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While lying on your back:
  • Bring one knee up to your chest. Lower it slowly, but do not straighten your leg. Relax. Repeat with each leg 10 times.
  • Bring both knees slowly up to your chest. Tighten the abdominal muscles and press your back flat against the bed. Hold your knees to your chest 20 seconds, then lower slowly. Relax. Repeat 5 times. This exercise gently stretches shortened muscles of the lower back, while strengthening abdominal muscles. Clasp your knees, bring them up to your chest, at the same time coming to a sitting position. Rock back and forth.

    EXERCISES AFTER BACK PAIN SUBSIDES Use these inconspicuous exercises whenever you have a spare moment during the day, both to reduce tension and improve the tone of important muscle groups.

  • Rotate your shoulders, forward and backward.
  • Turn your head slowly side to side.
  • Turn your head down and to the right as if stretching to see your right armpit. Stretch your neck slowly up, around and down, switching to a gaze at your left armpit. Repeat, starting on the left side.
  • Slowly, touch left ear to left shoulder, then right ear to right shoulder. Raise both shoulders to touch ears, then drop them as far down as possible.
  • At any pause in the day (such as waiting for class to begin), pull in the abdominal muscles, tighten and hold for the count of 8 without breathing. Relax slowly. Increase the count gradually after the first week, and practice breathing normally with the abdomen flat and contracted. Do this while sitting, standing, and walking.


  • Never bend from the waist only. Bend both hips and knees.
  • Never lift a heavy object higher than your waist.
  • Always turn and face the object you wish to lift.
  • Avoid carrying unbalanced loads. Hold heavy objects close to your body.
  • Never carry anything heavier than you can easily manage.
  • Never lift or move heavy furniture alone. Get help from someone who knows the principles of leverage.
  • Avoid sudden movements that "overload" muscles. Learn to move deliberately, swinging the legs from the hips.
  • Train yourself to use your abdominal muscles to flatten your lower abdomen. In time, this muscle contraction will become a habit.
  • For good posture, concentrate on strengthening "nature's corset," the abdominal and buttock muscles.
  • For proper bed posture, a firm mattress is essential. If you have a soft mattress, you need a (div)%|-inch piece of plywood under it. Lie and sleep on your side with the knees flexed.
  • Learn to keep your head in line with your spine when standing, sitting, and lying in bed.
  • Don't sit in soft chairs and deep couches. During prolonged sitting, cross your legs to rest your back.
  • Use a rocking chair. Rocking rests the back.
  • Avoid exercise that arches or overstrains the lower back, such as backward bends, forward bends, or touching your toes with your knees straight.
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