Seven Minutes to a Pain-Free Back

If you suffer from back pain this book is here to help you to discover How to get relief from back pain in minutes That

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Seven Minutes to a Pain-Free Back

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  • Pain-Free Back, get back relief in minutes, tretches and exercises

Table of contents :
Foreword
1. Your Back Hurts!
2. Reasons Your Back May Hurt
3. Main Back Care routine
4. Pilates Core Work
5. Backbends and Counterposes
6. Chair Work
7. Other Back Care Solutions
8. You Are What You Eat
You're Done!
About the Author
Also By Melinda Wright
Acknowledgments
References

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Reviews for this book

"Concise and easy to follow. What I like most about this book it's simplicity and lack of preachiness. The author explains how the different muscles work in layman's terms. The exercises are easy to follow and don't require a huge time commitment, making this an easy addition to my schedule. After following the guide for only a few days, I'm already feeling the results. I spend up to 10 hours a day at my desk and have been sedentary for the past couple of years. These simple and effective (and easy) exercises and poses are just what I need to relieve my aching back and motivate me to move more." -Mandy Lee Jevon, Canada "Ease Your Back Ache With Simple Back Exercises. I like the fact these exercises are simple and I can even do them on the beach! As a long-time back sufferer, they really do help. Do them every morning - only 7 minutes and any time your back feels stiff!" -Shazzie, United Kingdom

"Clear, concise and value-packed. This book is clearly written with a great range of exercises that I'm starting to feel the benefits of and great illustrations and images to follow. Highly recommended if you have any back issues or leg issues like me." James Brannan, United Kingdom "Easy to follow exercises. Fantastic book. Doing these exercises daily helps to keep me pain-free. I like the quick reference guides although it doesn't take long to build a routine around these specific back care exercises. The 4 Chair Work exercises are a welcomed break from my desk job" -Robyn Haddican, Hong Kong "Excellent set of back exercises! This is an excellent book if you are experiencing back pain - and apparently, I'm not alone, as 80% of people will suffer back pain at some point in their life! This book contains a great set of basic back care exercises, some that my physio has also recommended to me, but some of them were new to me. I liked this quick, basic set of exercises, and you can add more if you wish, which means I'm more likely to continue doing them! I especially like the knee circles exercise, as it gave the lower back a great massage - highly recommended!" -Ellen, United Kingdom "Great tips and interesting insights. Back pain is almost a daily reality for me working from home! While I was familiar with most of the stretches in this book it was interesting to learn why and how each move helps to relieve pain. I also never realised there might be a connection to my body aches and the food I eat! " -Rachael Low, Australia

"Excellent and accessible guide to relieve back pain! I'm so glad to have this gem of a book in my hands. This is an excellent, easy to follow guide and series of yoga and pilates stretches to ease and prevent back pain. In this book Melinda shares her many years of experience and wisdom in working with clients to relieve back pain. Not only this, but her genuine care to help people shines through. Highly recommended!" -Ralitsa Ivanova, Bulgaria "Easy-to-follow instructions that really helped! This book is so welcome in my life. Clear, concise, easy-to-follow instructions, demonstration pictures, and even video links! An amazing reference book that my husband and I both found helpful to ease our back pain. Melinda explains some physiology too which is well explained and useful to know." -Rose O, United States "Great Guide. This book is a great source of information. Melinda wrote an excellent, no-nonsense guide for anyone interested in quick and effective back pain relief, or prevention. I don't like books that talk around the reason I bought the book in the first place. It's helpful and concise. In addition, she created a series of videos, which take you through the exercises to make sure no one injures themselves. What more can you ask for? " -Kasia S, Poland "Simple yet effective. Melinda is an extraordinary yoga and pilates instructor! I am happy she has decided to share her knowledge and expertise in this book. The exercises are simple yet effective and come with clear pictures. I have been doing this routine for a couple of years now and have noticed

amazing results! The back pain I've had postpartum has disappeared thanks to these exercises." -Ash1514, United States "Clear instructions for core strength.100% agree with the author that prevention is better than the cure when it comes to back pain. This book contains great advice and simple but effective stretches to improve flexibility and core strength to help try and avoid those troublesome backs. Exercises can all be done to your own ability and progressively increased over time and could be fit into anyone’s day in those few minutes. Simple diagrams and links to videos also given in the book to make sure they are done safely and correctly." -Carl S, United Kingdom

Seven Minutes to a Pain-Free Back Pilates and Yoga Exercises to Ease Back Pain, Strengthen Your Core, and Improve Your Posure! Melinda Wright

© Copyright 2022 by Melinda Wright. All rights reserved. The contents of this book may not be reproduced, duplicated, or transmitted without direct written permission from the author. Under no circumstances will any legal responsibility or blame be held against the publisher for any reparation, damages, or monetary loss due to the information herein, either directly or indirectly. Legal Notice: This book is copyright protected. This is only for personal use. You cannot amend, distribute, sell, use, quote, or paraphrase any part or the content within this book without the consent of the author Disclaimer Notice: Please note the information contained within this document is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Every attempt has been made to provide accurate, up-to-date, and reliable complete information. No warranties of any kind are expressed or implied. Readers acknowledge that the author is not engaging in the rendering of legal, financial, medical or professional advice. The content of this book has been derived from various sources. Please consult a licensed professional before attempting any techniques outlined in this book. By reading this document, the reader agrees that under no circumstances is the author responsible for any losses, direct or indirect, which are incurred as a result of the use of the information contained within this document, including, but not limited to, errors, omissions, or inaccuracies.

