Bird Dog Hip Extension
Why its beneficial:
The bird dog hip extension is designed to improve low back stability. It also helps to reactivate and stabilize your abdominal muscles during movement.
Kneel on a mat with both hands down and arms shoulder-width apart.
Start by engaging and tightening your core muscles.
Slowly straighten one leg behind you while maintaining a flat back.
Return the straightened leg back to the starting position.
Repeat on the other side.
Perform 10 repetitions, while holding each for 20-30 seconds.
Modification: If this causes any discomfort, lift your leg only several inches off the ground rather than reaching full extension.
Performing Stretches And Exercises With Acute Back Pain
Let’s face it, tight muscles likely contribute greatly to your neck and/or back pain. They may even be the cause of your long-term problem entirely. If you’ve seen a physical therapist for your spine, chances are she has given you some back exercises to do.
But what if you’re experiencing an acute back injury or your old injury is acting up? Should you stretch? Should you do back injury exercises at all?
Benefits Of Stretches For Back Pain
How can a stretch for lower back pain or upper back pain be beneficial?
- : Decreasing pain and discomfort is the main goal for many people who take up stretching. Research has shown that stretching can help increase the range of motion in the spine and relieve pain.
- Improved posture: Bad posture can be a contributing factor to back pain. Slouching can cause your lower back, shoulders and neck to feel tense and stiff. Improving your posture through stretching can help you stand taller and relieve some of the discomfort you feel in your back.
- Greater range of motion: When you think of stretching, you probably think of flexibility. Over time, flexibility does improve flexibility and range of motion. With a greater range of motion, you might find you can more easily participate in physical activities because you feel stronger.
- Protection from future injury: Ultimately, the more you stretch, the more you get out of it. If you maintain a regular stretching routine, youll get short-term relief from back pain while building the foundation for preventing future injury and discomfort.
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When Is Stretching Not A Good Idea For Back Pain
Low back pain is a very common problem affecting millions of people at any given time. The economic toll of chronic low back pain has been estimated to be between $12 to $90 billion from loss of work productivity, cost of treatment, and disability payments, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Most patients who develop low back pain have a vague memory that stretching is helpful for the low back and try to fix the problem by doing stretches that target that area. However, if the cause of the low back pain stems from an injured intervertebral disc, stretching can exasperate the injury and cause even more pain.
The intervertebral disc provides space between the bony vertebrae and functions as a shock absorbing structure. In some cases, injury to this disc can inflame the exiting spinal nerve root and cause pain, tingling, numbness and weakness, or any combination thereof, down your lower extremity. Patients often refer to this as sciatica. Health care providers usually describe these symptoms as radiculopathy, or inflammation of a specific spinal nerve root .
When low back pain begins, the patient may put a stretching program into action by stretching the hamstring muscles in the back of their thighs. This stretch can be beneficial for cases of uncomplicated, mechanical low back pain. However, if the patient has pain radiating down the back of their legs from an inflamed nerve , then the stretching may not be a wise idea.
What Does Low Back Strain Feel Like
Symptoms of low back strain include:
- Pain and stiffness in the back.
- Pain in the buttocks and the legs, often in the back of the thigh.
- Pain that worsens when bending, stretching, coughing, or sneezing.
Since some symptoms of low back strain are similar to those of more serious conditions, it’s important to get checked out by a doctor. Any numbness and weakness in your legs, or bowel and bladder problems, can be a sign of nerve damage — and that needs immediate medical attention.
To diagnose low back strain, your doctor will give you a thorough exam. You may also need X-rays, MRIs , and CT scans. These extra tests may only be needed if your pain doesn’t go away on its own or with conservative treatment.
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Mobility And Flexibility Exercises
These exercises improve range of motion in your hips and spine. That can alleviate tightness that could be contributing to back pain, Carina says.
Do stretching exercises as often as needed to help control pain, at least two to three times daily. Remember, exercise should be comfortable. If any symptoms occur, see a medical professional.
Lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat, rotate the knees from side to side in a small comfortable arc of motion. Begin with only small movements, making the arc progressively larger as is comfortable. You should feel a comfortable stretch in the lower back and waist area. This can also be done with the feet and knees about shoulder width apart, which moves the stretch lower into the hips. Repeat 10 to 20 times on both sides.
Knee to Chest
Lying on your back, pull one knee into your chest using both hands behind the knee. You should feel a comfortable stretch in the lower back and hip. If you feel pain in the front of the hip, discontinue exercise. You can keep the bottom leg flat or bend it with your foot flat on the floor, whichever feels more comfortable. The exercise also can be done with both knees hugged toward the chest, but move one leg into position at a time. Hold 10 to 30 seconds, and repeat two to three times.
Outer Hip Stretch
Hip Flexor Stretch
A Gentle Child’s Pose
If you can’t or don’t want to lie on your back, you have more gentle exercises for back spasms to choose from. Once the spasm has passed, kneel on the floor or a yoga mat and sit back on your heels. Bend down until your torso touches your thighs and either stretch your hands in front of you, palms down, or place them alongside you, hands near your feet and palms facing up.
