Most people are likely to experience some sort of back pain during their life. As computer use and hunching over our smart phones with our heads down becomes more prevalent so to will issues with our posture and spine.
Muscles, ligaments and tendons in the back, legs, buttocks and around the spine are meant to move through a range of motion to do their job of support. However, if any of these soft tissues are shortened through bad posture, or have been damaged and now have scar tissue, that range of motion can be limited and as a result pain can result.
The back is particularly susceptible due to its design and the amount of support it needs. Stretching exercises can initially help loosen it up thereby increasing the range of motion, along with keeping it lose. Before getting into some of the stretching techniques, be sure to check with your healthcare professional before starting any exercise program, including stretching.
There are two type of stretching: static and dynamic. The stretching referenced here is static; a stretch is performed and held for a short period of time.
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Start by lying on your back. Now pull both knees to your chest while at the same time bending your head down and forward until you feel the stretch. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds before returning to the starting position. Repeat 9 more times.
While lying flat on the floor face down, arms parallel to your sides, bring your arms forward and support your upper body with your elbows and forearms. Now gradually push your upper body up using your arms, until your body is supported by your hands. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and slowly come down to the elbow position and then back to the starting position. Repeat 9 more times.
From the standing position with your arms at your side and feet shoulder-width apart, slowly start to bend left at the waist letting your left hand slide down your leg and your right arm coming up over your head. Hold for 10 seconds then slowly return to the starting position. Now bend to the right letting your right hand slide down and your left arm come up. Hold for 10 seconds before slowly returning back to the starting position; that is one repetition. Repeat for a total of 10 repetitions.
Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Loift the buttocks and lower back, keeping shoulders neck and head pressed down. Hold for 15 seconds before returning to the starting position. Repeat 9 more times.
Yoga is another good way to stretch not only the back but also the legs and arms, which can also be sources of back pain. It is a great way to not only keep your back limber and to minimize pain caused by tight soft tissue, but with meditation, also a great way to “stretch” the mind.