Back pain is something I take pretty seriously. Between my family history that includes chronic back pain, osteoporosis, and my own history of weight issues and injuries, I know I have to be proactive about these little annoying pains now before they become major concerns.
I’ve grown up around chiropractic care, and I’m a firm believer. But I’ve also recently learned the merits of strength conditioning both as a supplement and alternative for chiropractic care. Basically, when I lift, my back doesn’t hurt. Knowing this, and taking into consideration my limitations with being pregnant, these are some of the stretches and exercises I’ve started doing, along with visits to my chiropractor Dr. Boggs and periodic ice therapy throughout the day.
Firstly, cat pose, or cat spine.
Obviously, with my growing belly, I’m not nearly as flexible as I once was, especially in the head back position. But with a little care to not overextend myself, I get a lot of relief just from this simple stretch.
Next, while I’ve already got myself down in quadruped, the bird dog:
This is a great lower back & glute strengthening exercise that is highly recommended for relieving lower back pain. One of the main ways in which strength training supplements chiropractic care is that good muscle tone allows your body to hold corrections better. You can keep getting adjusted several times a week, but if your body can’t hold those adjustments, the pain will just keep coming back.
And one more quadruped based exercise for the upper and middle back:
Quadruped extension rotation. Harder than it looks, but you feel it all through your back in a good way. P.S. I’m a huge fan of Eric Cressey’s training program Show and Go, so don’t be surprised if I plug a few of the exercises from the program in the future. I bought it almost a year ago for pre-wedding fitness training, and go back to it regularly.
On your feet now. Basic body weight squats.
Basic core stability training as well as balance and leg strength. One modification for pregnant women (if you’re not already doing squats as part of your regular routine) is to not dip your thighs below parallel. Softened joints are part of your body preparing to pass a child through your pelvic area, and your knees may be more susceptible to damage as a result. Also bare feet are highly recommended, or flat shoes. Soft, squishy ‘running’ shoes prop your body forward and misalign this movement. And don’t hesitate to hold gently to the back of a chair as your balance shifts.
And last one, for now: wall push-ups.
More core stability, with upper body strength. My sister quite casually mentioned how surprised she was that her arms were sore for days after delivering her baby, from pulling on various objects (including her legs) during her son’s birth. So I’m trying to be diligent with training my whole body, gently and consistently.
This is also a good exercise to work towards doing a ‘real’ pushup, as opposed to the knee pushup modification. As your upper body gets stronger, you can lower your angle until you get down on the floor.
This is a pretty massive post, so thanks for sticking with me if you’ve made it this far. Hopefully sticking to this routine of doing one or more of these exercises during regular breaks from work will make my back happier!