Physical therapist Daniel Giordano, DPT, PT, C.S.C.S. of Bespoke Treatments in New York City says low back pain is extremely common. He claims that there are several reasons why nearly 80% of people suffer from back pain.
If you’ve ever had back pain, you know it can make even the simplest activities difficult to complete. There are ways to alleviate the discomfort, but you should learn more about the problem first.
What Can Cause Lower Back Pain?
Low back pain can be caused by a number of different factors. Sitting for long periods of time is cited by Giordano as a contributing factor. However, there may be other causes of financial hardship if you do not work in an office setting. It’s possible that your back pain is a result of you exercising or moving too much. Another common cause of back pain is being overweight or using improper lifting technique.
What Muscles Are in Your Low Back?
The low back is a pivotal joint because it joins your legs and trunk. The lumbar spine, the last five vertebrae in your spine, make up your lower back. It’s a junction for many muscles, making it particularly sensitive to stimulation. The lats, erector spinae, and quadratus lumborum are all upper-back muscles that reach down to the lower back. Pain in the low back can also originate from an injury to the muscles in the buttocks or thighs.
Who Needs These Stretches?
Who Requires These Flexes, Anyway?
If you’re one of the unlucky 80% of people who suffer from low back pain, why not give these a shot and see if they help? If you spend most of your time at a desk, your body is probably begging you to do something to increase blood flow and mobility. This is a quick and dirty routine that can be done in between meetings or over lunch.
If you sit for long periods of time or put a lot of strain on your back, it may be worthwhile to incorporate these stretches even if you aren’t experiencing any pain right now. It is possible to overuse and tweak your low back if you are a heavy lifter or have a physically demanding job. It’s best to prevent injuries from happening in the first place by keeping these stretches handy. You’ll be glad you did it later.
6 Stretches to Relieve Lower Back Pain
Glute Foam Roll
Before doing anything else, “soften the tissue around your lower back,” as Giordano puts it. This can be accomplished by increasing local blood flow and circulation. A foam roller is perfect for this purpose. The increased circulation to the area, starting with the glutes, will help relax the muscles there and reduce the pain.
How to do it : Step-by-Step Instructions:
1. Get comfortable on the roller foam seat.
2. Roll back and forth and side to side to loosen the tissue while leaning slightly onto your right glute at first.
3. Strike from all sides by applying pressure laterally. If you experience any discomfort, it is important to avoid resting in that area for too long and instead to keep moving.
4. Iterate on the reverse side.
Quad Foam Rolling
Giordano warns that tight thighs and hip flexors can lead to low back pain due to compensation. As with the glutes, we can release any tension by increasing blood flow to the area with a foam roller.
To work the quadriceps, lie on your stomach with the foam roller under your thigh.
Place the top of your quad on the foam roller and lie face down.
Place the top of your hip bone on the foam roller and roll up. The TFL muscle will be one of the areas helped by this.
To relax the muscle tissue that surrounds your hip flexor, switch to side-to-side motion.
Switch legs and do it again.
After warming up, mobility exercises should be performed. Giordano says, “We want to make sure that the joint is fully moving through its proper range of motion” to prevent unnecessary stress on the lower back.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet wider apart than your shoulders. This is the bridge position.
You can do a knee drop to either side by shifting your hips.
Don’t go beyond the point where you no longer feel any discomfort as you swivel from side to side.
Repeat on each side 8 times.
Cat Cow Stretch
Continuing with the flexibility section, the cat-cow stretch improves spinal flexibility. This yoga staple will aid in making sure “the spine is moving properly and safely,” according to Giordano.
Get on all fours and crawl around the floor. Hips over knees, shoulders over wrists, and keep your head in a neutral position to achieve this posture.
Raise your belly button as high as it will go, tuck your chin under, and then lower your body into the extension phase while maintaining this upward gaze. A single repetition.
Perform eight sets.
This exercise, typically reserved for abdominal routines, is included here as a stabilisation move to ensure that you’re strong and compressed all over with no strain on your lower back.
Put your knees together in a “plank” position to engage your core muscles.
Keep your sternum up off the floor. Start with a 15-second hold and work your way up to 30 seconds, then 45 seconds.
Next, raise your knees off the ground and into a full plank position. Squeezing the abdominal muscles can help stabilise the low back.
Now that our abs are secure, we can focus on our hips. “Keep the pelvis solid so that there’s less pressure on the low back,” Giordano says of the benefits of regular hip activation in relieving low back pain. This step requires a small band.
With your feet flat on the floor, lie on your back and place a band just below your knee caps.
Lift your butt up in the air by driving through your heels, taking care not to arch your back.
In a standing position, your knee should be in line with your hip and your hip with your shoulder. Then go back down again.
Perform eight to ten reps.
Cori Ritchey, NASM-CPT is an Associate Health & Fitness Editor at Men’s Health and a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor. You can find more of her work in HealthCentral, Livestrong, Self, and others.