For Mignon Juliette Remzi-Bey Gatcke (Mom), and all those who have suffered back pain and been debilitated, disheartened, and depressed by it...to have the courage to take action yourselves and trust that you can heal.

Contents

Foreword 1. Your Back Hurts! 2. Reasons Your Back May Hurt 3. Main Back Care routine 4. Pilates Core Work 5. Backbends and Counterposes 6. Chair Work 7. Other Back Care Solutions 8. You Are What You Eat You're Done! About the Author Also By Melinda Wright Acknowledgments

References

Foreword

Melinda is a wonderful experienced Yoga and Pilates instructor. I have enjoyed attending her classes twice a week for over a year and am very glad that she has decided to share her expertise and knowledge in this excellent book. As a GP I have seen many patients with back pain and worked with physiotherapists who have advised similar exercises. Melinda has picked the best ones. I have seen how effective they are in demonstrating them to my mother. A good mother-and-daughter bonding experience! Melinda takes you through each exercise with clear instructions and with pictures. There are also videos and a summary sheet at the end to help you incorporate them into your daily practice. Her warm and engaging style motivates you to take the steps to improve your health and well-being. Thank you Melinda for helping us all with caring for our backs and improving our well-being! Caroline Oliver, MBBS FRCGP

Chapter 1

Your Back Hurts!

About 80 percent of people will suffer from back pain at some stage in their lives. You are not alone. It is extremely debilitating and unpleasant. In this book, you will learn some simple exercises that you can do to ease your back pain. This book is short and concise, easy to read, and doable at any level of fitness or age. I am not going to use fillers. I will get straight to the point so you can get results as soon as possible. I know you don’t feel like moving but you must! Only you can do the work to ease your pain and make sure it stays away. Yoga means a union between the mind, body, and spirit, and they are all connected through our breathing. “The medical applications of Yoga are numerous: It can help those with heart disease, high blood pressure, musculoskeletal problems, and in particular with the prevention and treatment of back pain.” (Pullig Schatz MD, 2016). Pilates was developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 1920s. Together with his wife Clara, they developed and taught exercises in their body-conditioning gym in New York City. His method, which they called “Contrology”, focused attention on the core postural muscles. These exercises also helped to

align the spine. The Pilates method taught people to be aware of their breathing and of the correct alignment of the spine. These exercises strengthened their deep abdominal muscles. I am a Yoga and Pilates instructor and have been helping people with debilitating back pain to keep their bodies strong and flexible for almost 3 decades now. I have also had my share of back pain, so I know how challenging it is to do anything at all when your back hurts. Many of these exercises are soothing and calming to your whole system and great to do when you are actually having back pain. I encourage you to listen to your body and if you are having an acute attack of back pain or have injured your back then rest until you feel you can manage this routine.

Chapter 2

Reasons Your Back May Hurt

My back aches at the end of a long day! My back aches when I sit too much! My back aches when I stand too much! My back aches when I walk around too much! My back aches after gardening! My back aches when I wake up in the morning! My back aches when I have my period! These are some of the complaints I have heard from clients many times. Back pain may be due to the joints, muscles, nerves, or discs not working smoothly for some reason. It is to best to check with your doctor so that they can rule out anything like herniated or slipped discs, bulging discs, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, pinched nerves, arthritis, inflammation, or even fractures. If you get the go-ahead from your doctor to move gently, then these exercises are for you! Most of these exercises and techniques are very relaxing and easy so you may be surprised at how effective they are. Our backs need loving care when they are hurting so we can encourage the muscles and the entire nervous system to relax.

The chronic, incessant kind of back pain you are experiencing may be due to lifestyle issues such as bad posture, wearing unsupportive shoes, lifting heavy objects, or being overweight. Whatever the reason you will most likely benefit from the gentle exercises in this book. Remember to check with your doctor if the pain doesn’t ease. Listen to your body for any signs of discomfort or pain. Once a physical injury, disc, or joint issue has been ruled out there are still a couple of reasons your back may be sore. The following are common triggers for back pain: Tight muscles Muscles may become shortened and thus feel tight due to either too much activity or too little. If there is a continuous, repetitive movement that you perform every day in your daily life, this could cause pain and tightness in the muscles. Often the erector spinea muscles which run up and down either side of the spine become tight and rope-like. One side may be tighter than the other, particularly on your dominant hand side and this can pull the spine off center. Sitting in a certain position for too long may also cause these muscles to tighten. Also, standing too long may cause them to become fatigued and prone to spasms. Lack of stretching also causes muscles to shorten and get tight. Weak muscles Our back muscles need to be strong to hold us upright all day. They may become fatigued causing pain and slouching if they are not worked regularly. Weak core muscles also contribute to back pain.

