5 Stretches to Destroy Low Back Pain

How Common is Lower Back Pain

Did you know that over 31 million Americans experience low back pain at some point in their life?  It’s pretty scary when you think about it. Believe it or not, low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide according to the Global Burden of Disease 2010.  It is also is one of the most common reasons for people missing work. Back pain is actually the second most common reason for doctor’s visits – outpaced only by upper respiratory infections.

What causes lower back pain?

It could be any number of reasons: injury, overuse, arthritis, poor posture, obesity, and even psychological stress can cause or complicate back pain. For a lot of us, living an incredibly sedentary lifestyle might also have something to do with it. And while popping a pill to make the pain go away for a while might sound like a good idea, it is not a long term solution. Doctors are learning that regular reliance on painkillers may contribute to serious and surprising health issues. Studies have shown that when Ibuprofen and NSAIDs are taken over a long period of time, it can cause internal damage. One of the known side effects of long term use of ibuprofen, for example, is intestinal bleeding. They may even pose dangers to the heart, kidneys, bones and even hearing.

Besides, pain killers don’t actually fix anything; they were made to mask the pain to allow your body to heal on its own. Knowing this,wouldn’t it be better to treat the cause of your back pain and allow your body to heal itself naturally, rather than temporarily treating the symptom and potentially causing other side effects?

How a chiropractor can help.

This is where going to see a chiropractor comes into play. Having your spine checked is the first step on the road to recovery.  A chiropractic check up can pinpoint areas of damage and misalignment in your spine that may be throwing off your mechanics and causing pain and other symptoms. Your doctor chiropractic can work with you to create a care plan to help you work out the kinks – figuratively and literally!

Spinal manipulation, otherwise known as an adjustment, is a safe and effective way to relieve nerve pressure throughout your spine allowing your body to naturally heal itself by way of the nervous system. It helps to reduce pain, rapidly advances physical therapy, and requires very few passive forms of treatment (like bed rest).

Put motion into your back.

The main thing is to put motion into your back because when your spine is moving there is less chance for break down over time. Here’s a few stretches to help destroy low back pain. (As always, please consult with your doctor or, better yet, chiropractor before doing any new exercises.)

1. The first exercise is called Double Knee to Chest.

Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Next, bring one knee to your chest and then the other. Don’t raise both legs together to avoid putting additional strain on your back.  Now hold this pose for 15 to 30 seconds. Relax and lower your legs, one at a time. to the floor. Rest for 30 seconds, and then repeat 4 times. Remember to breathe and move slowly throughout the stretching sequence.

2. The next exercise is a Lying Piriformis Stretch.

Again, lie flat on your back with feet on floor and knees bent. Start by grabbing hold of one of your knees and begin to pull it back towards your opposite shoulder. Note: If you feel a pinch in your hip crease you may need to stretch through your hip flexors prior to stretching your piriformis muscle.  If you don’t feel much of a stretch here, try placing your ankle across onto the thigh of your other leg. (You’ll look a little like a pretzel twist.) Then thread your arms through and interlace your finger tips together behind the thigh of your leg that’s beneath the one being stretched and pull both legs towards your chest. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat with opposite leg.

3. The third exercise is called a Reclining Twist.

Lie on your back with your feet on the floor and your knees bent. From there, with your hand, guide your bent knees as far to the left as you can. (You can use a pillow under your knees if there is a space between them and the floor.)  Next, extend your arms out to both sides at shoulder height, attempting to gently twist and keep both shoulder blades on the floor. Hold the stretch for two minutes, breathing deeply. Repeat on the right side.

4. This next one is a fun one! It’s called the Cat and the Cow pose.

You start this pose on your hands and knees. Make sure your wrists are directly under your shoulders, and your knees directly under your hips. Keep your head in a neutral position, with your face parallel to the floor. Now we’ll move into the Cow Pose: Inhale as you drop your belly towards the mat. Lift your chin and chest, and gaze up toward the ceiling. It will feel like you’re making a “U” with your body. Make sure to broaden across your shoulder blades and draw your shoulders away from your ears. Then we’ll move into Cat Pose: As you exhale, draw your belly to your spine, round your back toward the ceiling, and tuck your tailbone down towards the floor. The pose should look like a cat stretching its back. Drop your head down, pointing the crown of your head towards the floor, but don’t force your chin to your chest.

Inhale and go back into the Cow Pose.  Exhale as you return to the Cat Pose. Repeat 10 times.

5. The final stretch is called the Child Pose.

Start on your hands and knees. Breath deeply while you spread your knees wide apart and make sure to keep your big toes touching. Rest your buttocks on your heels. Now, sit up straight and lengthen your spine.  Exhale then bow forward, draping your torso between your thighs. Your heart and chest should rest between or on top of your thighs. Allow your forehead to come to the floor. Extend your arms above your head, palms facing down touching the floor. Press back slightly with your hands to keep your buttocks in contact with your heels, which will help lengthen through your low back. Lengthen from your hips to your armpits, and then extend even further through your fingertips. Let your upper back broaden; soften and relax your lower back.  Hold for 60 seconds while breathing softly. To release the pose, gently use your hands to walk your torso upright to sit back on your heels.

Do these stretches regularly to help put movement back in your spine.  When done in conjunction with regular chiropractic care, it will help decrease back pain – if not eliminate it all together!

To schedule a complementary spinal health check call our office at (970) 377-3557.

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