As I am writing this, my bones are creaking as I stretch. As much as I try to stay healthy, aging and bad habits come for us all, and one thing that we commonly experience is back pain.
Common in adults, back pain is famously difficult to treat. People go for years suffering from it, and while it has many causes, sitting for long periods of time with poor posture is a primary one according to Start Standing (https://www.startstanding.org/sitting-back-pain/). While standing may seem less relaxing than sitting, you actually put 40 to 90 percent more stress on your back when you sit than when you stand, reports Cornell University (http://ergo.human.cornell.edu/DEA3250Flipbook/DEA3250notes/sitting.html).
There’s no one magic cure for back pain, but you can do some exercises to help ease your discomfort. One is a modified “Founder” exercise, part of a program designed by chiropractic physician Dr. Eric Goodman. This exercise is meant for anyone with back pain and might work particularly well for those who experience pain all the time or have a limited range of motion.
Each position below is held for 10 to 20 seconds, and Dr. Goodman recommends people do them anywhere from 10 to 20 times each day if possible.
• Stand facing a chair with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lightly squat, pushing your backside back and keeping your back entirely straight. Put the fingertips on both of your hands on the front edge of the chair’s seat.
• With slightly bent knees and your weight on your heels, walk your fingertips over the seat and away from you, pushing your hips back.
• Once you’ve hit your stretch limit, raise your torso and extend your lower spine. Push your hands out from behind you so you can widen your chest as much as possible. Keep your shoulder blades squeezed together.
• Move your arms forward and as high overhead as you can. Thumbs should be pointed inward, and you should push your backside out to lengthen your back. You will feel your back pressure intensify. Use your hamstrings by squeezing your knees together and slightly straightening your legs.
• Stand up slowly, lowering your arms as your torso rises.
One way to gauge how well you are doing this exercise is by how much you sweat. The more you engage your muscles, the greater the exertion and the more sweat that results. Use this simple exercise to help shore up your back muscles and ease your pain over time.