Chapter 3

Main Back Care routine

You can start today to ease your pain with a few minutes of stretching and strengthening. These first seven exercises should take around 7 minutes altogether complete. If you can add the other exercises in afterward to strengthen your back and core muscles, then this will be helpful to prevent any future back pain. These 7 simple stretches will bring blood flow to your muscles and joints and thus aid in your healing. Stretching also nurtures your joints by slowing down any degeneration that occurs with aging. Before you reach for your pain medication, let’s try a few stretches to see if these will ease the pain. The following are basic stretches designed to ease your back spasms and release tension. What you will need is a yoga mat or a floor surface of around the same size perhaps covered with a towel or blanket. Wear comfortable clothing, be barefoot if possible, or wear socks. Try to be hydrated by drinking a glass of water. If you have had a small snack before starting these exercises that is fine, however if you have had a larger meal, wait a couple of hours to allow digestion to occur. Use your breathing to guide you. If an exercise is too difficult and you feel that you cannot breathe you are working too hard. Ease

off until your breathing becomes deep and natural even while you are performing the stretch or exercise. We will start with the first one which often gives immediate relief. The first 7 exercises are done lying on your back which is nice and relaxing! Lying Down Flat Lie flat on your back on a flat surface. If this position hurts your back, then bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor. Lie here for a couple of minutes becoming aware of your breathing. You can place your hands on your belly and breathe into your hands. Notice the rise and fall of your abdomen and also how the back feels in this position. The purpose here is to get the downward weight of gravity off your back and to allow the spongy discs between the vertebrae to decompress. Imagine this happening as you lie here. Using visualization helps to bring more awareness to your body. See a video of this lying flat at: https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=zNofcqq5K7g&t=2s

The Pelvic Tilt Stay on your back and bend your knees up to the ceiling with your feet flat on the floor. Breathe in to prepare and when you breathe out press your lower back strongly into the floor. You really need to be on a flat surface for this

and not on a bed. The firmness of the floor gives some resistance to push into and this naturally tilts the pelvis. Do about 5 or 6 of these with your breathing as follows: Breathe in, when your back is in its neutral position, and breathe out to push your back into the floor. Breathe in to release your back, breathe out to push it into the floor again, and so on. When you push your back into the floor your stomach muscles will contract gently too. Scoop your stomach muscles towards your back. Do this exercise nice and slowly. See a video of this pelvic tilt exercise at: https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=UBt1duxKRGk

Knees-to-Chest (wind relieving pose) Hug your knees into your chest and gently massage your lower back into the mat. It’s also called the wind-relieving pose as the knees push on the stomach and may release any trapped wind in the intestines. Trapped wind often contributes to back pain. Better out than in! Use a gentle rocking motion to pull the knees back and forth. When you pull your knees into your chest you will find it easy to naturally breathe out here. Release the knees slightly and breathe in. Do this pulling in and releasing of the knees for about 5 breaths. Remember to move slowly with these exercises.

See a video of this knees-to-chest stretch at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4S61GKghRM&t=4s

Knee circles Cross your ankles to do the next movement. Let your knees fall slightly away from your body while still holding onto the tops of your knees. Make tiny circles with your knees as though you have pencils on your knees and are drawing circles on the ceiling. You will find that your weight distributes around your tailbone in this exercise, and you may feel a gentle massaging action around the tailbone. Draw about 3 circles with your knees moving in one direction then cross the other ankle on top and draw 3 circles in the other direction. See a video of this knee circles exercise at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7pyJ7gzb9s

Knee-to-chest Stretch

Draw your right knee into your chest. Hug it tightly as you leave your left leg straight along the floor. This pose stretches into the front of the hip on the left side which is the psoas or hip flexor muscle. This muscle can draw the pelvis backward if it’s too tight, causing strain on the lower back. While you are here circle your right foot around your ankle 3 times in one direction and 3 times in the other direction. This will release your ankles and gives you something to do while you are taking time in this stretch. Take 5 full breaths here. Repeat this on the other side. See a video of the knee-to-chest stretch at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXLc_Ifii0I&t=19s

The Hamstring Stretch The following stretch may look purely like a leg stretch however it will really help your back. The hamstring muscles connect from sitting bones and run down the back of the leg to the back of the knee. These hamstring muscles tighten up from all the sitting we do. Sitting is one of the least beneficial positions for lower back health. If the hamstrings are tight, as they are in most people, they pull the pelvis forward and tug on the lower back pulling it straighter in the lumbar region where there should be a nice natural curve. This exercise is best done lying down on the floor as this allows the spine to have a firm, flat support against which to straighten.

