Lower back pain can be debilitating, and prevent you from working, exercising, and getting a good nights sleep. Over 30 million Americans experience lower back pain at some point. It is the most common and most expensive work-related injury in the U.S. Lower back problems could affect one’s lifestyle especially if they perform repetitive daily tasks, lead a sedentary lifestyle, and are subjected to prolonged sitting at work.
Lower back pain is caused by many factors including fibromyalgia, spondylolisthesis, inflammatory arthritis, and endometriosis. Many cases stem from injury in the soft tissues, muscles, discs, and joints. Symptoms of lower back pain range from dull aches, to sharp shooting pains. Regularly stretching the muscles and ligaments that support the spin is vital when it comes to any back exercise routine. You should focus on stretches that alleviate back and neck pain and are recommended by physicians and physical therapists. The benefits of stretching include:
- Reduce the risk of disability
- Improve overall mobility
- Reduce muscle tension
- Improve range of motion
It’s important to know how to stretch correctly to relieve your lower back pain. Stretching techniques should be gentle and address stability and mobility in both the lower and upper back. You should practice core exercises as well to improve lumbopelvic stability that will permanently reduce lower back pain. To avoid injury while stretching, always wear comfortable clothing that won’t constrict movements. Stretch on a flat surface and hold your stretch for at least 15 to 30 seconds.
Stretching Techniques To Ease Lower Back Pain
1. Two Myofascial Release Stretches
Myofascial release exercises will loosen up the fascia so that stretching is more effective. The first stretch focuses on the gluteus maximus muscle that is a trigger point for lower back pain. The second target the piriformis muscle which can quickly become overly tight and lead to sciatica. To begin the gluteus maximus stretch, lying on your back with your knees bent. Rest your buttocks on a foam roller or firm ball and slowly rock back and forth across it. For the piriformis exercise, stay in the same position but place the foam roller or ball underneath the outer hip. Slowly make rocking motions holding for 30 to 120 seconds and then switch sides.
2. Stretching The Hip Flexor
The psoas is the primary hip flexor muscles that connect to the lowest vertebrae of the spine. When the psoas loses mobility, it tugs on the vertebrae and causes tightness in the lower back. To stretch the hip flexors, begin on the floor in a seated position with knees bent. Cross the left ankle over the left thigh keeping the spine erect. Slowly lean forward bringing the spine toward the calf. Hold for 45 seconds before switching sides.
3. The Pelvic Tilt
The pelvic tilt also known as the glute bridge can bring movement back to the entire pelvic area alleviating lower back pain. Lie on the floor with your feet flat and knees bent. Keep your lower back in a neutral position and try to relax. Flatten your back against the floor and tilt the pelvis upward. Aim for 3 to 4 sets of 12 to 15 reps.
Yoga is an excellent way to stretch out your back gently. Childs pose will stretch and contract the muscles in the lower back to relieve pain. Begin with your hands and knees on the floor, palms flat. Slowly sit your hips back towards your heels and then drop your chest and head downward as you extend your arms. Stay in this position for at least 30 seconds. The cat-cow stretch is another yoga pose that builds on the childs pose. This stretch moves the lower back muscles in two directions helping to soothe soreness. Begin in the same position as childs pose, round your back like a cat and hold for 5 seconds. Relax letting your stomach fall downwards and arch your lower back. Hold this position for 5 seconds and repeat.
Physiotherapists help those affected by injury due to injury or illness through manual therapy, education, movement, and exercise. Their goal is to help their patients prevent disease and manage pain. Physiotherapists use their skills and expertise to improve a wide range of conditions such as neurological, neuromusculoskeletal, respiratory, and cardiovascular. Physiotherapy prices are very reasonable, depending on the area in which you live. The average cost is $99 for a consultation and then $50-$150 per session after that.