Five Movements for Pain Relief

Relieve lower back pain with these easy stretches

A female Veteran performing stretches in a group classChronic pain is more common in Veterans than in the general population. Pain is hard to ignore. You feel it each time you bend over or stand up. That ache shoots through your lower back and never seems to go away.

Exercise can help relieve back pain, but only with the right movements. It’s also important to discuss this with your doctor before you start exercising.

Below, we have five exercises that can strengthen your lower back and help manage pain:

  1. Back Release: Start the back release on your hands and knees. Keep your knees under your hips and hands under your shoulders. Relax your stomach and buttocks muscles, lift your head, and let your back sag. Try holding for 5 seconds and repeating 5 times.

  2. Leg Pull: To start this leg pull, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. You should feel comfortable and relaxed. Then, pull 1 knee to your chest and hold for 30 to 60 seconds. You should repeat this 2 times and then switch legs.

  3. Lower Back Stretch: To start this lower back stretch, sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. You'll slowly bend forward and touch the floor with the backs of your hands. Let your body drop and hold for 20 seconds. Return to starting position and repeat 2 times.

  4. Arm Reach: Do this arm reach on your hands and knees. Your knees should be under your hips and hands under your shoulders. Stretch 1 arm straight out and hold for 5 seconds. Do this 5 times and then switch arms.

  5. Leg Reach: Do this leg reach on your hands and knees. Keep your knees under your hips and hands under your shoulders. Don't arch or sag your back. Extend 1 leg straight back. Hold for 5 seconds, repeat 5 times, and then switch legs.

Remember: Stretching your muscles is a great way to avoid injuries and pain. When you start these exercises, be careful not to push yourself too hard. Only you know what your limits are. If you can, try to do all 5 stretches. Schedule an appointment with your doctor through VA Appointments if any of these make your pain worse. You will need a My HealtheVet Premium account to schedule an appointment online.

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