by Jennifer Brown, Physical Therapist
If you suffer from back pain and are looking for a natural cure, regular stretching can do wonders. Keeping the muscles, tendons and ligaments that surround the spinal column strong and flexible is fundamental to a healthy and pain-free back.
Stretching to relieve back pain is a healthy and natural way to deal with chronic problems without the need for medications or invasive surgery. Stretches for back pain will help free up restricted areas and gradually increase your range of motion. Eventually, you should be able to make normal movements again free from pain.
When beginning a stretching routine, you should wear clothes that allow complete freedom of movement. Take it slow and easy and don’t force your body into uncomfortable positions.
Stretching exercises should be done slowly, gently and with a controlled motion. Don’t bounce! Bouncing can tear muscles and make your back problems worse.
Only stretch a muscle until you reach a point of slight discomfort, and then hold the stretch for approximately twenty seconds. This is key to gradually loosening up your joints and muscles.
An exercise routine for back pain that involves five to ten minutes of stretching twice a day should be sufficient to bring about significant improvement in your condition.
Your back muscles are usually tight early in the morning when you first wake up. One way to alleviate this discomfort is to do flexion exercises after getting out of bed in the morning:
Acupressure is a simple technique that is surprisingly effective. It works by applying pressure on certain points on the body to relieve back pain. Acupressure seems to work by increasing the production of endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain relievers.
How to do acupressure for back pain:
You should experience a lessening of your back pain as a result.
Since inflammation is thought to be a major reason for the development of back pain, herbs with certain anti-inflammatory effects may be helpful in relieving back pain.
White willow bark for instance, has pain-relieving properties similar to aspirin. A compound contained in white willow bark is converted in the body to salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is thought to relieve pain and inflammation.
Another herb used in treatment of back pain is known as devil’s claw. Devil’s claw contains chemical compounds with anti-inflammatory properties.
As you can see, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on expensive medications or medical treatments when a basic routine of stretches for back pain can give you back your quality of life. Daily stretches and acupressure treatments done over a period of weeks can get rid of back pain and restore you to your old self again. Natural herbs can also be of use. Try them – you’ll be surprised at how much better you feel!
(published March 2, 2012)