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Back pain is one of the most common ailments people have, including school-age children. The term back pain can refer to a broad range of uncomfortableness, from a dull ache to a sharp, stabbing pain. Sometimes it develops slowly over time due to poor habits, other times it’s the result of an accident or lifting something heavy. Contrary to popular belief, someone who suddenly does strenuous exercise after a period of idleness can also cause themselves significant back pain. 

There are typically two categories of back pain. Short-term pain is called acute and it can last between a few days to a few weeks, sometimes even a few months. Treatment is usually self-care. This is the category where the majority of back pain sufferers live. Chronic, or long-term pain is different. If pain persists beyond 12 weeks, even despite treatment, it is considered chronic. This is a relatively common condition, affecting about 20 percent of the population.   

If you are a sufferer of back pain, there are a number of exercises you can do in order to alleviate suffering and prevent it from getting worse. The most desirable outcome would be to avoid surgery or a loss of motion, therefore the key to the success of lower back exercises is a tight abdomen that prevents arching. One example is the bridge exercise. Lie down on your back with your knees bent and only your heels touching the floor. As you push your heels into the floor, squeeze your buttocks and lift your hips up off the floor until your shoulders, hips, and knees form a straight line in the air. Hold this position for about 6 seconds, and then slowly lower your hips to the floor and rest for 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise 8 to 12 times. It is very important to do this exercise with the proper form, resulting in a straight line. Keep your core tight and your back straight, and avoid arching. 

Some people find that losing weight helps mitigate back pain. Aerobic exercise is proven to be an effective method of losing weight. It is important, however, not to do any physical activity that makes your back feel worse. If walking, biking, or running are too harsh an impact, swimming is a good option.