I often see people (runners and walkers) trying to stretch their hamstrings while standing with their one leg up on a bench or a railing, rounding their backs. This does not effectively stretch the hamstrings and can injure the back.

Lie on your back on the floor. It is possible to perform this exercise on a bed however this is not ideal. Use a strap around your right foot if you like. Take your leg up to the ceiling. Flex your foot if possible. Try to keep your leg very straight so that your quadricep muscles are engaged. Your kneecap will be pulled up, but not locked. Keep your hips square to the ceiling. Breathe deeply and focus on the back of your right leg. If you feel it mainly behind your knee, ease off a little. You want to feel it in the muscle belly which is right in the center of the hamstring. The key is to stay in this stretch for at least 5 full deep breaths or one minute. If you stay in the stretch for any shorter time than this, the muscle will not release properly or become more flexible. See a video of this hamstring stretch at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cj1JBMEDSW4 Even though these stretches take time, you may be able to save yourself many doctors and chiropractic fees by performing this simple stretch every day. Some children and teenagers have tight hamstrings so it’s not a matter of age. The main reason for this is long hours of sitting which shortens these

muscles at the back of the legs. Doing this hamstring stretch daily will help to ease your back muscles. Lying Twist Hug both knees back to your chest again and prepare for a twist. Take a deep breath in and let your knees go over to your right side. Ease into this stretch as you try to extend your left arm along the floor in line with your left shoulder. You can pull your knees more over to the right with your right hand if that feels good.

Take a few breaths here and try to relax into this twist. One of the benefits of twisting is that it can realign the spine. Repeat this on the left side. See a video demonstration of the lying twist at: https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=QeMAHp9FAkk&t=5s You have now performed these 7 different exercises slowly and in a relaxed way. Let’s see if this has helped your back at all. You may choose to pause here and assess how your feel. For a Free PDF of these 7 back exercises go to: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/jxjggm05kv To see a video of all these 7 stretches linked together go to: https://youtu.be/0Nii--kNuoc

Add the stretches and exercises in the following chapters if you have more time and energy.

Chapter 4

Pilates Core Work

Before we start to exercise it is useful to get familiar with the muscles in the core.

The core muscles act as stabilizers for the back and they hold up the spine. It's best to use them in most our movements in daily life. No muscles work in isolation. There are deeper muscles and more superficial ones. The core muscles support your back, and your back muscles support your core in a symbiotic relationship. There are 3 different sets of muscles in the abdominal area. This picture shows a guy pointing toward his well-defined stomach muscles. The ones you can see running in a V-shape are the External Obliques. There are deeper ones like this going in the opposite direction called Internal Obliques. They help with movements that twist and turn the body. They also provide a net-like support to the trunk and shape the waistline. The muscles running up either side of the stomach, the Rectus Abdominis which are often called the six-pack are the most superficial muscles. They stabilize the ribcage and pelvis. These muscles assist in bending forward, by curving the body. The Transverse Abdominus muscle runs under the last two mentioned muscle groups. They are the most overlooked yet important muscles to support your back. These muscles run across the abdomen in a band and are used to pull the navel toward the spine. They also act as a natural corset for the body, holding the organs in place too. If you visualize these muscles as you work them it will be very helpful for you. The more you can focus and do the exercises with your mind fully engaged with your body, the quicker you will see results. This mind-body connection is the essence of both Pilates and Yoga. It is best achieved through breathing which can be seen as the link between the mind and body. The core work here will focus on the Transverse Abdominus (TA) muscle as that is usually the one that most needs strengthening if you suffer from back pain. This muscle is surprisingly difficult to find and connect with. Many people have never connected with their TA and miss it completely. I

have seen people with a well-defined six-pack with absolutely no TA strength at all. The six-pack is also only seen on very lean people. Some people are so focused on working on their six-pack that the TA muscle gets neglected. The TA is also a much deeper muscle and requires a lot of brain-to-muscle nerve connections to switch it on. Most people do not have the time and energy to do this. It’s sometimes a matter of choosing a pain-free existence or years of back pain. Let’s look at some exercises to get this muscle working for us. Pilates is the best way to get in touch with your TA. I have chosen some of the best Pilates deep-core exercises to do here. The Hover Lie on the floor on your stomach. Prop yourself up onto your elbows. Keep your elbows under your shoulders and lift your hips off the mat. Stay on your elbows and knees. Many people are tempted to do a full plank position and lift their knees off the floor. Keeping the knees down helps you to isolate your transverse abdominal muscles as you focus on pulling your navel in towards your spine. Suck your abdomen in as though you are trying to pull up a zip from your pubic bone to your navel. Try to keep the back in its neutral position.

