You can feel it every time you bend over or stand up. The groan-inspiring pain shoots through your lower back. It impacts over 16 million people every year. As we grow older, back pain becomes more common. It can make you hesitant to sit, stand, or even move, causing you to miss time off at work or other activities. Back pain accounts for over $12 billion a year in the health care industry. Regularly completing these stretches can alleviate the pain and reduce the risk of further injury. It may sound counter-intuitive to stretch when you have back pain, but most doctors encourage activity and motion. It’s one of the more useful things you can do for your back.
Back pain typically arises from the stiffening of the spine and muscles. It can be caused by lifting improperly, poor posture, or even just sitting for a long time. This results in spasms, sprains, or more severe injuries like fractures or damaged discs. Back pain can also be due to an underlying condition. You should consult with a medical professional if you have persistent pain. If you utilize these techniques, it can alleviate and help to prevent back pain.
Stretching is a technique used to target specific muscles or tendons by placing your body in positions to flex these areas. It improves muscle control, flexibility, and range of motion. There are two primary types of stretching, each having its own benefits.
The Different Stretching Techniques
Static stretching requires you to stand, sit, or lie, holding a position for a few moments. You will typically complete these in sets of three for about 30-45 seconds. For example, this would be something you would do after taking a run around the neighborhood.
Dynamic stretching is based on movement or activity that uses muscles to stretch themselves. These would be done in sets multiple times, depending on the stretch. For example, this would be something after taking a run. Standard techniques are leg twists or lunges.
These are a few stretches you can use to alleviate back pain.
1 – The Pelvic Tilt
Pelvic tilts help strengthen your ab muscles, which are essential for good posture. This can reduce lower back pain. It is vital to breathe while doing this technique. To complete this exercise, follow these steps.
Start flush on your back with knees bent and the soles of your feet on the floor. Rock your hips toward the sky. Stay here for a few moments. Inhale, then return to your original position. Feel the improvement?
2 – Child’s Pose
The child’s pose can alleviate tension in the back, shoulders, and chest. Additionally, it can relieve stress and anxiety in the body. It lengthens stretches the spine. To do this exercise, follow these steps.
Kneel on the floor, keeping your feet together and your knees apart. Rest your palms on your hips. Lower your torso between your legs. Now, extend your arms alongside your torso with your palms facing down. Finish by relaxing your shoulders toward the ground and rest. Well done!
3 – Cat-Cow Stretch
A cat-cow stretch – a funny name, but serious help! – strengthens your spine. It activates the tailbone, spends root, and releases tension in the neck and upper back during the pose. Follow these steps to complete the exercise.
Start this in a table pose on your hands and knees. Now inhale and lift your butt upward, press your chest forward, and allow your belly to sink. Lift your head, relax your shoulders, and gaze straight ahead. Exhale, round your spine outward, tuck in your tailbone, and drawing your pubic bone forward. Release your head toward the floor. Repeat as needed.
4 – Knee to Chest Stretch
The knee to chest stretch targets the low back and hip. This helps prove the range of motion and can be done with one or two legs. It can also relieve pressure along spinal nerves creating more space in the spine. To complete this exercise, follow these steps.
Start with your knees bent on your back. Bring one knee into your hands and gently let your arms pull your knee toward your chest. Then lower your bent leg. Relax and repeat with the other or both legs.
5 – Piriformis Stretch
The piriformis stretch eases back, knee, and ankle pain. It can also alleviate strain and tightness of the joints when walking. To do this exercise, follow these steps.
Starting on your back with both feet on the floor and knees bent, proceed to pull your right knee up and grasp it with the left hand. Now, pull it towards the left shoulder and hold the stretch. Relax and repeat the other side.
You can even do this one from a seated position! Simply sit on a chair with both feet firmly on the floor. Bring one leg up and rest the foot on the opposite knee. Hold it and bring your back and chest forward, toward the knee, and feel the stretch. Repeat for the other side.
Sadly back pain all-too-often becomes a persistent and debilitating injury that affects everyday life. In cases where you have constant and severe pain, you should always consult with the doctor to ensure an underlying disease is not the cause. Backs are a vital part of our bodies and critical to continued mobility. By taking a few minutes to utilize these simple techniques, you can take charge to regain and continue a happy, healthy lifestyle.