The SpinePro expert Dr. Hooman Melamed understands that back pain can make it difficult to enjoy a full and active lifestyle. Living with consistent, sometimes debilitating pain may make you want to seek out surgical treatments or heavy duty pain medications. Before getting fixated on medical options, consider the benefits of stretching. Stretching is an often overlooked, highly effective treatment for back pain that even works to prevent future spinal complications.
How does stretching work to relieve back pain?
- Relaxes tight muscles and improves circulation
- Strengthens the back muscles, lowering the chances of future back pain
- Increases the back’s resilience, so you are able to perform more activities without experiencing pain
Sticking to a consistent stretching routine may be one of the most effective options for treating and preventing back problems. Maximize benefits by making stretching a twice-daily regimen.
The stretches and how they work:
How: Begin by lying on a mat with your knees bent. Keeping your upper back flat on the ground, rotate your legs towards one side of the floor until you feel a stretch, hold for five seconds. Repeat stretch on the other side. Do this 10 times per side.
Benefits: This improves the spine’s mobility while relaxing the muscles along the side of the body. This stretch also takes away tension from the spinal column.
Knee to chest:
How: Begin by lying on a mat with toes pointed up toward the ceiling. Slowly bend your right knee and bring your leg toward your chest. Wrap your hands around your leg and gently pull your knee toward your chest, hold for 20 seconds then gently release. Repeat three times per leg.
Benefits: This stretch aligns the pelvis and stretches lower back muscles.
How: Begin this pose on all fours. Slowly sit your hips back while reaching your arms out in front of you on the mat. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds then slowly return to all fours. Repeat this five times.
Benefits: This stretches your hips, thighs, and ankles while softly stretching the muscles of the back. It also relaxes the lower spine muscles while extending mobility.
How: Begin this pose on all fours. Arch your back up toward the ceiling and hold for five seconds. Then arch your back toward the ground and hold again for five seconds. Repeat 10 times.
Benefits: This stretch strengthens the back and abdominal muscles while improving the flexibility of the spine.
How: Sit on your mat with your back straight. Place your left leg over your right as pictured above. Place your hand in front of you or on your legs and gently ease into the stretch. Keeping back straight and chest lifted, hold this stretch for 20 seconds. Repeat three times per side.
Benefits: This will reduce pain and tightness through the legs and back. It works to lengthen the piriformis muscle, which is the muscle responsible for radiating leg pain (sciatica).
How: Begin by lying on your stomach with your legs extended and hands in front of you, flat on the mat. Slowly push your body upward, hold for 10 seconds then gently return down. Repeat five times. Stretch can be modified to keep weight on forearms if there is less flexibility.
Benefits: This stretches tight abdominal muscles and the lower back while strengthening the spine.
How: Begin by sitting on the mat with one leg straight and the other bent in with your foot touching your inner leg. Keeping your back flat, lean forward from your hips until a stretch is felt behind your thigh. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat five times per side.
Benefits: Lengthen the thigh muscles to relieve pressure on the lower back by doing this stretch. It will decrease stress felt in the back when lifting or bending.
We believe in taking a holistic approach to treating your back and neck pain. That means before we even consider surgery or medication, we want you to consider how lifestyle changes may contribute to bettering your health and wellbeing.
For full-service spine care from the orthopedic spine expert Dr. Hooman Melamed, call (310) 574-0405.