Lower back pain problems are the number 1 cause of missed work time and are crippling many millions of people every year. Many issues are involved in just why back pain is so common, excess body-weight amongst them. This and other causes and remedies will be addressed in articles later in this 5 part series but here will will provide some very effective yet simple to implement stretching routines specifically for lower back pain.
Lower Back Pain Stretches
If our muscles, tendons and ligaments do not have sufficient elasticity then we may well be very prone to repeated lower back pain. All are designed to be flexible and allow us to make a full range of motion with no pain. We need to recover this elasticity, and this is very simple to do.
Knees To Chest Stretch
Lie on your back and pull both knees in towards the chest. Move your chin down and on to the chest at the same time, but ensure that you move slowly and although this is a relatively mild stretch there is no such thing as mild if you really have serious back pain.
Perform the stretch slowly and stop if any unusual discomfort is felt. Hold for a reasonable period of time, but begin with just a few seconds daily and gradually build up the time in the stretch.
Raised Leg Stretch
Find a chair or other suitable object that you can place one leg on to, knee slightly bent. Keep your back straight and lean forward until you feel the stretch. Hold once you feel that you are near to the edge of what is comfortable. Repeat with the other leg.
Simple Touch Toes
Not actually as simple as it sounds, even for those without a twinge of back pain. To begin it may well be better to keep your knees unlocked to allow a slightly deeper stretch. Simply bend over trying to touch your toes with your finger tips. Don’t be surprised if at first you are a long way off from finding your feet!
It is amazing how many people in perfect health cannot do this movement so if you are stretching to ease back pain you at least have an excuse. Build up gradually, as in all stretches, to a 20-30 second stretch, this exercise will give you great flexibility over time but be cautious and never continue of you feel a twinge or pain. This simple exercise is also perfect for easing sciatic nerve pain, which will be looked at in more detail in the next article.
Lie on your back with knees bent and touching. Place you arms at a 90 degree angle to your side with palms down. Then SLOWLY allow your legs to turn to the left hand side as if you are trying to tough the floor, ensuring that the legs stay together. Repeat to the other side.
Only allow your legs to move to the side as much as is comfortable. Remember, if you have serious back pain then you still need to move your legs to the starting position so move with caution and return as soon as you feel any discomfort.
Stretching To Help With Back
The aim with all stretches is to slowly improve your range of mobility without causing increased damage.
This means never performing any stretch that could result in increased problems. Perform very limited ranges of motion to begin with and build up in the time and range of movement over the course of a few days.
From a personal point of view the author has had such acute back pain that any of these exercises were impossible to perform for many weeks, apart from a slight forward lean in a vain attempt to get anywhere near his toes!
If you have extremely serious back pain and are unable to perfom any stretches and get a sharp twinge with the slightest movement, then get the backnobber and use for a few days before attempting any stretches.
Light on Yoga by B.K.S Iyengar is the book we personally own and recommend to anyone who suffers from back pain, it has courses designed specifically for strengthening and improving the lower back and is designed for the complete novice. A daily number of stretches is the absolute best way to keep increased flexibility and improve core strength and elasticity so that pain in the lower back is not a recurring problem.
This is part 2 of a 5 part series of articles covering all aspects of stretching to help with back pain. Please read the whole series for a fuller understanding of the do’s and don’ts before you begin any stretching movements.
Stretching To Help Ease Lower Back Pain
We need to always err on the side of caution when first performing any new movements. And those who are stretching to help get rid of back pain should approach all exercises slowly and cease if any pain is felt.