There is a tendency to flatten the back here or even to round it. If your back really hurts, you may lift your hips a little higher. When this hover feels easy,

lower your hips a little and pull in your stomach even tighter. Remember to release tension in your neck by gazing down towards your mat. This position needs to be held for at least 30 seconds. If you feel pain in your neck and shoulders, then come down and try again after a few seconds of rest. Repeat this hover exercise 3 times. Aim to build up to a minute of holding your hover. At first, you may only be able to hold it for a few seconds. Use a timer to measure your progress. Single-Leg Stretch Lie on your back on your mat. Bring one knee towards your chest and straighten the other leg out towards the bottom of your mat at about a 45degree angle from the floor.

Keep your abdominal muscles pulled in towards your spine. Try to keep your spine in a neutral position throughout this exercise which means that there will only be a little gap between the floor and your back when you are lying down. Breathe out as you extend your leg and breathe in as you change your legs. Focus on your lower abdominal muscles doing the work here. If not, you will feel it mainly in the top of your leg at the front which are the hip flexor or psoas muscles. These muscles connect the torso with the legs and can become tired from overuse. Train yourself to use your abdominals more deeply by really thinking about the movement as you perform it. If your back

hurts during this exercise, then push it into the floor until your back muscles are strong enough to hold the spine in its neutral position. This single-leg stretch is not a fast-peddling kind of motion. It is a slow and controlled exercise. Think of “Contrology” which is what Pilates was called by Joseph Pilates before it was named after him. Keep the knee in towards the chest for a full 2 seconds before you change legs. Perform about 8 to 12 repetitions on each side. Tiny Steps Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent up to the ceiling. Firm your navel towards your spine whilst keeping the spine in its neutral position. Lift your right leg up to a table-top position. This means to take your leg up with the knee bent at 90 degrees so that your shin is parallel to the floor and your knee is directly above your hip.

Keep your hips square to the ceiling and keep them very stable. Take your left leg up into a table-top position so that both legs are up, knees are at 90 degrees, and shins parallel to the floor. Take your right foot down, then your left foot, placing it quietly on the floor, with your right foot fully down before you bring your left foot down. Your belly needs to remain set firm and flat during this exercise. Keep taking the legs up and down slowly and with controlled movements. Think about relaxing the legs and working from your

core. Press your fingers into your lower stomach area and feel if it is firm to make sure you are working the right muscles. Lead with the right leg for 8 repetitions and then change sides and perform 8 repetitions on the left side. Get your Quick Reference Guide for Core Work at: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/v7zpwqxbnt See a video of the Pilates core work at: https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=VtQPVZpRq6Y

Chapter 5

Backbends and Counterposes

Sphynx pose Lie on your stomach and place your elbows directly under your shoulders. Keep your forearms parallel with each other and press them into the floor as you open your chest to the front. Look forward. Squeeze your shoulder blades down your back. This pose creates a nice stretch for your abdominal muscles and is a good flexibility exercise for your back. Lift your sternum up away from your pubic bone. Try to relax the buttocks. Hold this pose for 5 breaths.

If this pose is manageable to you, move on to the next one which is the Cobra. If your back feels like it has had enough back bending after this, then

move into the Child’s Pose. Cobra Pose Your back muscles need to be strong to perform the difficult task of holding up your precious spine all day long. To strengthen the back muscles the next exercise is helpful. Roll onto your stomach and lie with your hands next to your chest and your elbows pointing up to the ceiling. Try not to use your hands and arms when you lift your chest up.

They are merely there to support you. Remember that a snake (after which this pose is named) does not have arms! You may not be able to lift as high as this photo shows and you also may not be able to smile as it’s a very difficult exercise (especially if your back is tight and sore). Just do what you can manage and remember to breathe. Hold this Cobra Pose for 3 full breaths and then come down and try it again for a total of 3 repetitions. Try to hold the last one for a little longer if your lower back is feeling good. The Cat Pose Kneel on all fours with your knees directly underneath your hips and your hands directly underneath your shoulders. Press the floor away with your knees and hands whilst you lift the back of your waist up to the ceiling, curving the spine in a rounded position. This is a wonderful stretch for tight back muscles. Release the curve and come to a neutral spine. Breathe in when

your spine is in the neutral position and breathe out when you move into a cat-back again.

Whilst in the Cat Pose pull your navel to your spine and also lift your pelvic floor muscles upwards. Perform this Cat Pose 3 to 5 times moving in time with your breathing. The Child’s Pose After performing any exercise that arches the back like a cobra pose, it is beneficial to do a counterpose. The Child’s Pose stretches your back in the opposite direction to a backbend and releases the back muscles. It is a soothing pose. Sometimes if you wake up with a tight back it’s great to roll over and do this in bed.

