Many of the clients I see come in to help alleviate their back pain. Of course massage can help ease the discomfort in your back, but you can also do some things at home to help keep back pain at bay. Massage and exercise is a powerful combination, but it's not just your back muscles that are involved.
As the center of balance and strength for almost everything you do, it's your core muscles that need some care. A strong core is good for your overall health, but it’s especially important to work on strengthening this group of muscles if you suffer with any kind of lower back pain. Working on your core can help you to improve your posture, which prevents aches and pains.
It’s easy to strengthen these important muscles with a few exercises you can try at home. They also have the added benefit of helping to tone your abdominal muscles, back, glutes, and legs. Yoga and Pilates are very popular and are great for building a strong and healthy core. You can find yoga and Pilates videos online, on DVD, or even learn poses from books and magazines. If you live locally in Saranac Lake, you can take classes at Earthshine Yoga Studio. If you want to test the waters of yoga at home first, here's a great beginner's video from Yoga with Adrienne.
A must for strengthening the core is the plank. The Plank is a classic core strengthening move that’s fiendishly hard at first but gets easier with practice. Planking is great for the whole body, from your arms all the way down through your legs, and is thought to be better exercise for your abs than crunches. Try this video for instructions on how to plank. Give it a try, and don't give up if you can't hold it very long at first. The more you build up your muscles, the better you will get, and the easier it will become.
If you're up for investing in a prop to help with core strength, try a balance ball. Using a balance ball helps you to focus on your core muscles when doing certain exercises. You can use a balance ball to do push-ups, crunches, and more. Even simply sitting on a balance ball instead of a chair helps you strengthen your core muscles during the day. So you can build your core muscles while sitting... how cool is that?!!!
Crunches are a classic core strengthening move. Bicycle crunches are a type of crunch that works on your upper and lower abs at the same time. They are fun to do, once you get the hang of it. Check out this video to learn how to do a bicycle crunch.
Try to make time for a few core-strengthening sessions a week. They don't have to be very long sessions. Just make sure you are being consistent with working your muscles. Your whole body will thank you for it!