The lower back is susceptible to pain because of the weight that it carries, and because of its anatomy and the way it is put together. Your lower back takes the strain of your upper body, and this is one of the reasons that so many people experience pain. Performing regular lower back stretches is an effective way to strengthen the back and prevent lower back pain.
How Can Stretches Help Your Lower Back?
Performing simple lower back pain stretches can improve your flexibility and strength. Your lower back is supported by your spine, and your spine is comprised of over 30 little bones (vertebrae) that sit on top of one another. Each of these vertebrae is separated by a piece of cartilage, which acts as a buffer between them, and stops them from grinding against each other.
There are lots of different causes of lower back pain including over-use, sciatica, herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, fractures, spinal stenosis, arthritis, and scoliosis. And, very often the cause of back pain is difficult to diagnose.
Keeping the back muscles and core muscles strong with back pain stretches helps to improve your posture and carry your weight by putting minimal strain on your lower back.
It might be tempting to lay back in bed or retreat to the couch if you suffer from chronic back pain but also remember that your muscles atrophy when they aren’t in use. Getting moving and using your muscles should be a priority to stop this from happening.
Stretches allow you to ease your body into new positions without forcing anything and risking over-using your muscles. Using your own body weight as resistance is a good way to strengthen your muscles. It’s also easier to stretch than to exercise when you are in pain
What Are The Best Stretches For Lower Back Pain?
The best lower back pain stretches help to alleviate tension in the muscles that provide support to your spine without putting it under strain.
What Stretches To Do For Lower Back Pain
Ideally the lower back pain stretches should be held for 10 seconds, building up to 30 seconds as you become stronger. Put on some relaxing music and be conscious of your muscles and your breathing. Visualise your breath travelling into the areas where you feel pain.
It is important to note that any new exercise program you start should be approved by your doctor or chiropractor first. If you do suffer from back pain you should get a go-ahead from your chiropractor or personal trainer to prevent injury.
Partial stomach crunches
Lay flat with your arms behind your head and your sacrum firmly against the ground. Bend your knees and keep your ankles slightly apart. Use your core muscles to lift your shoulders and head from the floor as you inhale with each lift.
Side to side twists
Laying flat on your back, bring your knees and ankles together. Your chin is gently tucked and your upper body is relaxed. Inhale as you roll both knees to one side, keeping your shoulders still and flat. Hold for one breath before returning your knees to centre. Move to the other side.
Lay flat on your back with bent knees. Inhale as you squeeze your buttocks and core, lifting your hips off the ground until just your shoulders are flat. Hold this position for about 5 seconds before you slowly lower yourself back to the floor.
What not to do
Not all exercises are created equal when it comes to back pain stretches, and some can cause more strain than good. Avoid touching your toes if you suffer from back pain as this can put unnecessary strain in your spinal ligaments and discs,
Remember to pace yourself and ease yourself into any exercises or poses, and out of them again. If you feel any pain you should stop exercising immediately and seek professional treatment. Only stretch as far as your feels comfortable. As you become stronger you can make the exercises more challenging.
Other lifestyle improvements you can make for lower back pain include lifting from your knees when you pick up heavy items and quitting smoking. Keeping yourself strong and flexible with regular exercises to strengthen your back and core can help to prevent lower back pain in the future.
Need help with back pain stretches for your lower back? Speak to a professional: 02 9546 6033.