Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Back Pain - As Simple As Stretching?

So, your lower back is sore and you can not figure out why... you have not lifted anything heavy lately, you have not been sitting in an airplane, you have a wonderful mattress and your kids are no longer in those awful car seats that weigh a ton.  So, what is causing all this pain?

It could be a lot of things, but more and more lately, I am finding clients with tight and / or twisted hips.  This can cause a lot of discomfort in the lower back.  The best solution for this problem is stretching, strengthening and maybe even a good massage.

Obviously, there are a whole list of reasons your back could hurt, but this is just one cause with a very simple solution.  By stretching out the muscles in the hips, glutes, legs and lower back, you can release the tension and allow your back to move freely, allowing you to move pain-free.

Here are some simple stretches to try.

1. Hip Flexor / Iliopsoas Stretch - Kneeling on one knee with the front leg at 90 degrees, push forward with your hips until you feel a nice stretch down the front of your hip.  Hold 30 sec - 1 min.

2. Hamstrings - Seated, with one leg straight out front and the other leg bent, lean forward (with your lower back straight) until you feel a stretch down the back of your leg (you may feel it behind your knee).  Hold for 30 sec - 1 min.  Repeat other leg.  ***Do not allow your lower back to round as stretching, this will place more pressure on an already vulnerable area.  Keep your back straight for this stretch and only go forward as far as you can comfortably.***

3. Gluteus Minimus - Laying flat on your back with your legs flat on the ground, pull one knee up to your chest and then, slowly and gently, pull the leg across your chest with your opposite hand.  Be careful to not over-twist your body.  You should feel this one in your outer hip.  Hold 30 sec - 1 min.  Repeat other leg.

***I can not find a picture of this one... I will draw one (badly, I am sure) and add it soon.***

4. Gluteus Maximus - Laying on your back, bend your first leg and place your other foot across your knee.  Pull the first leg towards you by the upper leg.  Keep your hips straight.  Hold for 30 sec - 1 min.  Repeat other leg.

5. ITB Roll-Out - Using a foam roller (or 3 tennis balls duct taped together), roll up and down, massaging and stretching out your ITB from your hip, down to your knee.  This is usually tight in runners, causing knee issues, but even without knee problems, it does not hurt to keep this band limber.  Roll for 30 sec - 1 min each side.

Hopefully, after a few days of stretching, you should feel a difference in your lower back.  Again, I am not saying this is the solution to all your back issues, but this is a simple first step to correcting / avoiding back issues.

Stretching is something we could all add to our daily routine.  It would be so simple to take 20 minutes each night and stretch before you go to bed.  Remember, when you stretch, do not over stretch.  You should feel the stretch, but it should never hurt... ok, the ITB Roll-Out may hurt (a lot) the first few times, depending on how tight it is... but, other than that, stretching should not hurt.  Breath while you are stretching and allow your body to enjoy and react to the stretch.

Hope this help with a few of your back problems out there!

No comments:

Post a Comment