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Back Pain

​This Tailgate Talk is part of the NLTAPA collection.

Chances are at some point in your life you will experience back pain, according to the Mayo Clinic back pain is a major reason for people missing work. It doesn’t matter if you’re out on the road working or sitting behind a desk, back pain can start for a multitude of reasons, such as:

  • Your age

  • Lack of exercise

  • Excess weight

  • Repetitive heavy lifting without proper form

  • Standing or sitting in a slouched position

  • And even smoking; smoking reduces the blood flow which in turn can lead to the proper nutrients not getting delivered to the lower disks in your back.

In this tailgate talk we will go over some stretches and exercises you can do to strengthen your back and build core strength and coordination.



  • While lying flat on your back with your legs extended out in front of you flat on the floor, grab with both hands behind your right knee and guide your knee to your chest while keeping the other leg straight. Hold this position for 15 seconds and then switch sides.

  • Repeat this movement 2 more times.


  • While laying on your back grab behind your knees and guide them both to your chest, try and flex your neck so your chin is touching your chest. Hold this position for 30 seconds then release.

  • Repeat this movement 2 more times.


  • Start on all fours, with shoulders stacked over wrists and hips over knees. Begin by taking a deep breath in and dropping your belly down while lifting your chest and head up (eyes should be looking at the ceiling) you are now in the cow position.

  • Exhale to move into the cat position, drawing your belly into your spine and rounding your back toward the ceiling, drop your head to relax the muscles in your upper back and neck.

  • Move through these 2 positions 10-15 times.

** if your wrists feel pain you can drop down to your forearms and if your knees need more support you can add a pillow or rolled up blanket under them.



Planks are a great body weight exercise; they help strengthen your core, improve balance and reduce back pain!

  • Start by getting into the push up position with your arms straight and your shoulders stacked over your wrist. Push through the floor and keep your entire body tight; hold this position for 10-15 seconds. Repeat this movement 4 more times.

  • As you become more comfortable with this exercise you can increase the hold time but start off small and build as you go.

  • If your wrists can not take the pressure, drop down to your forearms; the benefits of the plank are still the same in this position, but there is less pressure on the wrists.


This exercise will help strengthen your upper back and work in some shoulder flexibility. 

This link ( will give you a visual on how to do the T’s and Y’s, in the video the instructor is laying down but please note you can do this exercise standing as described below.


  • Stand facing the wall, try and get your toes as close to the wall as possible.

  • Start with your arms out to the side, hands touching the wall.

  • Engage your back muscles and bring your arms in line with your body by removing them from the wall. »» You should feel the muscles in-between your shoulder blades tighten.

  • Hold your arms there for 5 second then return your hands to the wall.

  • Repeat 4 more times.


  • Stand facing the wall, try and get your toes as close to the wall as possible.

  • Start by bringing your arms into a Y position above your head, hands should be touching the wall. »» Arms should be fully extended above your head.

  • Engage your back muscles and move your arms backward so they are in line with your head. »» Your arms should be moving backward (away from the wall); do not bring your head toward the wall.

  • Hold your arms there for 5 seconds then return your hands to the wall.

  • Repeat 4 more times.


Bonus exercise routine!

The Cornell Wellness team create a Back Pain Prevention Exercise routine that you can out by clicking the link below.

Mayo Clinic Back Pain Webpage

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