Kneel and open your knees out a bit wider than your hips. Keep your big toes together as you reach forward, allowing your belly and chest to descend between your legs. Reach your arms along the floor or bed as far as they will

go. Remember to relax your elbows and shoulders. Push your sitting bones towards your heels. Take at least 5 deep breaths in this pose. Get your free cheat sheet for these exercises at: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/vkzrjndxba To see a video of these backbends and counterposes all done together see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T92mlrMqAzY

Chapter 6

Chair Work

Sometimes when we are stuck in a chair or have limited mobility these chair stretches and exercises can really help our backs. A client is a flight attendant and used to suffer from back pain after standing on long flights. She started doing the following stretches at intervals during the flight and has had much relief ever since. For the following exercises, you will need a sturdy chair with a backrest. If the chair is on wheels or slides on the floor, please push it up against a wall or a table so that it is secure. Chair Back Stretch For this exercise, you can use a chair or a low table. If you are more flexible in your shoulders, you may choose to use a table or a countertop.

Place your hands securely on the chair. Make sure the chair is not going to move as you walk your feet away from it and pull your hips to the back. It’s similar to a downward-facing dog pose in yoga, just easier on the wrists and shoulders. Try to straighten your back in this stretch. It’s more important to have your back straight than your legs straight, so feel free to bend your knees a little. This stretches the muscles on either side of the spine. Hold it for 3 breaths and then stand upright. Take a few breaths while standing up straight, then do this chair back stretch again 3 times. Chair Twist Sit on a chair facing forward with your feet flat on the floor. Take a deep breath in to prepare, then twist around toward the side, using the back of the chair to pull you around. Make sure you keep your spine in a vertical alignment from your tailbone to the crown of your head. Twist around your spine, imagining that it’s a spiral staircase going up to the ceiling. Try to keep your sitting bones down and your knees still. Smile!

There are many good reasons to do twists. One of them is to re-align the spine. Another benefit is that they have a detoxifying effect on the internal organs, squeezing them in a sponge-like way. Another benefit is that they trim the waist. Twisting always feels best on an empty stomach so perhaps do this one in the mornings before breakfast. Chair Side Stretch Sit in a chair facing forwards. Raise your right arm straight up to the ceiling, and turn your palm to the left side, facing it inwards. Hold onto the seat of the chair with your left hand as you stretch over to the left side. Keep both sitting bones down on the chair and aim to feel the stretch more down your side seam than in your shoulder. Keep your ribcage tucked in and your right shoulder in its socket.

This side stretch is great to relieve tension in the quadratus lumborum which is a deeper muscle on either side of the lower back. It also lengthens

the waist and makes you feel taller and slimmer. Hold this side stretch for 3 full breaths on each side. The Chair Forward Bend Sit on the chair facing forwards. Sit more towards the edge of the seat so that just your sitting bones are on the chair and the backs of your legs are free. Lean forward with your legs as straight as you can manage. Feel a stretch in both hamstrings.

This stretch lengthens the hamstrings and releases the lower back. You may choose to open your legs out either side of your body which gives a deeper lower back release. Stay here for 5 breaths. Come back upright slowly and carefully, being mindful of your back. Get your free PDF for Chair Exercises at: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/nvrtrxnhes To see a video of all these chair stretches go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0egWE14ITU&t=10s

Chapter 7

Other Back Care Solutions

Massage A good way to ease tight back muscles and fascia is through massage. Getting a massage is a relaxing treat for most of us and it's good for you too! You could use it as a reward to yourself for sticking to a new routine.

Find someone who gives a good, strong massage. Not too hard where you are tensing up your muscles in fear and pain, and not too soft either, where there is not enough deep muscle release. Tennis Ball Massage Self-Massage can easily be performed with a couple of tennis balls. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place a tennis

ball on each side of your back in the lumbar region. Be gentle with yourself by placing some of your weight on your feet and not putting your full weight on the tennis balls. If it feels okay, start to ease more of your weight onto the tennis balls and move around gently as you allow them to massage into any tight areas. Move the tennis balls further up your back and continue with this massage all the way up to your shoulders. You may also like to place the tennis balls under your glutes. Tight gluteal muscles often contribute to back pain. Remember to breathe deeply during this tennis ball massage. It can feel very intensive at first. You are in charge here so back off if there is any pain. You may catch yourself holding your breath. Remember that if you can’t breathe then you are going too hard on yourself.

The only challenge with at-home tennis ball massage is you may have someone who likes to hog the ball (a furry someone). Heat and Cold packs Ice is good if you have injured your back and it is acutely painful. Wrap an ice pack in a small towel and put it over the painful area for about 10 minutes. If your back pain is more chronic you may choose to use heat. You can either buy or make a wheat heat pack that you put in the microwave oven to heat up*. Alternatively, you may choose to use a hot water bottle. Sometimes this heat on your back is all that is needed to allow the tension to dissolve and eliminate the pain.

*Be careful when heating up your wheat heat pack in the microwave. I have managed to set one alight! It’s a good idea to heat for 1 minute at a time as sometimes the heat gets too intense in one spot of the pack causing it to burn. Hot Salt Baths If you have a bathtub at home fill it with hot water and some Epsom salts or sea salt and enjoy a relaxing bath. As you sink into the hot water your muscle tension literally dissolves. The salts contain magnesium which is known to relax muscle tension.

