Struggle With Back Pain? Try These 5 Stretches
If you are someone who has ever struggled with back pain, you know how debilitating it can be to deal with. You might feel that you need to take on serious interventions (i.e. surgeries, painkillers) to help alleviate the pain. However, know that incorporating a simple stretching routine may be all that you really need.
This was showcased in a recent study that had subjects follow a 12-week stretching regimen that resulted in them reporting better back functioning and reduced back pain. More importantly, a decreased desire to use pain medication.
So why is stretching so effective—and which stretches should you be incorporating into your life? This article will explore the various ways you can avoid or alleviate back pain in your life.
Why Stretching Works For Back Pain
It is first important to understand why stretching can be such an effective treatment for back pain relief. Stretching and regular movement helps improve circulation and support the spine, allowing your back pain to subside by relaxing tight muscles.
Stretching therefore provides a “one-two punch” for addressing back pain. Not only does regular stretching help loosen the muscles and rid of existing back pain, but it also strengthens the back in a way that helps prevent future back pain from taking place. Hence, regardless of what state your back is in—whether it is healthy or in pain—it is going to be beneficial to integrate regular stretching into your daily routine.
Trunk Rotation Stretch
Stretch: First, begin lying down on a mat with your knees bent with your upper back flat on the ground. Extend one leg out flat towards the ground. Then, rotate the other leg so that the knee cap is pointed in the opposite direction as the leg (left knee cap should point towards the right side). Repeat the process with the opposite leg. Hold the stretch for five seconds, repeating it ten times.
Why it works: This stretch serves to enhance spine mobility whilst relaxing muscles on both sides of the trunk.
Stretch: Begin the stretch on all fours with your palms and knees flat on the ground. Sit your hip back while reaching your arms forward. You should feel the stretch in your lower back. Repeat the stretch five times, each time holding for ten seconds.
Why it works: This stretch helps relax the muscles in the lower back while helping to improve overall spine mobility.
Cat-Came Back Stretch
Stretch: Again, begin on all fours. Arch your back towards the ceiling and hold for five seconds; then, arch the back towards the ground and hold for another five seconds. Repeat this ten times.
Why it works: This stretch helps strengthen the back and abdominal muscles while also supporting spine mobility.
Stretch: Begin this stretch by sitting on the floor with one leg extended with the other leg bent. Lean forward while trying to maintain a flat back and reach for the extended foot. You should feel the stretch in your hamstrings behind the thigh. Repeat the stretch on the other leg, holding each stretch for ten seconds and repeating it five times.
Why it works: Working on having flexible hamstrings will decrease the stress in the back with bending and lifting activities.
Hip Flexor Stretch
Stretch: Begin by kneeling on a mat before leaning forward towards the bent knee until a stretch in front of the opposite thigh is felt. Repeat the stretch on the other leg. Again, hold each stretch for ten seconds and repeat five times.
Why it works: This stretch helps loosen tightness in the front of the hips which can occur when too much time is spent sitting down. When the hips are overly tight, they begin to pull the lower back forward while standing; thus, increasing stress placed on the lower back.
For Back Pain Relief, Make Stretching A Daily Routine
If you are serious about minimizing back pain, you need to make stretching a part of your everyday routine. It is no secret that stretching is one of the most effective, simple ways to help alleviate back pain. However, it is most effective when it is done every day. In conclusion, here are some quick tips that can help make stretching an everyday endeavor.
The easiest way you can make stretching a habit is by making it the first thing you do in the morning. Stretching in the morning provides other benefits, such as increasing the blood flow to your muscles. This will provide you with the energy needed to properly get your day rolling. Moreover, it is also beneficial to stretch right before going to bed and sleeping. Doing so will ensure that your body is relieved from all the tension and stress from the day, allowing your body to relax and making it easier to sleep.
Finally, the last thing you can do is to set reminders for times throughout the day when you want to stretch. Although it is optimal to stretch in the morning or at night, maximizing the pain-relieving benefits of stretching means incorporating the practice throughout the day. Plan ahead to make stretching part of the small breaks you take throughout the day. Ultimately, the more you do, the better you and your back will begin to feel.