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back-pain-5-must-do-moves-for-lower-back-painMore than 80 percent of all days missed at work have been related to back pain.  

However, many times, back pain can be alleviated with stretching, proper diet, strengthening exercises and good posture.  It's not one specific stretch or strengthening move, but rather a combined approach with maintaining a healthy body weight and consistent, balanced exercise and stretching regimen.

Here are five key moves that can help alleviate back pain.

My Neck and Back Pain DVD provides 10 minute workouts plus a yoga, Pilates and flexbility training workouts to help those who battle back pain. Back pain can be prevented and treated without surgery. You'll need a stability ball and supportive mat for these exercises.

Exercises to Help Back Pain

  1. Bridge on the Ball:  Start sitting on the ball and roll your back along it until your body is supported by your head and shoulders on the ball with knees bent and hips lifted. Maintaining balance, lift and lower the hips to strengthen the back of the thighs, which are an integral part of the the core and help maintain pelvic stability more than the abs, which are usually the focus. Perform 15-20 repetitions and as you progress from week to week, perform 2-3 series of this exercise.
  2. Superman: Start lying face down on the floor with arms and legs extended. Slowly lift arms and legs an inch off the floor, focusing on extending out instead of up. Hold for 8-10 seconds and slowly lower. Repeat this movement for 10-12 repetitions. The key is to keep the chin neutral instead of looking upward.
  3. Cross Over: Start lying on the floor face up and arms upstretched to the side in a "T" position. Palms should be face down to the floor. Lift one leg with slightly bent knee to hip height and lower across the body. Feel the stretch on your hip, around to your lower back and even your chest. Lift and lower leg 8-12 times and repeat on the other side. This stretch helps strengthen and lengthen the out thigh and connective tissue called the "IT" band.
  4. Ball Stretch: Start lying on the ball and slowly roll down to an open body stretch over the ball. Reach arms wide into a "V" over head and extend the legs. Hold this stretch for 10-30 seconds and then slowly roll up to a seated position.
  5. Hip Opener: Start lying on the ground with a small rolled towel under your hips between your glutes and lower spine to help open the pelvis. Bring one knee into the chest and lengthen the leg on the floor by flexing the foot and pressing the thigh into the floor. Feel the stretch on the front of the hip and hold for 10-30 seconds. Repeat on the other side. 

By simple streches and toning moves like these, you'll find yourself reducing your risk of injury and may find your back pain saying goodbye for good.

For more exercise and fitness tips, check out Andrea Metcalf.

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