Whole Woman: Pain, Pain Go Away

We talked to two local experts for some simple exercises to help ease pain.

Remember when you were young and couldn’t wait to be older? But now that you finally are, you’re noticing that your body has a lot more aches and pains than it used to. Luckily, two local experts were happy to share some simple exercises that you can do at home so you don’t have to break the bank, or your back.

This week, we have some tips from David Dansereau, a physical therapist at Physical Therapy of Cumberland. Next week we will post tips from  a local yoga instructor.

Backaches are often solved by staying in bed and resting. After a while, however, this method can actually slow the healing process. Staying active with easy exercises like these will help you lead a pain-free life.

Lumbar Stretch
Lie on your back with your knees bent.
Lift one knee towards your chest and pull it as far in as you can.
Lower that leg and repeat with the other leg.
Now lift both legs (one at a time) and pull them towards your
chest as far as you can to flatten your lower back.
Repeat process three times.

Lumbar Rotation Stretch
Lie on your back and then bring one knee toward your face, flexing your  hip 90 degrees.
With the opposite hand, pull your leg sideways toward the floor to feel a              stretch in the lower back/buttock.
Keep your shoulders flat on the ground during this stretch.

Knee pain is the most common joint injury. Exercising and strengthening the muscles around your knee are great ways to prevent yourself from feeling like the Tin Man without oil.

Balance: One Leg Row, Airplane
Stand with your feet hip width apart and hold a weight in one hand.
Bend forward on one foot (opposite to the hand that’s holding the weight) and lift your other leg so it stretches out behind you.
Pull the weight towards you by bending at the elbow, keeping your supporting knee slightly bent and stable, your back in neutral position and your shoulders back. Your opposite hand should be outstretched for balance.
Slowly return to the initial position and repeat with opposite side.

Staring at your computer screen all day or even just sleeping in the wrong position at night can make your neck feel sore. Neck pain can lead to serious backaches if you don’t treat it early enough, so take a couple of minutes to do these easy stretches.

Chin Tuck and Peck Stretch
Lie down on your back.
Place a cervical pillow (think towel roll) under your neck.
Place your arms to the side (90/90 position) to stretch the pectoral muscles.
Tuck your chin and hold for two minutes. Relax and repeat.

Upper Trapezius PNF Stretch

Sit in a chair and hold onto the left side of the chair with your left hand.
Lean your head to the right side without lifting your right shoulder.
Place your right hand on the left side of your head without pulling.
Push your head left against your hand and resist. Hold the contraction for
thirty seconds then relax.
Move your head farther to the right without pulling it with your hand.
Hold this position and repeat the contraction.
Repeat three times then switch to the opposite side.

You’ve seen the commercials: Fibromyalgia can slow you down. By doing this
very simple exercise, you can ease stiffness and increase your energy.

The Warrior
Start by standing straight.
Exhale and step back with one leg. You can turn your rear foot out about 45 to 60 degrees to keep the heel on the ground.
Put your hands on your hips and slowly move your front knee forward to
bend the leg.
Inhale and raise your arms overhead slightly in front of you, reaching actively toward the ceiling. Do not shrug your shoulders; your scapulas should be set nicely against your rib cage and lowered slightly.
On an exhalation, lower your arms to your sides and bring your rear foot forward.
Breathe while in the standing position (mountain pose), then repeat with the opposite leg back.