right making one round.

Note: Place a towel or any other cushioning fabric for more knee support.

10. Mill Churning Stretch

  1. Sit up with your legs apart and away from each other as much as is comfortable for you. Choose your maximum and convenient distance.
  2. Bring your palms together and interlock the fingers. Stretch your arms forward while straightening the elbows. The arms will remain in this position throughout this stretch, do not bend the elbows.
  3. Inhale and exhale. Start making a big circle with your torso, turning towards the right and your arms moving with it. Imagine your hip is fixed at one point and your body is encircling around it. Go as big a circle as you can by going as far back as possible.
  4. Exhale as you go down and inhale as you come up. Encircle five times.
  5. Repeat the same stretch from the left side, making a big circle five times by rotating the body from the left side.

Consistency Is the Key

Knee stretching and strengthening is a gentle and gradual process. Therefore, consistency in practicing these knee stretches goes a long way.

The knees are one of the most important joints in the foundational structure of your body. So, take good care of them and enjoy pain-less healthy knees, irrespective of your age and occupation. I wish you the best!

More Stretches You Can Try for Better Fitness

Featured photo credit: bruce mars via unsplash.com

Reference

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