Muscle Tightness In Thighs And Hips
Weve talked before about how hamstring stretches can help alleviate back pain. Tight hamstrings are short hamstrings, and these muscles connect to your lower back. Tightness in your hamstrings can affect the curvature of your lower spine, disrupting the precise alignment of your spine with your pelvis.
Hamstrings may be tight as a result of physical activity, injury, or a failure to stretch before and after exercising. Luckily this problem can be easy to manage at home with some targeted stretching. If you need some help getting started, a physical therapist can help guide you through some basic movements.
Exercises To Keep Low Back Pain Away For Good
One of the interesting things that youre going to notice during the movement described above is how weak the glute medius is.
If you want to reduce the pain over time and keep it away, youll need to strengthen that muscle.
Here are some exercises to strengthen the glute medius and get rid of this pain once and for all.
Lower Back Stretches To Reduce Pain And Build Strength
Lower back pain is a fairly common health concern, as so many things can cause it.
In some cases, it might be a symptom of an underlying condition, like kidney stones or acute pancreatitis. Other times, its simply a side effect of a sedentary lifestyle or repetitive motions.
While stretching isnt a remedy for all lower back pain, in many instances, it can provide relief. If youve been living with some mild discomfort or stiffness, these seven stretches may help reduce the pain and strengthen the muscles in your lower back.
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Strain And Improperly Healed Injury
Some people use their lower back far more than the rest of the populace. If you’re a mover or warehouse worker, you probably already know to wear a back brace and lift with your knees, but some injuries will surprise you regardless. If you’re a medic, rescue worker, or homecare nurse, you may be called on to lift another person out of a dangerous position . And what about athletes who have to quickly contort their bodies in reaction to the games they engage in? Some careers and activities make your lower back more susceptible to injury than others.
One tweak or muscle strain can linger if you don’t have time to rest the injury properly, and reinjury on top of that becomes more and more likely with each day. While not everyone can take the recommended time off to heal and rest, proper stretching can help a sprain heal faster and loosen the area so that reinjury is less likely to occur.
When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider
- Can’t stand or walk
- Temperature over 101.0°F
- Frequent, painful, or bloody urination
- Severe belly pain
- Pain or numbness in your leg
- Pain in a new area of your back
- The pain isnt decreasing after more than a week
- Pain radiating down the leg.
- Pain that is accompanied by fever or chills, leg weakness, or loss of control of the bladder or bowels.
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Lying Static Leg Raise
The lying static leg raise helps with the lower back by placing more pressure on the back from a vertical standpoint. You will find this to be very comfortable and relieving. If youve had a tough day at work and your back is aching a bit, have yourself do the lying static leg raise for 15 to 20 minutes.
How To Relieve Lower Back Tightness
This article was co-authored by Jason Myerson, DPT, DMT, OCS, FAAOMPT. Jason Myerson is a Physical Therapist and a Certified Orthopedic Specialist. He is affiliated with Performance Physical Therapy & Wellness with clinics located in Connecticut. He serves as adjunct faculty in the Physical Therapy Department at Quinnipiac University. Jason specializes in helping active people get back to hobbies, activities, and sports they love while utilizing an integrated approach to wellness. He holds an MA in Physical Therapy from Quinnipiac University and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Arcadia University. He is Residency and Fellowship trained in Orthopedic Manual Therapy, achieved a Doctorate in Manual Therapy and became a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists .There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 190,360 times.
Lower back tightness is a common complaint among many people. Improving your overall physical and mental health can help relieve lower back tightness immensely. With the proper care, relief for your tight lower back is within reach.
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Spine Problems That Cause Back Stiffness
Up until here weve discussed some basic stretches and postural changes you can make to help relieve and prevent back stiffness. But what if the condition is deeper than muscular? Below is a list of some other common causes of tightness in your lower back.
- Herniated or ruptured discs: This is a flattening and bulging out or rupturing of the discs that sit between the vertebrae.
- Sciatica: This is a form of radiculopathy that involves compression of the sciatic nerve running down the back.
- Spinal stenosis: This is narrowing of the spinal column, which puts pressure on the nerves and spinal cord.
- Spondylolisthesis: This occurs when the vertebrae of the lower back come out of place and pinch nearby nerves.
- Arthritis: This is an inflammatory condition that affects joints throughout the body, including the back.
