When you are experiencing back pain, often the last thing you feel like doing is exercise. However, for some, exercises with a physiotherapist is precisely what the doctor ordered. While regular exercise is acknowledged as important for our overall wellness, stretching is an often-overlooked aspect of managing lower back pain.
Stretches developed by a spinal consultant together with an active exercise regime can help maintain a normal range of motion and provide relief for muscles spasming due to nerve irritation.
Why Stretching Is Important
Following a stretching routine designed by a physical therapist or a spinal consultant can help with pain symptoms. Generally, lower back pain patients should focus attention on stretching their lower back muscles, abdominal muscles, hips, and legs.
Stretching can help with:
- Pain relief
- Muscle maintenance
- Pain prevention
Who Can Benefit From Stretching
Stretching can benefit people experiencing lower back pain and can also prevent a recurrence of pain symptoms. The spinal consultants at our Eight Mile Plains clinic can also assist with advice on stretching to help those seeking a simple, daily range-of-motion maintenance routine. This mitigates the effects of back pain for those whose jobs, sporting and exercise activities, or lifestyle preferences can trigger lower back pain.
Stretches That Can Be Performed At Home
Stretching exercises at home fall into two groups:
- Dynamic Stabilization Exercises
These exercises use a range of exercises together with exercise balls, balancing machines or stabilizing exercises. These exercises are designed to strengthen the spine’s secondary muscles while helping support the spine through a range of motion.
- Core Strengthening Exercises
These strengthen the abdominal muscles and lower back muscles
These exercises include:
- Leg raises, crunches, sit-ups, and abdominal machines
- Hyperextensions or lower back exercises involve lying on your stomach and slowly raising your chest off the ground
- Good Mornings where the patient stands with legs straight with a broom-stick or weighted bar across the shoulders, then slowly bends forward until their face is parallel to the floor before rising back up.
3 Stretches That Can Be Performed At Your Desk At Work
- Exercise Ball Chair
Replace your desk chair with an exercise ball. All day you are activating all the muscles in your back and legs to stay balanced.
- Torso Twist
Start by inhaling and as you exhale, twist to the right, grab the back of your chair with your right hand, then grab the arm of the chair with your left. With your eyes level, twist your torso around as far as possible using your grip on the chair. Hold the twist position and allow your eyes to continue the stretch, seeing how far around you can see.
- Big Hug
First, place your right hand on your left shoulder then your left hand on your right shoulder effectively hugging your body. Then gently breathe in and out.
When To Seek Help
Always consult a doctor if your back pain lasts longer than 72 hours or if the pain:
- Wakes you at night
- If you experience fever, sweats, chills
- Numbness or tingling
- Bowel or bladder problems
- Pain following an injury or unexplained weight loss.
These symptoms may be a sign of a more serious problem.