Stiffness and lack of stabilization are two common reasons that a person may experience back pain. Taking the time to make sure you are incorporating stretching exercises into your day will help to prevent this rigidity. Stretching is something that you can conveniently do throughout your day and is an easy way to reduce the stress on your back. In the following blog, we will discuss various stretches to help with your back pain.
Stretching accomplishes two main things for your back: it reduces muscles tension around and supporting your spine, and also increases your range of motion. Couple this with the fact that it’s something you can do in your own home as well as having a variety of exercises to choose from, stretching is an important remedy for anyone experiencing back pain.
A common reason that people experience upper back pain is bad posture. Sitting hunched over at a desk at work all day can take a toll on your upper back. By performing the following stretches, you can help to open up your chest and back muscles, preventing those upper back pains from becoming more of an issue later on.
Your Thoracic Spine is the middle area of the vertebrae between your neck and your lower back. Thoracic mobility is an important aspect of maintaining good posture and helping to reduce the chance of pain in the upper back. Spending hours sitting at work with bad posture can lead to stiffness in this area which can result in a sort of “rounding” of the Thoracic spine. This is what causes poor posture, and eventually upper back pain.
Thoracic Extensions are stretches designed to help with the issue of poor Thoracic mobility. These stretches will help to “roll out” those stiff muscles around the spine (chest, lats) as well as the area of the Thoracic Spine itself.
To perform the Thoracic Extension using a foam roller, position the foam roller on the floor and lie back on it so it’s positioned in the middle to upper section of your back, keeping your feet flat on the floor. Placing your hands behind your head and pulling your elbows close together, let your head gently fall to the floor and extend your Thoracic spine over the foam roller. Next, slowly roll up and down the spine, focusing on any particularly painful areas. It’s important to make sure you aren’t extending the rolling up to your neck or down to your lower back as this can result in hyper extension and further injury.
Child’s Pose is a beginner Yoga pose that will help stretch muscles, reduce stress and help with fatigue. Adding the rotation portion will help to focus the stretch in the Thoracic spine region as well as the shoulder area.
To perform this stretch with the rotation, start in a kneeling position on the floor, sitting back on both of your heels with your big toes touching each other and separating your knees so that they are the same width as your hips. Place both hands on the floor in front of you and begin by leaning your chest downward making sure to really focus on the stretch in your lower back as well as your lats. Placing the back of one hand on the floor, directly under your chest, slide your arm so that it is perpendicular to your body. Continue this motion until both of your shoulders are essentially stacked on top of each other, keeping your head facing the same direction that your body is moving. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds and then return to the starting position, repeating this on the other side.
This is a stretch that you can perform even while you’re sitting at work. In order to reduce that stiffness you experience in your upper back, use the butterfly wings stretch to help loosen up the muscles in between your shoulders. To perform this stretch, sit up straight with your fingertips touching the top of shoulders and your elbows pointed out to the side. While keeping your fingers on the tops of your shoulders exhale and slowly bring your elbows in front of you until they’re touching. Then inhale and slowly bring your elbows back to the starting position. Repeating these steps as necessary throughout your day at work will help reduce that stiffness in your upper back.
Lower back pain is something we all go through at some point. As we age, our spine gradually goes through degenerative changes that results in less space between the vertebrae, causing those common back pain issues. By stretching the area around our spine, we take some of that pressure off the area in the lower back and alleviate the pain.
As with the other areas of our back, the muscles and limbs surrounding the area directly affect the back itself. For the lower back in particular, hip and hamstring tightness are common culprits for experiencing pain. The single knee to chest stretch is an easy way to address this issue and loosen up those muscles in the hips, hamstrings and glutes. To perform this stretch, start by laying on your back, bending one knee and keeping the other straight. Place both hands behind the bent knee and slowly pull that knee towards your chest until you feel a stretch going down the back of your leg. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds and repeat the process with the other leg. Perform this stretch 3-5 times for each leg.
The Prayer Stretch is another form of the child’s pose we discussed above, only this time we won’t include the rotation aspect in order to focus on the lower back. This stretch will focus on flexing the spine and relieving the stress on the lower back. Begin by kneeling on the floor and sitting back on your heels, touching your big toes together. Keeping your knees the same width as your hips, bend forward at your waist and extend your arms over your head and onto the floor in front of you. Extend until you feel the stretch in your lower back and hold this position for 30-60 seconds and return to the starting kneeling position. Repeat these steps 3-5 times.
Core stability and strength is an important factor in maintaining a healthy back and taking the stress off the lower back in particular. Lack of core strength and stability will put more onus on the lower back to support and stabilize your body, resulting in lower back pain. The Pelvic Tilt is an easy way to improve your core stability. To perform this stretch, lay back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. You can keep your arms either behind your head or down by your sides. Now tighten your abdominal muscles, pressing the lower portion of your back into the floor. Hold this position (keeping your abdominal muscles tight) for 10 seconds and repeat this process 20 times.
If you are consistently finding yourself suffering from back pain, these stretches will go a long way in alleviating that. However, if your pain is being caused by a more serious issue than the common issues that most people are faced with, it would be a good idea to seek professional advice and attention. At Pinnacle Pain we can provide that for you, finding the best ways to alleviate the pain you’re experiencing and help to prevent those issues from persisting. Schedule a consultation today and speak with our team so that we can help you get back to living well.