People who have never experienced back pain – or whose exposure to it has been limited to a random ache or pull – have no idea how lucky they are. Once you’ve experienced real lower back pain it’s a sensation you’ll never forget … you may even feel tempted to call and apologize to others whose pain you’ve previously heard about but minimized!
If you’re struggling with pain, then everything suddenly gets harder. Something as simple as tying your shoelaces or making your bed can suddenly be agonizing, leaving you feeling frustrated, helpless, and even hopeless.
The good news is that most of the acute back pain that people experience is treatable, and may even be alleviated by adding some simple stretches. Done correctly, lower back stretches can improve your range of motion and ease morning stiffness.
Here are some of our favorites. Choose a few of them and add them to your morning routine. Just a couple of minutes of time invested can yield big benefits.
- Cat and Cow Stretch – These are standbys at yoga class, as well as most well-structured exercise classes. Get down onto the floor on your hands and knees, holding your back flat (like a cow) and your stomach sucked in. Let out your breath and arch your spine like a Halloween cat, holding the position for a count of ten. Breathe in, then flatten your back again. Do this exercise five times.
- Child’s Pose – Another yoga class classic, child’s pose relaxes the muscles in your spine. Start on your hands and knees with a flat back and knees shoulder width apart, then lower your hips down to between your feet and stretch your arms out in front of you so that your head is between your arms. Hold this pose for a count of 20.
- Knees to Chest Stretch – Lower yourself onto the ground and lie on your back with your legs fully extended. Lift your right knee to your chest and wrap your arms around the back of your leg, extending the stretch and holding the position for a count of 20. Return to your extended position and repeat the exercise with your left leg. Do this exercise five times.
- Cobra Stretch – Lay on the floor on your stomach with your legs extended behind you. Rest your upper body on your arms with your elbows and palms on the ground, then push up gently, letting your upper body’s weight be supported by your arms. Keep your hips touching the ground and hold for a count of 10 before returning to lying flat on the floor.
- Seated Back Stretch – Sitting in a chair with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor, bend your left leg, and place your foot on your right thigh. Put your right hand on your left knee and gently press down while leaning forward a bit until you feel a stretch in your lower back and right buttock. Straighten up and repeat on the other side.
Remember that stretches are supposed to ease pain, not exacerbate it. Don’t ever stretch to the point of pain, and if you find that doing them causes you additional pain, do not continue to attempt them. Instead, contact our office to set up a convenient time to come in and see us.