Do you want to reduce or eliminate your back pain once and for all? If you’re suffering from back pain, you’ll know that even the simplest of daily tasks can be affected, such as household chores, shopping trips, or even playing with your kids or grandchildren.
The good news is, there are various stretches that benefit people from all walks of life, whether they are currently suffering from back pain or simply trying to improve their overall posture and prevent back pain from occurring. These exercises involve stretching your muscles, tendons and ligaments – otherwise known as the soft tissue – in your legs, buttocks, back, and around your spine.
Tips for optimal stretching
Before we get into our specific stretches, here are some general good practices to bear in mind while performing any kind of stretching activity or exercise:
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing
- Do not force yourself into the stretch; if you feel pain, stop immediately
- Take your time and stretch slowly; no fast movements or bouncing, which can actually tear muscles
- Always stretch on a clean, flat surface
- Ensure you have plenty of space around you to stretch adequately
- Stretches should be held for around 20-30 seconds in order for your joints to get the full benefit
- Stretches should be repeated around 5-10 times
Stretch #1: Flexion stretch
The flexion stretch and lateral flexion both work your neck and shoulder muscles, as a stiff neck can sometimes contribute to chronic back pain. These stretches can be performed whilst either sitting or standing.
Let’s start with the flexion stretch, which involves gently bending your head forward so that your chin comes in towards your chest; you should be able to feel the stretch. Repeat as necessary, before moving onto the lateral flexion, otherwise known as the ear to shoulder stretch.
Stretch #2: Lateral flexion
For the lateral flexion, begin by gently bending the neck to the side, stop when you feel the stretch. Then, switch sides. You can repeat these simple stretches to help increase the mobility around your neck area, or whenever you feel stiffness in your neck.
Stretch #2: Knee to chest stretch
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your heels on the floor. Now, try placing both hands behind one of your knees, before bringing it up to your chest.
Stretch #3: Back flexion
Lie on your back, before pulling both knees up to your chest and flexing your head forward until you achieve a balled-up position resulting in a comfortably back stretch. Lie back on the floor and repeat.
Stretch #4: Hip stretch
Responsible for supporting your lower back, stretching your hips and glutes is essential for maintaining good spine health. Try standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, then take half a step back with your right foot. Bend your left knee, shifting weight back to your right hip. Keep your right leg straight and bend forward, reaching down your right leg so you feel a stretch in the outer hip.
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