Minerals like magnesium and potassium found in Epsom salts and sea salt can be drawn into the bloodstream during a warm bath. In addition, the salts help to draw impurities from the skin, leaving you with a healthy glow and soft skin. Lying in a hot bath can ease pain by taking the weight off joints and muscles. The magnesium-rich salt helps relieve muscle spasms and cramps. Kidney Massage The lower back region encompasses the kidneys. Our kidneys work hard for us night and day filtering waste. One way to soothe the lower back area is to use an energy medicine technique known as the kidney massage. Rub your hands together to create some heat then place the palms of your hands (which emit a fair amount of electromagnetic energy) over the kidney area. Rub gently in circles. The kidney area is just above the back of the waist in the back of the body.

The warmth from your hands will feel soothing and energizing in this area. The adrenals which sit above the kidneys will also be calmed. Sometimes being in pain can cause us to enter the flight or flight response where adrenaline and cortisol are released. These two hormones can be corrosive and damaging to our cells, not to mention cause premature aging. Less is More This concept can apply to exercise and pushing oneself hard physically. Doing to much without taking sufficient rest can cause more harm than good. Side effects of overdoing it include impaired immunity, chronic fatigue, and an achy body. So, can less be more? If we are able to walk 5 kilometers before becoming tired, perhaps we should stop halfway, or two-thirds of the way, in order to save some energy for other tasks. We need energy for important bodily functions too.

If you are the main homemaker or caregiver at home, it’s even more important to conserve some energy for the chores that keep your home and its inhabitants happy and healthy. You could ask yourself: How little exercise do I need to perform in order to stay healthy, and happy? In Yoga and Pilates, we aim to balance flexibility and strength. It also depends on your personal energy levels and how much exercise you choose to do. If you love walking on the beach, dancing, and bike riding as I do, it’s natural for your body to feel overworked at times. Always listen to your body and rest when necessary. "Where your attention goes, your energy flows" (Joe Dispenza). Think of how much we focus on outer things and thus our energy flows out from us. Taking time to focus your attention inward on the body and your breathing enables your energy to be restored and for healing to occur. Just feeling your feet or your hands from the inside every now and then throughout the day will change your energy levels for the better.

Chapter 8

You Are What You Eat

“If you are struggling with your health in any way, the game has to change. Eating restorative foods – and eliminating foods that feed problems – is the most critical aspect of healing any illness or condition.” Anthony William. Have you ever considered that the inflammation that you are experiencing as back pain may be helped considerably by changing your diet and taking a few helpful supplements? If you are resistant to this idea of change, perhaps it at least deserves some contemplation. It’s more helpful to think about replacing than eliminating the foods you love that you know are bad for you. When you are filling up on all the healthy foods, there is not much room on your plate, or time left to eat the foods that negatively affect your health. Anthony William, The Medical Medium, has helped tens of thousands of people to heal from excruciating back pain, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and many other chronic illnesses. He says that our aches, pains, and chronic illnesses can be attributed to certain viruses and bacteria, mostly undiscovered yet by science and research. Heavy metals, pesticides, and perfumes also play a role in making us sick. He recommends removing the

following “troublemaker foods" from our diets: eggs, dairy, gluten, pork, corn, and canola oil. Replacing soft drinks, excessive salt, and caffeinated drinks with more healthy choices will take your healing to the next level. Anthony recommends adding beneficial foods like wild blueberries and many other fruits, celery juice, herbs, potatoes, and vegetables. Many delicious foods are gifts directly from nature. If this sounds like a tall order for you, you could perhaps start with celery juice. It’s been said to be a miracle food and classed as a herb. I could not write a book without mentioning this, as it has given me relief from a myriad of health conditions.

Most people are afraid of eating too much fruit due to its sugar content. The sugar in fruit is, however, just what our bodies need to give our muscles, brain, and entire body the glucose needed for its essential functions. Eating a variety of fruits also buffers up your immune system and thus helps to fight disease. Eating fruit on an empty stomach is the most beneficial way to eat it, as in this way it is digested very quickly. If you eat fruit with other foods, then its absorption gets slowed down. It can ferment with the other food it’s mixed within the gut, and therefore is not as nourishing. It is better for you to eat fruit rather than any other dessert so indulge in your favorite fruit whenever you get the chance.

Supplements for optimal health include liquid zinc, liquid vitamin B12, and vitamin C. Although there are many more supplements available to improve your health, these are a good start. Another supplement that reduces inflammation is Turmeric. You can buy supplements or purchase the powdered spice in bulk. Take a teaspoon every day in some water or juice.

You're Done!

