Stretching is extremely beneficial for the body. Through regular stretching you can improve range of motion, posture, decrease muscle soreness, prevent injury, and even decrease pain. If you are experiencing back pain a natural inclination is to stretch to ease any discomfort you are feeling. But did you know that some of the most common stretches can cause more harm than good? Before you start a stretching routine to ease your back pain, become familiar with what stretches you should be doing and which ones to avoid, and give Pro-Active Chiropractic’s office a call to schedule your chiropractic adjustment. Together we can keep your body moving as it should, pain free and with ease.
Stretches to Avoid
If you are experiencing lower back pain, stretching can help ease your pain and even prevent further discomfort. But doing the wrong kind of stretches, stretches that focus on bending the spine can aggravate your symptoms further.
- Toe Touches
- Knees to Chest
- Trunk Rotations
These stretches may temporarily ease lower back pain, but they put undue stress on the disks in your lumbar spine causing the pain to return or even become worse after a brief period of relief.
Instead of focusing on stretches that bend and manipulate the spine, it is recommended to utilize stretches that focus on support muscles that help stabilize the spine.
The Cat Camel
This stretch relieves pain in the lower and mid-back by mobilizing the spine and strengthening the core muscles.
- Start on your hands and knees, making sure that your knees are hip width apart, and that your hands and shoulders are in line with your knees.
- With a deep breath in curl your belly button up toward your spine, like an arching cat, your chin should tuck in toward your chest, hold for three seconds.
- Exhale letting your belly button sink back towards the floor, bringing your chin up, hold for three seconds.
When performing this stretch be aware to not push your spine to far up or down, this can put stress on your disks. Stop and hold when you feel a light stretch. An important thing to keep in mind is that this stretch is for mobility, not stamina. To get the most benefit out of it you only need to repeat the stretch six to eight times.
The psoas muscle connects your lumbar spine to your pelvis. Throughout the day, especially if you are sitting, this muscle can become shortened causing pain in the lower back and hips. Regular lunges do not typically engage this muscle. But with the psoas stretch, a modified lung, you can help gently lengthen the psoas muscle relieving your pain.
- Start by stepping into a forward lunge. One leg forward and one leg back.
- From the lunge position, raise the opposite hand from the front leg up and over your shoulder pushing up.
- Lean that shoulder back, at this point you should feel the psoas muscle engage.
- Hold for two to three seconds.
- Alternate sides.
Repeat, alternating sides for 6 rounds of stretches.
This stretch is designed to open and mobilize your hips while strengthening your hip muscles.
- Start by assuming a one leg stance, planting one foot firmly on the ground.
- Brace your hands on your hips.
- Rotate your torso forward over your planted leg
- Lift your back leg straight behind you, while slightly bending your planted leg.
- Rotate your hips in toward your planted leg
- Rotate your hips out away from your planted leg.
The rotation motion should come from your hips, not your upper body. Only rotate as much as your natural range of motion will allow. As you become more comfortable with the stretch, you can gradually move your hands from your hips to out to your sides like an airplane. Repeat this stretch with three full sets per side.
In addition to these stretches, if you find yourself in a seated position for an extended period, do a little back stretching maintenance every 20-30 min.
- Stand up from your chair.
- Put your hands behind your back and relax your spine.
- Raise your hands slowly up and over your head.
- Put your hands as far back as you can, comfortably.
- Take a deep breath in.
- Relax your hands back down to your sides.
Make sure to break up your periods of sitting with this easy stretch, to help dispel any pent-up stress that has accumulated while you were sitting.
With a routine of regular stretching and chiropractic care you can maintain and increase your spine’s mobility while staying on top of back pain before it becomes a problem. Give Pro-Active Chiropractic’s office a call today to schedule your next adjustment.