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Back Pain 7 Stretches You Can Do From Your Desk Chair
WITH HEATHER HARRISON, PT, DPT, OCS
Back pain, especially lower back pain, is extremely common, brought on by movement, activity or even the opposite. Staying in a seated position throughout the day in a less-than-optimal desk chair or car seat can bring on the pain.
Physical Therapist Heather Harrison of OrthoCarolina Huntersville has seen her fair share of patients with back pain and she often recommends using a chair with lumbar support. But even if your chair has built-in support, Heather says one size doesnt fit all.
For a little extra support, try rolling up a jacket, sweatshirt or towel to place behind your back. When youre in a bind, Heather says this simple step can help support the natural curvature of the lumbar spine.
Still feeling that lower back pain? You can do these exercises right from your desk chair:
ABDOMINAL BRACING 10 x 10 seconds
Begin in a seated position with hands on your lower abs. With a slow, controlled movement, draw your navel to your spine, bracing your abdominal muscles. Hold, then relax.
Be sure to keep your tall posture throughout the exercise, avoiding bending forward or holding your breath.
SEATED MARCHES WITH ABDOMINAL BRACING 30 repetitions
Throughout the exercise, remain seated in your chair with a straight back and abs braced by pulling the navel to the spine.
Your knees stay bent as you pick one leg up off the ground, lower it back down and alternate with the other leg.
SEATED FORWARD FLEXION STRETCH3 x 30 seconds
3 x 30 seconds
Using Other Stretches For Your Back
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Stretching Your Back At The Office
How To Do The Jefferson Curl:
Bend your knees and keep a straight back when picking up your weight
Place your feet shoulder-width apart, holding the weight with both hands
Relax your arms, and curl your back over as if you were trying to touch your toes
Keep your legs and arms straight during the entire stretch
Relax at the bottom of the movement, and exhale, embracing the stretch
Hold for a few seconds before slowly returning to the top, and repeating
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Gentle Twists For Your Back
This gentle stretch can offer relief for tight muscles along your flanks. Sit in a chair and cross your right leg over the left with your right foot pointing down toward the floor .
Turn your body gently toward the right. Drape your left arm over the outside of your right leg and apply mild pressure until you feel a gentle stretch in your back. Hold that stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, then repeat it on the other side.
Relieving A Stiff Lower Back
For a stiff lower back, its likely to happen if you live in a cold climate, or have any form of arthritis that tends to flare up due to aging, or when the weather shifts.
Stiffness has many leading factors with one being a cold body. Cold weather can make your back ache, so try to keep inside during the winter.
Back stiffness can also be caused by spasms in the back, injuries that lead to stiffness, improper lifting, and in some cases, lumbar arthritis.
However, its also important to note that any strain to the spine can result in lower back stiffness.
Many times, lower back stiffness develops due to a lack of mobility and activity. If you arent one to go to the gym or lift weights, then be sure to take advantage of the above lower back stretches as often as you can.
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Half Lord Of The Fishes
Also known as Seated Twist posture, Ardha Matsyendrasana helps improve posture and spinal mobility in those with lower back pain. Don’t allow your lower back to collapse as your perform this posture, and remember that a little goes a long way when twisting with lower back pain.
How to do half lord of the fishes posture: Sit with your legs extended out in front of you . Lift your right leg and place your foot on the ground beside your left knee. Bend your left leg and place the left foot on the outside of your right hip. Ground down through your hip bones, and inhale as you find length through the spine. Hook your left elbow on your right knee as you place your right hand behind you, and gently twist. Stay for 5 to 8 breaths.
Supine Abdominal Draw In Stretch
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
Kneel on the floor in an all-fours position on your hands and knees.
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How Do You Stretch Out The Lower Back
Answer itFollow These Steps
How can I strengthen my lower back?
What Causes Lower Back Pain
Before we get into how to stretch your lower back muscles, let’s discuss the common causes for lower back pain. Depending on the cause of your pain, you may wish to take a different approach to stretching altogether.
We spoke with Alexandra Merisoiu, founder of Move Wild Academy and Legacy Karate . She holds a Level 4 certificate in physical activity and lifestyle strategies for managing low back pain. “Lower back pain is often caused by poor posture, tight muscles and lack of general mobility and flexibility,” she said. “This is called non-specific lower back pain as it is not caused by events such as accidents, slipped discs or any other obvious reason.”
This kind of pain is important to address, as it can eventually lead to injuries in other muscle groups due to the added tension. “Moreover the discomfort can affect your mood, concentration, productivity and general wellbeing,” she says.
Merisoiu recommends doing regular stretches to relieve tension in the lower back, while also working on improving posture and increasing mobility and flexibility to prevent this type of lower back pain in the future.
If you’re wondering how to achieve this, our handy guide on how to improve your flexibility is a good place to start.
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Stretches To Ease Lower Back Pain
My back is killing me. These five words are said by co-workers, family, friends, almost every person we regularly come in contact with will say them sooner or later. In fact, a study performed at the University of North Carolina found that more than an overwhelming 80 percent of people will experience an episode of back pain at some point in their life. As people age, often the spine will experience degenerative changes. As these changes occur, there is less space between the vertebrae, which can increase back pain. When the spine is flexed, pressure is off-loaded. Because of this, a flexion based program is often used to help relieve symptoms of lower back pain. Here are four stretches for lower back pain that almost everyone can do.