Movement is medicine. Feeling at ease and comfortable in your body is a wonderful way to live. Spiritual teachers often tell us that we are not our bodies, however, it certainly helps when they are easy to live and breathe in. When our bodies are calling out in pain, they are impossible to ignore. Our main intention in doing these exercises is to make our lives easier and more joyful. Our bodies are designed to move! If we are too sore from a strong workout, or too tight from not exercising enough, then we cannot enjoy life to the fullest. Balance is thus the key in life and in any Yoga, Pilates, or other exercises you may do. Everyone is encouraged to work at their own level. Even if you have been kept down with excruciating back pain, you are wise to take it slowly with these gentle movements. In this book, you have learned how to do a few simple exercises that may give you relief from your back pain. You have learned a few exercises to strengthen your core muscles in order to support your spine properly. You have also learned some other techniques to keep your back feeling its best, like massage and heat treatments. Remember to do these exercises a minimum of 3 times per week. Every day is best, even if you are not

experiencing back pain. Prevention is much better than cure. Move often and well. Treat your body as the precious gift it is. It takes about 21 days to form a habit. Make it a habit to do a few of these exercises every day to take care of your back especially, as well as the rest of your body. Your mind and soul will benefit too from the deep and mindful breathing that accompanies these exercises. Get your free PDF of the 7 back exercises at: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/jxjggm05kv Get your free PDF for Pilates Core Work at: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/v7zpwqxbnt Get your free PDF for Backbends and Counterposes at: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/vkzrjndxba Get your free PDF for Chair Work at: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/nvrtrxnhes For video demonstrations of the exercises in this book check out: https://shorturl.at/klrL2

If you found any benefit in this book, please let others know by giving it an honest review. Readers like you make a big difference in helping others who

may also benefit from this. Wishing you the best in your back care journey.

About the Author

Melinda Wright is a Pilates and Yoga teacher who was born in South Africa and taught classes there and in the U.K., New Zealand, Australia, and Hong Kong. She has helped many people to improve their strength and flexibility while reducing pain and enjoying their exercise time. Melinda teaches daily classes in her studio as well as outdoors on the beach. She has been active in the health and fitness industry for 30 years. Learn more at: melindawright72.wixsite.com You can see the videos for exercises in this book at: https://shorturl.at/gyIOS If you have any questions regarding online classes or any of the exercises email: mailto:[email protected] All rights reserved. The contents of this book may not be reproduced, duplicated, or transmitted without direct written permission from the author. Under no circumstances will any legal responsibility or blame be held against the publisher for any reparation, damages, or monetary loss due to the information herein, either directly or indirectly. Legal Notice: This book is copyright protected. This is only for personal use. You cannot amend,

distribute, sell, use, quote, or paraphrase any part or the content within this book without the consent of the author Disclaimer Notice: Please note the information contained within this document is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Every attempt has been made to provide accurate, up-to-date, and reliable complete information. No warranties of any kind are expressed or implied. Readers acknowledge that the author is not engaging in the rendering of legal, financial, medical or professional advice. The content of this book has been derived from various sources. Please consult a licensed professional before attempting any techniques outlined in this book. By reading this document, the reader agrees that under no circumstances is the author responsible for any losses, direct or indirect, which are incurred as a result of the use of the information contained within this document, including, but not limited to, errors, omissions, or inaccuracies.

Also By Melinda Wright

The second book in the Pain Relief in Minutes Series is: https://books2read.com/u/b5jBLO

Acknowledgments

I am truly grateful to the following individuals who provide me with help and support. Without them, this book would not be here. Pauline Ching, my friend, editor, and accountability partner who cheers me along every minute. Joan Bouttell, Robyn Haddican, Tracey Godfrey, Bart, and Sytske Kimman, who were my first clients in the studio and continue to attend classes here. Therese Owen, who stoically attended Pilates sessions even when her back was sore and proved that these exercises really work. All my other clients who have supported me throughout the years, you have taught me about pain and how to persevere through it. My tea goddesses Kasia Stawiarska, Emma Place, and Ralitsa Ivanova who give me the support and love of friendship and tribe. My friend and neighbor, Pebble Loh for being great support to me always. The Medical Medium for speaking the truth about healing and helping many people who suffer from chronic illnesses. My angels and guides who lead me every day. Mom and Dad, who have both had your share of back pain, for all your love

and support from afar. My loving and supportive husband, Greg for always loving me the way I am. My beautiful daughter, Amy for being true to yourself and giving my life meaning. I am truly grateful to you all. I appreciate all you add to my life.

References

Chopra, D. 1994. The seven spiritual laws of success. U.S. New World Library/Amber–Allen Publishing. Dispenza, J. 2012. Breaking the habit of being yourself. U.S. Encephalon, Inc. Herdman, A. 2004. The Pilates directory, U.K., The Ivy Press Limited. Lasater, J. 2005. Yoga abs. U.S. Rodmell Press. Northrup, C., 2016, Making life easy, U.S., Hay House, Inc. Pullig Schatz, M. 2016. Back care basics. U.S. Shambala. William, A. 2021, Medical Medium: secrets behind chronic and mystery illness and how to finally heal, U.S. Hay House, Inc.