6 Stretches to Reduce Back Pain

6 Stretches to Reduce Back Pain

At some point or another, we all have experienced some form of back pain. As I have explained in some of my previous posts, the degree or level of pain that is experienced is subjective to the individual based solely on their own neuro-signature. Simply put, no two people can experience the same quality of pain. That said, from a global perspective on back pain, many who have pain, often feel like they are forever vulnerable to it, once it has happened. This is not the case. In order to #trainthebrain to understand messages received from the low back we must slowly introduce what are called graded exposure exercises to re-educate the brain. When someone initially hurts their back (acute trauma), the typical reaction is to guard and splint the area to avoid any further damage. This may seem like a great survival mechanism, but research has proven that lack of movement to an injured area will prolong the recovery process. The implementation of a backcare plan that consists of controlled, measured movements will assuredly allow you to return to full function in a shorter period of time than weeks of bed rest. Here are 6 simple movements that you should consider doing on a weekly basis to both alleviate and avoid future back issues.

partial oblique crunch stretch

Partial Crunch - Pelvic Tilt Exercise for Back Pain

How to do a Partial Crunch:
• Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
• As you exhale, contract your abdominal muscles and press the small of your back into the floor.
• Lift your head and shoulders slightly up off the floor as you reach toward your feet with your fingertips.
• Hold for 5 to 10 seconds.
• Relax and return to the starting position.
• Repeat 5 to 10 times.

cat cow back stretch

Cat-Cow Stretch for Back Pain

This simple stretch, sometimes called the cat-cow stretch, gently stretches the muscles of the low back and helps realign the spine and pelvis. It's particularly helpful to ease the pain of a low back strain. Here's how to do it correctly.
How to Do the Cat-Cow Stretch
• Begin on your hands and knees.
• Contract your abdominal muscles. (Try to pull your belly button toward your spine.)
• Slowly round your back, pushing it up toward the ceiling.
• Allow your head to drop forward and curl your pelvis under.
• Hold for 10 seconds. You should feel a gentle stretch in your back.
• Return to the starting position.
• Raise your head up and let your pelvis fall forward as your belly reaches down toward the floor.
• Hold the position for 10 seconds, then return to the starting position.
• Repeat about 5 to 10 times.

prone back stretch

Prone Back Extension for Back pain

The prone back extension is a slightly more advanced and intense back stretch. Here's how to safely perform it.
How to Do the Prone Back Extension
• Begin in a face-down position on the floor.
• Slowly lift your torso up; place your elbows under your shoulders and your hands firmly on the ground. Your lower back will be slightly arched.
• Push into the ground and slowly straighten your elbows to increase the extension in your lower back. Go only as far as comfortable, and stop if you experience any pain. You should feel a comfortable, gentle stretch.
• Hold the position for 15 seconds.
• Return to the starting position.
• Repeat 5 to 8 times.

hip opener stretch

Hip Opener and Lower Back Stretch

How to Do the Hip Opener and Lower Back Stretch
• Begin in a forward lunge position, and drop your left knee to the ground.
• Place your right elbow on the inside of your right knee (not pictured).
• Press your right elbow gently into your right knee and twist your torso to the left.
• Reach your left arm behind you until you feel a gentle stretch in your lower back and right groin.
• Hold the stretch for about 20 to 30 seconds. Release and repeat on the other leg.
You can modify this stretch based on your own anatomy, flexibility, and limitations. Be sure to keep your forward knee over or behind your ankle, not in front of it.

spinal twist back stretch

Spinal Twist Stretch for Back Pain

The spinal twist stretch should be done carefully and slowly. In order to avoid overstretching, never force your knees to the ground. Allow your knees to fall only as far as comfortable. Over time you will naturally increase your range of motion in this stretch. Here's how to safely perform the spinal twist stretch.
How to Do the Spinal Twist Stretch
• Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
• Slowly let your knees fall toward the floor until a gentle stretch is felt in your spine.
• Hold for 10 seconds and return to the starting position.
• Next, allow your knees to slowly fall to the other side until a gentle stretch is felt.
• Hold for 10 seconds and return to the starting position.
• Repeat several times on each side.

Knees to Chest Stretch for Back Pain

Bringing both knees into the chest is a simple way to release tension in the back and gently stretch the hamstrings. This simple spinal flexion movement is a great way to end a back stretching routine or workout.
How to Do the Knees to Chest Back Flexion Stretch
• Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
• Slowly bring your knees toward your chest and gently grasp your legs just below the kneecap.
• Hold this position for 20 seconds and return to the starting position.
• Rest a few seconds and repeat the stretch several times.

Please Hold the R.I.C.E.

Please Hold the R.I.C.E. I have been in the rehabilitation field since 1992. Since the very beginning I was always told that when treating an acute injury you should follow the age old acronym of R.I.C.E. or Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. The concept was originally introduced by one of the most respected names in…

Read More

Have a Brettzel!

Have a Brettzel! In the world of flexibility and stretching, there are a bevy of stretches that have likely been shown to you over the years. It’s hard to remember them if you don’t consistently do them and the ones you likely DO recall are the ones that are probably easiest for YOU to perform.…

Read More

Take 5: A Stress Break

Take 5: A Stress Break I will be the first in line to inform you of the benefits of a 60 minute massage treatment. However, what if your massage is not scheduled for another week or worse, not even scheduled? Well, as a firm believer and trumpeter of self-care, here is a pretty neat trick…

Read More

Is it a Muscle Cramp or Muscle Strain?

Is it a Muscle Cramp or Muscle Strain? Last week when my daughter walked in from cheerleading practice, I noticed her limping. When I asked her why she was limping, she went on to explain what I often hear and have seen from my athletes.  Having been fortunate to evade serious injuries until this point…

Read More

Work From Home Hacks!

With so many of you experiencing a new work environment, you are probably starting to notice that many of the chronic aches and pains you had experienced in the past at work on a daily basis, have seemingly disappeared. In their place however, are a new set of sensations we are experiencing due to such…

Read More

How to Fold a Fitted Sheet

Have a ‘sheety’ Valentine’s Day! Today is Valentine’s Day, otherwise known to most as a #greetingcardholiday.  As I walked out of CVS this morning, I laughed at the people who were fighting for position in the greeting card aisle.  Valentine’s Day is about showing love for someone in your life, not elbowing strangers while cursing…

Read More

Happiness is Contagious

Happiness is Contagious Maybe mom was right. Research suggests that surrounding yourself with friends and family who are happy can actually increase your own happiness. Scientists at Harvard University and the University of California, San Diego, found that emotions, particularly happiness, have a viral effect in how they spread from one person to another. For…

Read More

De-stressing the Commute

De-stressing the Commute Turning Road Rage into Road Sage The average American commuter spends an hour a day driving to and from work. During this stressful, stop-and-go time, it’s likely that blood pressure increases, adrenaline begins pumping, and muscles constrict and tighten. By the time you get home, you’re wiped out and grumpy, and you…

Read More

What’s the Scoop on your Poop?

What’s the Scoop on your Poop? Being the father of two girls, I know I have my work cut out for me. I have come to accept that there are lessons that I can teach my children and there are others lessons they will simply have to learn through personal experience. One of the lessons…

Read More

Halloween Hacked!

Halloween Hacked Check out these simple hacks! Who among us doesn’t love Halloween. If I am being honest, it used to be me!  You see, I typically found myself in trouble around this time of year when I was in grammar school.  Let’s just say that I wasn’t always motivated to do what was asked…

Read More