• Try These Easy Stretches for Back Pain

    Thursday, April 27th, 2017

    by Jennifer Brown, Physical Therapist

    back-painIf 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.

    How to Begin a Stretching Routine

    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.

    Back Pain Exercises

    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:

    back-pain-stretches

    • Lie on your back on a flat surface and draw both knees up to your chin. At the same time, flex your head forward and hold this position for 20 seconds. Relax and feel the stretch along your spine.

    • Another good back stretch for improving mobility around your spine is to lay on a flat surface with your heels flat on the floor and your knees bent. Pull one leg up to your chest by grabbing your leg behind your knee with both hands. Repeat the same stretch on the other side.

    • For people with a limited range of motion in their back, a tight piriformis muscle is often to blame. The piriformis muscle runs through your buttocks area and supports the lower part of your torso.
       
      To stretch the piriformis muscle, lie on your back and cross your legs. Gently pull the bottom leg up toward your chest and hold the stretch for several seconds. Re-cross your legs and repeat.

    • The muscles in your buttocks and hips play a key role in maintaining good posture, so keeping these muscles loose and flexible supports a healthy spine. Assume a standing lunge position with your right leg forward and the knee bent. With your weight on your left hip, keep your left leg straight and gently bend forward until you feel a stretch in the hip area. Hold for several seconds, then switch to the other leg.

    Acupressure for Low Back Pain Relief

    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:

    1. Center your fingertip on the space between your nose and upper lip.
    2. Apply deep pressure and hold this pressure for several seconds, then release. Repeat this step several times.
    3. Next, place your fingertip between your inner anklebone and your Achilles tendon.
    4. Again apply deep pressure, holding for several seconds, and then release. Repeat this step several times.
    5. Finally, make a fist. On the outside of your hand near the pinkie finger, locate the spot where the skin folds and bulges. Press there and hold for several seconds. Repeat this step several times.

    You should experience a lessening of your back pain as a result.

    Natural Herbs for Back Pain Relief

    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)