It is always recommended that we stretch before a workout and after a workout, but did you know stretching is often recommended to help reduce back pain and could help speed up the recovery process following an injury? The key to all of this is to start slowly and increase these repetitions as you feel stronger.
It’s best to consult with a chiropractor before starting a new program associated with lower back pain. Our team at Path Medical can help develop an individualized program and provide you with proper stretching techniques, which can be modified for your specific needs.
To get the maximum benefit from stretching, follow these tips and make sure proper technique is applied.
Warm up – Warm up your muscles before stretching by walking or doing other gentle movements for 10 to 15 minutes.
Relax – Slowly increase your stretch as you feel your muscles relax. Don’t bounce.
Slow Down – Stretch slowly and gently to the point of mild tension and not to the point of pain.
Breath – Don’t hold your breath. Inhale deeply before each stretch and exhale during the stretch.
Listen – Listen to your body and stop immediately if you feel any severe pain.
It is also recommended to do passive stretches and active stretches. Passive stretches help facilitate movement in the affected muscle or joint. Stretches should be held for 15 to 30 seconds. This helps the muscles relax and lengthen.
Here are some passive stretches you can try:
Hamstring Stretch – Lie on your back with both legs straight. Bend one leg at the knee and extend one leg straight up in the air. Loop a towel over the arch of the lifted foot and pull on the towel as you push against it with your foot. Hold for 30 seconds. Relax and repeat 3 times per leg.
Piriformis Stretch – The piriformis muscle runs through the buttock and can contribute to back and leg pain. To stretch this muscle, lie on the back and cross one leg over the other. Pull the knee toward the chest until a stretch is felt in the buttock area. Hold for 30 seconds. Relax and repeat 3 times.
Back stretch – Lie on your stomach. Use your arms to push your upper body off the floor. Hold for 30 seconds. Let your back relax and sag.
Active stretches facilitate movement and improve strength.
Here are some active stretches you can try:
Leg Raises – Lie on your stomach. Tighten the muscles in one leg and raise it 1 to 2 inches from the floor. Do the same with the other leg.
Bridges – Lie on your back with your knees flexed and your feet flat on the floor. Keep the news together. Tighten the muscles for the lower abdomen and buttocks. Slowly raise your hips from the floor and lower your back to the resting position.
The Pointer – Kneel on a mat with your weight on your hands and knees. Palms should be directly under your shoulders and knees hip-width apart. Slowly raise your right arm and extend it forward. Balance by contracting your abdominal muscles. Keep your right palm parallel to the floor and lift your left leg and straighten it behind you. Hold the opposing limbs off the ground for 30 to 60 seconds without arching your back. Switch sides.
Until you’ve recovered from back pain, make sure to do low impact activities that burn calories, but won’t place stress on your joints.
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