How I Cured My Chronic Back Pain

Before I got into the habit of addressing my chronic body aches, I noticed that I was starting to get pain in my lower back. This was probably from sitting in front of a computer for almost all of my waking hours. Back pain is one of pervasive job hazards of being a computer programmer or office worker. This pain seemed more serious to me than the other joint aches I had in my body and try to seek a way to correct it. I came upon a very easy exercise routine that helped me to not feel back pain for many years now.

I did plank (or planche) exercises every morning. Sounds like I a lot of work, right? In reality, it takes only about one minute a day. Pick a good time of day to add on your planks. Maybe right when you wake up, or right before you put on your work clothing. You can do it anywhere there is some open floor. I used to like to do mine on a yoga/exercise mat, but carpet works fine.

To do a simple plank, put your elbows and forearms down on the ground with your upper arm and elbow making a 90 degree angle with the forearms. Shoulders should be directly above the upper arm and in a neutral position. Flex your abdominal core muscles and squeeze your butt tightly. Your legs should be out back with your feet spaced at about shoulder width apart. Look straight down at the floor with your head and neck in a neutral position. The only points of contact with the floor are your forearms and toes. This should force you into a good position, but let me describe what a good position is anyway. A good position will have your butt slightly above your knees and your back will not be arched or caved in.

Hold this position for as long as you can at first. I eventually got up to two repetitions for one minute each. I believe for a lot of people this can be all it takes to go from feeling a slight regular pain to being pain free in your back. If you find that you need to lift heavy objects occasionally, this will probably not be enough exercise to keep your core in good shape and your spine well-protected. For this, you should look into doing more plank repetitions, progressively harder variations and other core strengthening exercises like stomach vacuuming and weight lifting. Sports like running and cycling are also good at building core strength if you work on having good form.

A little maintenance exercise can go a long way at addressing chronic aches and pains you have in your body. The same technique can apply to a variety of other pains you might be feeling.

published 2015-03-24

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