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Seniors may experience back and knee pain for a number of reasons, including weak muscles and arthritis. According to the Arthritis Foundation, regular moderate exercise can alleviate pain by reducing inflammation of the joints. If you have a bad back and knees, start with some stretching exercises to help improve flexibility and range of motion. Always consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
The quadriceps stretch can help to improve the range of motion of your knees and improve muscle strength. Place your left hand on a sturdy chair or on a table for balance. Bend your right knee. Point your foot behind you. Reach back with your right hand and grasp the top of your foot. Gently pull your heel toward your bottom until you feel the muscles in the front of your thigh begin to stretch. Hold the position for 10 to 15 seconds. Lower your leg back to the floor. Repeat this exercise two to four times with each leg as long as you do not experience pain. Increase the number of repetitions as pain diminishes.
Tight hamstring muscles are a common problem and can lead to various knee injuries, such as patellofemoral syndrome, which is pain around and under your kneecap. Perform the hamstring stretch using a chair or a bench. Stand facing a chair or an exercise bench. Place your hands on your hips for balance. Plant your feet firmly on the floor about hip-width apart, and stand up as straight as you can. Lift one leg and then place your heel on the seat of the chair or bench. Slowly lean forward from the hips. Keep your back straight. Stop leaning forward when you begin to feel the stretch on the back of your leg. Hold the position for 10 seconds to 15 seconds and then return to the upright position. Repeat this exercise two to four times with each leg. Do more stretches when your knees are stronger and the pain decreases.
Lower back lifts can help alleviate back pain caused by strained muscles, stress or arthritis. Lie on your back on the floor. Use a blanket or an exercise mat for comfort, if needed. Bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands, palms down, on either side of your hips. Press your shoulders against the floor and straighten your spine as much as possible. Slowly arch your back upward to lift your hip bones toward the ceiling. Hold this position for five seconds. Relax and flatten your back against the floor. Hold this position for another five seconds and then relax. Do five repetitions each day. Gradually increase the number of repetitions by adding two stretches to each set every day.
Chair rotations are easy to perform and effective to stretch all the muscles of your back. Sit up straight on a chair that does not have arms. Cross your legs. If you cross your right leg over your left leg, place your left elbow against right knee. Twist from the waist to the right as far as you can. Hold the stretch for five seconds to 10 seconds. Relax. Cross your left leg over your right leg and place your right elbow against your knee. Twist in the opposite direction as far as you can and hold the position for up to 10 seconds. Repeat this back stretching exercise five times each day.
Article reviewed by Allen Cone Last updated on: Jun 27, 2012