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10 Exercises To Do And Avoid To Relieve Lower Back Pain

10 Exercises To Do And Avoid To Relieve Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain plagues millions of people now that sitting in a chair for eight hours a day is commonplace. Not to mention the time spent sitting in cars, sitting in front of a TV, and sitting down to eat!

Looking for relief? Don’t worry – I’ve found five exercises to help you get rid of lower back pain… and five exercises you should avoid.

5 Exercises to Relieve Lower Back Pain

These exercises strengthen your back without causing unnecessary damage.

1. Partial Crunches

    Partial crunches are great to strengthen your back and stomach muscles without too much added tension. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Cross your arms over your chest or put your hands behind your head, then lift your body up so your shoulders are off the ground. Be sure to tighten your stomach muscles! Hold this position for 3-4 seconds, then lower. Don’t forget to breathe.

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    2. Hamstring Stretches

      Don’t you love  hamstring stretches? They also relieve lower back pain. Just lie on the floor and raise one leg. Wrap a towel or shirt around the ball of your foot, and pull to straighten it out. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds. Do this 3-4 times each side.

      3. Wall Sits

        Wall sits work wonders because they don’t put stress in bad places. First, stand 10 to 12 inches from the wall, then slowly lean back and slide down the wall until you’re in a sitting position. Hold for 10 seconds, then slowly get back up and repeat this process 8 to 12 times.

        4. Press-up Back Extensions

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          To do a press-up back extension, lie on your stomach with your hands under your shoulders. Push with your hands so your shoulders begin to lift off the floor. If it’s comfortable, put your elbows on the floor directly under your shoulders and hold this position for several seconds.

          5. Bird Dog

            I know, I had no idea what this was either until I did some research. To do this one, start on your hands and knees, and tighten your stomach muscles. Lift and extend one leg behind you while keeping your hips level. Hold for 5 seconds then switch to the other leg. Repeat 8 to 12 times for each leg, and try to lengthen the time you hold each lift. Try lifting and extending your opposite arm for each repetition. The key is to not let your lower back sag while in this position!

            5 Exercises to Avoid (These Make Back Problems Worse)

            These common exercises can actually make lower back problems worse!

            1. Toe Touches

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              Toe touches can put stress on the disks and ligaments in your spine. They can also overstretch lower back muscles and hamstrings.

              2. Sit-ups

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                You would think sit-ups are great, right? As it turns out, most people tend to use muscles in the hips, which adds too much stress. Sit-ups may also put a lot of pressure on the discs in your spine, which isn’t good, either.

                3. Leg Lifts

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                  Leg lifts are very demanding on your core. If you don’t have a strong core already, this exercise can make your back pain worse. Instead, try lying on your back with one leg straight and the other leg bent with your foot flat on the floor. Keep your lower back flat on the floor! Slowly lift the straight leg up about 6 inches and hold for a few seconds. Lower it back down slowly. Repeat 10 times, then switch legs.

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                  4. Squat

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                    Squats are really bad for your back – when done incorrectly. I say you should avoid them because they require a certain level of form mastery which makes them much more dangerous in comparison to the other 5 exercises above.

                    5. Jogging

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                      Jogging is bad for your lower back and horrible for your knees. So many people swear by it, but it can really do more damage than good. I would just avoid it.

                      Thanks for reading. I wish you luck and hope these exercises and tips help relieve lower back pain!

                      Featured photo credit: Andrea Ferretti via rodalesorganiclife.com

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                      Last Updated on July 10, 2020

                      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                      We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

                      We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

                      So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

                      Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

                      What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

                      Boundaries are limits

                      —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

                      Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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                      Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

                      Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

                      Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

                      How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

                      Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

                      1. Self-Awareness Comes First

                      Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

                      You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

                      To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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                      You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

                      • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
                      • When do you feel disrespected?
                      • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
                      • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
                      • When do you want to be alone?
                      • How much space do you need?

                      You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

                      2. Clear Communication Is Essential

                      Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

                      Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

                      3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

                      Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

                      That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

                      Sample language:

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                      • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
                      • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
                      • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
                      • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
                      • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
                      • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
                      • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

                      Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

                      4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

                      Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

                      Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

                      Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

                      We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

                      It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

                      It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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                      Final Thoughts

                      Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

                      Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

                      Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

                      The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

                      Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

                      Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

                      They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

                      Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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