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(MERCY HEALTH PARTNERS - BLAIR MOREAU) - Lower back pain is the most common back pain infliction and regular exercise is the best way to prevent this problem. Research estimates that 70% of the adult population will suffer back pain, with the lower back suffering the brunt of the muscles strains. The main reason is because it bears the greatest pressure when you bend and lift.

Strengthening and stretching your muscles will help reduce the risk of developing lower back injury and pain. If you already have back problems do not perform these exercises until your pain is less severe or you are released by your doctor to begin an exercise program. Perform these exercises three times a week to improve strength and prevent lower back pain.

Cat Stretch - Start on your hands and knees with your back straight. Drop your head down and arch your back as high as you can. Hold for about 5 seconds. Next raise your head up, looking straight ahead and slowly lower your back. Let your tummy drop toward the floor. Hold for 5 seconds. Make sure you go slowly with the exercise, take your time and don't rush. Repeat the exercise between 5 to 10 times.

Superman - Start again on your stomach with your entire body flat on the floor. Reach your arms out in front of your head, imagine that you are flying like superman. Lift your arms and upper body off the floor as high as you can and hold for a second before returning to the starting position. Repeat for 10 seconds. Yes, you can put your hands together.

Partial Curl - Start on your back with your knees bent and feet together. Tuck your chin into your chest and tighten your tummy muscles. Reach your arms out in front of your body toward your knees. Curl your body upward; reach your hands over your knees, trying to raise your shoulder blades a couple inches off the floor. Hold for about 3 seconds before returning to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.

Bridge - Start on your back with your knees bent and feet together. Place your hands flat on the floor at your side. Tighten your tummy muscles and lift your hips off the floor. Raise your hips toward the ceiling and as high as you possibly can. Hold this position for 5 seconds and then lower back to the starting position. Repeat the exercise 10 times.

Back pain is one of the most common medical problems but through proper care and exercise the risk of developing it can be significantly decreased. Try these exercises, remember to do them slowly, and take care of your back.