Armchair Back Pain Stretches For Seniors
Whether is lower back pain or back pain it doesn’t matter, because there’s a pain in your back which has to be alleviated right away. Otherwise, it will interfere with your day-by-day activities, and a simple task such as tying your shoe laces will be a struggle.
But when back pain hits the elders it’s even more difficult to deal with due to age and bone fragility. Most of the time, suffering from back pain at an advanced age is the result of other diseases such as arthritis and rheumatism.
Anyhow, as rest is not a solution for this type of pain, most physical therapists recommend exercises regardless the age, and the following stretches are perfect for seniors with a pain in their back!
Needed equipment: well, there’s no special equipment needed since these are low-impact exercises, and a chair or armchair will be enough while you’re resting after dinner.
1. Neck And Chest Stretch
Image Credits: Neck And Chest Stretch
- Begin seated, feet flat on the floor, sitting up straight. Bring your hands to rest at the base of your skull, fingers intertwined, thumbs running by your ears and down your neck. (This is the classic “relaxed, laid back” pose, with your head resting in your hands.)
- Ease your head back into your hands, turning your face toward the ceiling.
- Inhale deeply. As you exhale, ease your left elbow so it’s pointing more toward the ground, your right elbow toward the ceiling. This will stretch your neck in a supported way. Note: This should be an easy movement, so if it’s a slight movement and your elbows only move an inch or 2, that’s fine. It should feel like a good stretch, not painful.
- Take 2 deep breaths and ease yourself back to neutral, spine upright.
- Repeat on other side, right elbow toward the ground, left elbow toward the ceiling. Do this 3 times on each side, alternating sides as you go.
2. Seated Gentle Backbend
Image Credits: Seated Gentle Backbend
- Starting seated, feet flat on the floor, bring your hands to your lower back, with your fingers facing down and thumbs wrapped around your hips toward your front body.
- Press your hands firmly into your hips/lower back and inhale.
- As you exhale, gently arch your spine, leading with your head.
- Note: You don’t want your head to drop back too much. You do, however, want to lead with your cervical spine, so tilting your chin up, face to the ceiling, is a good, gentle start. The backbend should happen throughout the upper and midspine.
- Hold for 5 full, deep breaths.
- Gently and slowly come back to the neutral starting position, and repeat 3 to 5 times.
3. Reach Back
Image Credits: Reach Back
- Sit with spine straight, feet planted firmly on the ground. Inhale deeply, and as you exhale, reach behind you and interlace your hands.
- Note: If you cannot interlace your hands, grab opposite wrists or elbows.
- Inhale deeply again, and feel your spine growing longer as you sit up taller. Roll your shoulders up and back, moving your shoulder blades down your back.
- As you exhale, gently straighten your arms, if your hands are clasped. (If your hands are not clasped, gently pull in opposite directions.) This will open up your upper back.
- After 3 deep breaths, release your clasp and return to neutral.
- Repeat this 3 times.
4. Seated Cat-Cow
Image Credits: Seated Cat-Cow
- With feet planted firmly on the floor and knees at a 90-degree angle, place your hands on your knees, fingers pointing in toward each other, the heel of your hands on the outside of your legs.
- Inhale, and as you exhale, press into your hands and arch your back using your entire spine. This means your face will be toward the sky and you should feel a bit like you’re pressing your butt out behind you.
- As you inhale again, roll your shoulders forward and pull your bellybutton toward your spine, dropping your chin toward your chest and pushing toward your knees with your hands.
- During your next exhale, reverse the motion, pulling your chest through your arms and arching your spine again, pressing down into your legs, instead of toward your knees.
- Repeat this slowly, on your breath, 3 to 5 times.
5. Gentle Twist
Image Credits: Gentle Twist
- Again, start with your feet firmly planted on the floor and knees at a 90-degree angle. Edge just a little forward on the seat. You don’t want to feel like the chair may tip forward or that you’re unstable in the seat, but you do want a little more room behind you.
- As you inhale, press down into your seat, sit up straight, your spine lengthening, and lift your arms up overhead.
- As you exhale, turn gently to your right, placing your left hand on the outside of your right knee and your right hand wherever feels comfortable. This could be on the chair seat or back, but do not use that hand to “crank” your twist deeper. You want to feel the twist equally through all of your spine, and using your arm strength to twist yourself harder can cause injury and one part of your spine twisting harder than the rest.
- Stay in the twist and as you inhale, feel yourself sit up taller. As you exhale, twist just a little deeper.
- Take 3 to 5 deep breaths before gently releasing the twist and doing it on the other side. Alternate so you stretch at least twice on each side.