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How can I alleviate my lockdown back pain?

A recent survey has shown that more than a third of British people have suffered back pain during lockdown. The reason given was a poor working environment at home. Although you won’t be able to achieve the same ergonomic set up at home as your office, there are a few things you can do to ease the pressure put on your back.

Your computer screen should be level with your face, so elevate it using a few books so that you are looking straight at it, easing the pressure on the top of your spine. Most people are using dining room chairs, which aren’t designed for spending long periods of time in. Pop a cushion at the bottom of your spine to support your lumber region and if needed, place a stool under your feet to improve your sitting position. Your keyboard should be at elbow height and most importantly, remember to plan frequent breaks to move around and change your position. Perhaps you could try moving your computer to a kitchen work top or sideboard so you can stand for a period of time.

Exercise is a good way to not only relieve the pain you are experiencing but also to prevent further damage. Below are a few back exercises from Pilates Scotland, for you to try. Pilates has many benefits, including improving flexibility, mobility, balance, posture and bone density. It is also recommended by health professionals for sports injuries, general aches and pains as well as health conditions such as cancer and arthritis. Doing Pilates regularly not only improves your body but also your sleep, mental health and makes you feel more positive about your future. If you have enjoyed the exercises and feel you want to start improving your back pain and well being, start our 14 day free trial at Pilates Scotland. You will receive instant access to our extensive library of classes with new classes added every week including a Pilates classes specifically for back health.

Chest Opener

  • Lie on your side with shoulders and hips stacked, knees slightly bent with heels in line with your hips
  • Inhale and open your arm towards the ceiling
  • Exhale and open your arm further, lowering your shoulder, elbow and hand towards the floor, opening through the chest
  • Inhale and return your up towards the ceiling
  • Exhale to reset back to your starting position
  • Allow your eye line to follow your fingertips throughout the movement so your head moves naturally with the upper body

Child's pose & swan

  • Bring yourself into child’s pose sitting your hips back towards your heels, reaching your arms along the floor in front, feeling a stretch through the hips and spine
  • Inhale and engage your core muscles
  • Exhale, lift your back as you articulate through the spine (rounding through the back) as you shift your weight forward, keeping your pelvis level, moving through a neutral spine to come into a back extension
  • If it feels comfortable to do so, lift your eye line higher towards the ceiling to also extend your neck
  • Inhale, open your chest and engage your core
  • Exhale as you articulate through the spine and return to child’s pose

Spine stretch

• Sit tall on your sit bones with legs extended out in front, feet flexed and slightly wider than your hips

  • Level your shoulders and pull your abdominals in tightly
  • Inhale to prepare and lengthen your back
  • Exhale and allow your chin to gently drop and roll down through the neck, articulating the spine and reaching your arms out in front
  • While your arms reach forward, try to slid your hips back in the opposite direction to feel stretch in your spine and hamstrings
  • Inhale and engage your core
  • Exhale and articulate back up through the spine to the starting position

Side bend

  •   Sit on the floor with your legs crossed
    • Place one hand on the floor at the side
    • Inhale and float the other arm to above the shoulder
    • Exhale and take the arm further over, flexing your spine to the side
    • Inhale to lift back to centre
    • Exhale and lower arm
  • Repeat on the other side

Lower back twist

• Lie on your back, arms out wide
• Inhale and lower the knees to one side, rotating the head to the other side
• Keep shoulders on the floor and feel the stretch in the lower back
• Exhale and slowly bring your legs and head back to the start position and repeat on the other side

Throughout the stretches, keep your core muscles and pelvic floor engaged but try to relax into your stretch. Hold each stretch for around 12-15 seconds. If it feels too challenging at any point, reduce your range of movement and shorten the amount of time spent in the stretch.

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