• Each morning before you get out of bed, lie on your back and slowly stretch your arms overhead (being careful to avoid any fast, jerky movements). Gently pull your knees to your chest, one at a time.
To get up, roll to the edge of your bed, turn on your side, put your knees over the edge, and use one arm to push yourself up as you let your feet swing to the floor. Once you’re on your feet, put your hands on your buttocks and lean back very slowly to stretch out your spine.
• Make the mind–body connection. Research indicates that daily relaxation, meditation or guided imagery can reduce pain perception. A Swedish study of people with recurring back pain found that relaxation techniques both reduced pain and increased feelings of wellbeing.
• Explore postural therapies. If back pain is a recurring problem, you need to learn how to keep your spine and pelvis supple (and supporting muscles strong). Treatments that help restore function and improve posture include Feldenkrais and the Alexander Technique. There is also much evidence to support the notion that the maintenance of strong abdominal muscles is a key to a pain-free back.
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