If the pain and stiffness lasts more than 3 to 4 week it may be from these conditions. Its best to discuss long-term or debilitating pain with a doctor who may recommend physical therapy, pain management therapies, or minimally-invasive treatments. Your doctor will guide you through the diagnosis, imaging, and treatment of these conditions based on the root cause of your back stiffness.
How Is Lumbar Strain Diagnosed
In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, diagnosing low back pain may include the following. However, specialized tests aren’t often required.
- X-ray. A diagnostic test that produces images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.
- CT scan. This is an imaging test that uses X-rays and a computer to make detailed images of the body. It shows details of the bones, muscles, fat, and organs.
- MRI. This test uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to make detailed images of organs and structures in the body.
- Radionuclide bone scan. A nuclear imaging technique that uses a very small amount of radioactive material, which is injected into your blood to be detected by a scanner. This test shows blood flow to the bone and cell activity in the bone.
- Electromyogram . A test to evaluate nerve and muscle function.
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Exercises Or Stretches For Back Pain
Knee to Chest: Start by lying on the back with the knees bent upward. With both hands, pull one knee up into your chest. Hold this stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Return the leg slowly to the floor and repeat with the opposite leg. Hold for the appropriate time and then return this leg to the floor. Finally, grasp both knees and gently pull both legs into the chest simultaneously. This is a lower back stretch.
Single Knee and Double Knee To Chest Exercise
Hamstring Stretch Seated: Sit on the edge of a chair with your leg that your stretching straight out. Your other leg should be bent. Keep your back straight and lean forward until you feel the stretch in the back of your thigh. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
Seated Hamstring Stretch
Cat Stretch: Start on your hands and knees. Sag your back and belly toward the floor. Then slowly arch your back, tugging the abdomen toward the ceiling. Return to original position and then repeat.
Cat Stretch For Back Pain
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How Should You Use Lower Back Stretches Like These Yoga Poses To Help Reduce Back Pain
Although each of the stretches below are helpful on their own, theyre especially beneficial as a flow, New York Citybased yoga instructor Shanna Tyler tells SELF.
For lower back pain relief, try choosing five or six from the list below as a flow, and plan on holding each pose for 10 seconds to one minute, making sure to take deep breaths throughout the hold.
If your lower back feels relief with that sequence, you can work up to holding each pose for longer, up to three minutes. In terms of frequency, you can do yoga daily if youd like, but if youre doing beginner yoga for back pain, start with just a couple times per week. Also, many people find it useful to break up these lower back exercises into a few mini-sessions when their back feels particularly tight, like first thing in the morning or after sitting at work all day.
- Knees to Chest With Slow Rock
- Reclined Pigeon Pose
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Six Stretches To Help Alleviate Low Back Pain And Tightness
Letâs admit it, having low back pain is no fun, especially when you wake up in the morning with it knowing that you have a full day at work ahead of you. That is why we believe that every morning you should spend a few minutes stretching out the most important and most engaged muscles in the low back.
Sitting at your desk all day can lead to lower back pain, neck pain, shoulder tightness, and other ergonomic issues. Performing daily stretches can help you loosen your muscles and improve your flexibility, making your body more resilient and better able to handle a full day at your desk.
Use this stretch to align pelvis and stretch lower back and rear end muscles. Lie flat on your back with toes pointed to the sky. Slowly bend your right knee and pull your leg up to you chest. Wrap your arms around your thigh, knee or shin, and gently pull the knee towards your chest. Hold for 20 seconds and slowly extend the leg to starting position. Repeat three times each leg.
- Lying Knee Twist
- Use this movement to stretch the paraspinal muscles and strengthen the abdominal muscles. Lie on your back with your legs extended straight out. Bend the right knee up and cross it over the left side of your body. Hold in a position that allows you to feel a gentle stretch through the back and buttocks muscles for 20 seconds. Tighten your core muscles and rotate back to center. Repeat three times on each side.
Stretch #3 Lumbar Rotation
This is the first stretch in the series that is progressive assuming the previous movements were tolerable.
Laying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat, put your knees and feet together as if you had a mermaid tail. Next, take a deep breath in a and as you exhale slowly drop your knees to the side, inhale bringing the legs back up to the starting position and exhale again as you drop them to the other side.
You do not need to have your knees touch the floor, work within your own pain-free range of motion.
