As many as 65 million Americans complain of back pain from something they've done recently. 16 million, or about 8% of the population, say they have chronic back pain issues.
If you want to have and keep a healthy back, then you should do some things to care for it.
Spinal health doesn't have to be hard. In fact, with a few stretches and exercises, you can strengthen your back and the muscles around it to keep it strong and healthy.
Read on for the best spine-strengthening exercises you can do today.
The cat-cow stretch has you starting on all fours with your knees hip-width apart.
The exercise starts by arching your back upward and stretching almost like a cat. Once you've arched as high as you can, you slowly drop your stomach downward.
As you do this step, you relax your stomach muscles and raise your hips upward. This is the cow part of the stretch.
The curl-up is one of the back exercises that will stretch the whole back. Start by lying on the floor with your back on the ground. Stretch one leg out straight and bend the other so your foot sits flat on the ground.
For the movement in the exercise, imagine your whole upper body curling upward while your lower back and legs remain in place.
Tuck your chin to your chest, exhale, and curl your head, neck, and shoulders up and lift them off the ground until you feel the stretch down your back.
Keep your hands tucked under your lower back to maintain the arch of your back.
Another exercise to improve spinal health is the bird-dog. This stretch has you mimicking a bird-dog pointing at prey.
Start with hands and knees on the floor. Ensure your knees are perpendicular to your spine and your hips align with your torso.
Stretch your left arm and right leg (so, opposite) straight outward so they are parallel with your spine. Hold the stretch for a count of ten, then switch sides.
This stretch works to release tension in the back while at the same time strengthening your core muscles.
Again, lay down on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Then slowly twist the knees from side to side.
As you roll to one side, get your knees as close to the floor as possible and hold for ten seconds. Then bring your knees back up and switch to the other side.
The bridge stretch is particularly good for lower back pain. It works to strengthen the back, buttocks, and hamstring muscles which in turn support the spine.
Lay down on your back with your legs bent and feet flat on the ground. Put your arms at your side. Slowly lift your hips while keeping your shoulders on the floor.
When your hips are off the floor, keep your back and buttock muscles tight for several seconds, then release and lower back to the floor.
Improve Your Spinal Health
These spine-strengthening exercises can help make your core muscles and back muscles stronger. They can work to release tension in the back too.