Lower back stretches provide much-needed relief for people with back pain. According to the American Chiropractic Association, 8 out of 10 people will be affected by back pain at some point in their lives. The following are potential problem muscles for the lower back and accompanying stretches to increase flexibility and reduce pain.
Lower Back Stretches
The hamstrings are the large muscles that run down the back of each thigh. Tightness here is a contributor to just about every case of lower back pain since it limits motion in the pelvis, which stresses the lower back and corrupts correct posture. A standing hamstring stretch is a great way to find low back pain relief.
Simply bend at the waist with your arms reaching down toward the floor and your knees slightly bent. Gently straighten your legs until you can feel the stretch in your hamstrings.
The psoas is one of the largest and thickest muscles in the body. Since it's our primary hip flexor muscle, it lifts the leg at the hip toward the chest. When the body is in a seated position for an extended period, the psoas stays flexed and ultimately shortens. A tight psoas will pull on the lower vertebra, tilting the pelvis forward and putting pressure on the lower spine. A low lunge is one of the more effective lower back stretches for the psoas.
While kneeling upright on the floor, put your left foot in front of your body so that your left knee is bent at a right angle. Keeping your core engaged, make sure your torso is upright and your hands are at your hips. Next, lean your hips forward while contracting your glutes. You should feel a stretch at the front of your right hip. Switch sides and repeat.
The extensor muscles are the long muscles attached to the back of the spine that enable our bodies to stand upright and lift objects. These muscles are also easily strained and fatigued due to weak abdominal muscles and improper lifting techniques. Another useful stretch is a supine spinal twist.
Starting in a seated position, carefully lower yourself onto your back and hug your knees to your chest. Stretch your arms out to your sides in a "T" position, palms down, and gently lower your knees to your right side. Your right leg should rest on the floor while your left leg is stacked on top of it. Once you're in this position, keep your shoulder blades on the floor and breathe slowly to relax the muscles in your spine. Finally, inhale and lift your knees back to center. Repeat on the other side.
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