Working this movement side to side creates a rotational motion in the lumbar spine and can help reduce tension if you are trying to fix lower back pain at home. This is a great exercise because it is an unassisted stretch that targets the low back which can be a difficult area to alleviate pain on your own.
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Stretch #1 Knees To Chest
More than anything this stretch it to make sure you are in a position to move forward to more complex and intense movements. But it also allows an opportunity to get simple range of motion in the legs and pelvis to stretch the surrounding musculature.
Doing this exercise to fix lower back pain at home you will want to start with finding a comfortable place to lay down on your back.
Slowly bring your knees to your chest and grab the front of your knees with your hands pulling your legs closer to your body as able. You should feel a sensation in the glutes and hamstring as well as the lower back where you are experiencing pain.
Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, take a break, and then repeat to give your low back relief.
Lumbar Stretches: Are You Ready To Stretch
Now that you know about these lumbar stretches, its time to test them out. Before you know it, youll be experiencing less pain in your lower back. If you think you may need professional treatment or your lower back pain, make sure to get in touch with us today. Additionally, if youre experiencing neck pain, make sure to check out this guide to discover the causes and treatments of moderate to severe neck pain.
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General Tips For Stretching To Relieve Back Pain
Infographic:Stretching for Back Pain Relief
Basic stretches for neck pain are convenient enough to be done on a regular basis throughout the day, such as at home, at work, or even in the car. Some examples include:
- Flexion stretchChin to Chest. Gently bend the head forward, bringing the chin toward the chest until a stretch is felt in the back of the neck.
- Lateral Flexion StretchEar to Shoulder. Bend the neck to one side as if to touch the ear to the shoulder until a stretch is felt in the side of the neck. Keep the shoulders down and back in a comfortable but healthy posture.
- Levator scapula stretch. Rest one arm against a wall or doorjamb with the elbow slightly above the shoulder, then turn the head to face the opposite direction. Bring the chin down toward the collarbone to feel a stretch in the back of the neck. It may be helpful to gently pull the head forward with the other hand to hold the stretch for the desired time.
Keeping the following in mind can help effectively stretch the muscles without injury:
Below are examples of stretches targeted for the neck, upper back, and the lower back.
How Your Back Works
The spine, which is also called the backbone or spinal column, is one of the strongest parts of the body and gives us a great deal of flexibility and strength.
Its made up of 24 bones, known as vertebrae, one sitting on top of the other. These bones have discs in between and lots of strong ligaments and muscles around them for support. There are also the bones in the tailbone at the bottom of the back, which are fused together and have no discs in between.
On either side of the spine, running from top to bottom, are many small joints called the facet joints.
The spinal cord passes inside the vertebrae, which protect it.
The spinal cord connects to the brain through the base of the skull and to the rest of the body by nerves that pass through spaces between the bones of the spine. These nerves are also known as nerve roots.
As you grow older, the structures of your spine, such as the joints, discs and ligaments, age as well. The structures remain strong but its usual for your back to get stiffer as you get older.
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The Truth About Back Pain
When it comes to lower back discomfort, it’s often not the lower back at all that’s causing the problem. Lots of different muscle groups are connected to the lower back, and when one of those muscles is tight it can pull on the lower back and cause pain.
For example, tight hamstrings are a common cause of low back pain. Sitting all day can cause the hip flexor muscles on the front of your pelvis to become shortened, which can also lead to lower back pain. This is why simply doing lower back stretches, although they may provide temporary relief, isn’t the best way to treat your lower back pain and tightness.
How Are Conditions That Cause Tight Back Muscles Diagnosed
Almost every medical condition thought to cause tight back muscles, from blunt force trauma to fibromyalgia, can be diagnosed with a physical exam conducted by a medical professional. More serious conditions causing tight back muscles that involve neurological issues may need to be identified during specialized scans or examinations.
For conditions related to the spinal cord and TLF, doctors may order an immunohistochemical analysis of spinal fluid. This tests the fluid for the presence of certain proteins that may be connected with excessive tightness in the sheath, as well as levels of myofibroblasts, small connective tissue cells that increase contractile force to help close wounds on the skin .
Certain kinds of arthritis that cause muscle tightness can also be detected by the presence of nodules and rashes on the skin.
Almost every condition that causes tight back muscles can be identified by a physical exam. Conditions involving the spinal cord and TLF may require an analysis of spinal fluid, while arthritis can sometimes be diagnosed by rashes and skin nodules.
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