“Oh, My Aching Back!”

How often have you felt that that classic quote applies to you? Chronic back pain can be avoided by just doing a few easy routine stretches.


The most important thing to remember when you reach down to pick something up or bend down to pet a dog or a cat… or any time you have to bend over, is… “BEND YOUR KNEES!” Bending with your legs straight often leads to back pain.


Remember too, that stretching cold muscles before embarking on an exercise routine can lead to injury, so warm up with 5 to 10 minutes of light activity, like walking at a comfortable pace. Then:

. Stretch slowly avoiding bouncy or jerky movements
. Stretch only to the point where you feel mild tension
. Relax into the stretch on an exhale, and hold the stretch for at least 5 seconds
. Each time you exhale during those 5 seconds, your body can go slightly deeper into the stretch

Here are three simple stretches you can do to help avoid back pain as demonstrated by one of Brady’s much-loved women athletes, Army veteran Angelina Bonetti Deans, who runs the Hickory Underwater Water Conservation District office on the Square. Angelina referred us to these Healthline easy to follow instructions: https://www.healthline.com/health/ankylosing-spondylitis/back-pain-stretches#1

Knee-to-Chest Stretch

1. Lie on your back on the floor or on a bed, with your legs extended
2. Lift and bend your right leg, bringing the knee toward your chest then grasp your knee or shin with your right hand then pull your leg in as far as it will comfortably go
3. Remain in the knee-to-chest position while tightening your abdominal muscles and pressing your spine into the floor, hold for 5 seconds, deepening the stretch with each exhale
4. Return slowly to your starting position
5. Do the same routine with your left leg
6. Do the same holding both legs at once

7. Repeat the sequence 5 times

On All Fours – back flexion and extension

1. Begin on your hands and knees on the floor, your hands directly under your shoulders with your arms straight
2. Rock forward, putting your weight onto your arms, round your shoulders, and let your seat drop a little then hold for 5 seconds
3. Rock backward, sitting your buttocks as close to your heels as possible, keeping your arms extended straight ahead, hold for 5 seconds
4. Return slowly to your starting position
5. Repeat 5 times

Here’s a helpful video demonstration of what is also known as “Cat Cow Pose” in yoga.

Standing Back Arch

1. Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart
2. Put the palms of your hands on your lower back and take a few slow, deep breaths to relax
3. Bend your upper body backwards, keeping your knees straight while supporting your back with your hands, hold for 5 seconds
4. Return to your starting position
5. Repeat 5 times

Do these stretches routinely and you’ll be ready to tackle all your tasks. But remember when you reach down to BEND YOUR KNEES.



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