Stretching for Back Pain Relief

Michael Hausch, DC

Including Stretching In Your Routine Can Provide Back Pain Relief.

Back pain is common among some adults.

While some would argue it is part of the normal aging process, many of the symptoms are directly related to injury and accidents. That’s good news for back pain sufferers as most back pain can be managed and the pain and discomfort can be reduced.

Since flexibility is one of the three most important factors for maintaining back health (the other two are proper alignment and core strength), stretching is one way to give some relief to your body. Always remember to seek a doctor’s approval before beginning this or any exercise program.

As well as stretching, here is some additional information for low back pain:

  1. Limit sitting. Sitting causes more pressure on your low back than standing or lying down. If you must sit, stand up approximately every 20 minutes.
  2. Don’t sleep on your stomach.
  3. Don’t use heat, heating pads, hot tubs or take long, hot showers.
  4. Don’t sit on any chair or stool that doesn’t have back support, such as bleachers. Sit up straight and use proper posture.
  5. Avoid bending at the waist.
  6. Avoid repetitive lifting.

If you are ready to embark on a stretching program to reduce back pain and increase flexibility and strength, keep these tips in mind.

  1. Start slow.
  2. Stretch both sides of your body equally. Unequal flexibility may lead to injury in the future, so be sure to perform stretches on both sides.
  3. Concentrate on the major muscles. Make sure to stretch the joints and muscles that you use most frequently Add stretches for your hips, lower back, neck, and shoulders as needed. Focus your attention on areas where you have experienced pain or injury in the past.
  4. Use smooth movements. Avoid the tendency to bounce. This can lead to tightness in the muscles and cause pain. Use slow, smooth movements to perform the stretches.
  5. Pause your stretch. Effective stretching requires duration. Hold your stretch for at least 30 seconds to maximize its effectiveness.
  6. Stop short of pain. Pain indicates a problem in the area. When you’re stretching, the muscles may have tension, but it shouldn’t hurt. If you feel pain, relax the stretch until the pain stops.
  7. Stretch regularly for the best results. For maximum results, stretching should be done 3 – 4 times per week. When you stop stretching regularly, you are in danger of losing the progress you’ve made.
  8. Gradually build up. Your stretching routine should start out with low intensity and gradually increase in both duration and frequency. Add repetitions to increase the endurance of your stretches.

Wondering what type of stretches are best for giving you relief from back pain? We’ve compiled a list of some of the best exercises. Use these as part of a regular exercise routine, or as a separate workout whenever you have time. For maximum results, practice them 3 – 4 times a week for 20 minutes.

Downward dog

Rise up on all fours (hands and knees) on the floor. Pushing down on your hands, lift your knees up, keeping your heels off the ground. Lift your spine up towards the ceiling, keeping your knees slightly bent. Bring your head down, tucking your chin onto your chest. Hold this pose for 60 seconds.

Spinal twist

Lying on your back, bring your knees up to your chest. Stretch your arms out to the sides, palm down. Twist your legs to the left, with your knees together. Breathe and hold this pose for 3 minutes. Repeat on the right side.

Puppy Pose

Arrange yourself face down on all fours. Move your hands forward while rising up on your toes. Lower your buttocks towards your heels and keep your forehead on the ground. Hold the pose for approximately 3 – 5 minutes.

Flexion Stretch

Pull both of your knees to your chest while lying on your back. Move your head forward towards your chest until you feel a stretch in your middle and lower back.

Knee to Chest

With both knees bent and your heels on the floor, pull one knee towards your chest, stretching your lower back and buttocks muscles.

Piriformis Stretch

While lying on the floor with your knees bent, heels on the floor, cross one leg over the other and place your ankle on your bent knee. Pull the bottom knee towards your chest until you can feel the stretch in your buttocks.

Corner Stretch

Stand in the corner of a room, placing your forearms on either wall. Lean forward until you feel a stretching in your lower back.

Exercises for the relief of lower back pain can be time-consuming, but they don’t need to be. Simply add stretching and strength building to your existing workout routine, or set aside 10 minutes 3 or 4 times a week. With a minimal amount of effort, you can reduce your back pain and prevent further injury.

Your back pain is personal; your treatment plan should be too.

Visit our office for a consultation with one of our professionals who can help identify the source of your pain and develop an appropriate strategic plan for management and prevention. You don’t need to suffer without relief. Contact us today for more information or to schedule your appointment.

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