How can I help with your back pain?
Many people face horrendous pain either acute (swift onset) or chronic (long term) and often one leads to another following the initial episode. As we know this can lead to a serious intrusion on your ‘normal life and activities, or worse still leave you considering surgery as an option. However, in most cases (some people claim 90%) surgery is merely treating the symptom and not the cause.
In 2002 I had an ‘emergency’ back op to remove a herniated disc. I was instantly pain-free, and the numbness felt throughout my entire right leg and foot (starting in my buttock and running the entire length of the sciatic nerve) reduced over the next couple of years, now I have one tiny area behind my knee which is numb, the rest is perfect.
Back pain- where Do you Start?
Almost everyone can benefit from massage and the stretching of soft tissues in the back, legs, buttocks, and around the spine. Realignment is key…
The spinal column and its contiguous muscles, ligaments and tendons are all designed to move, and limitations in this motion can make back pain worse.
If you suffer from chronic back pain you may find it takes weeks or even months of stretching and other back exercises to mobilize the spine and soft tissues, but the pain will be relieved and mobilization will improve, at this point it is time to mention preventative measures.
Preventative measures such as lifestyle changes will also need to be made, however, I believe it is better to start at the beginning and work through the initial stages.
Keep the following in mind when starting a stretching routine as part of a program of back exercises:
- Move into the stretch slowly and avoid bouncing, which may actually tear muscles
- Stretch on a clean, flat surface that is large enough to move freely
- Stretching should be pain-free; do not force the body into difficult positions
- Wear comfortable clothes that won’t bind
- Hold stretches long enough (20-30 seconds) to allow muscles or joints to release.
- Repeat the stretch, generally 5 – 10 times.
If you already have low back pain or neck pain, I recommend you consult with your GP or consultant before starting any exercise.
Just 5 to 10 minutes of stretching in the morning and at night can provide significant lower back pain relief.
Neck and Shoulder Stretches
Back pain is often accompanied by neck pain due to muscular imbalances so I always recommend stretching your neck as well as your back and legs.
Flexion Stretch—Chin to Chest.
While standing or sitting, gently bend the head forward while bringing the chin toward the chest until a stretch is felt in the back of the neck.
Lateral Flexion—Ear to Shoulder
This exercise stretches the neck area below the ears as well as the top of the shoulder. To begin, gently bend the neck to one side as if to touch the ear to the shoulder until a stretch is felt in the side of the neck. Switch to stretch the other side.
Back Exercise Stretches
Many back pain patients know the feeling of tension in the back, especially first thing in the morning. These stretching back exercises can help bring back some suppleness and increase mobility, decreasing back pain and discomfort.
Back flexion exercise
Lie on your back, and pull both knees to the chest while simultaneously flexing the head forward until a comfortable stretch is felt in a balled-up position.
Knee to Chest Stretch
Whilst lying on the back with the knees bent and both heels on the floor, place both hands behind one knee and bring it to the chest (can be done side on- great for sciatica relief)Please contact me directly to find out more stretches and how I can help you….. (link at the bottom of this article)
Hips and Glut Stretches
The hips and bottom (where the gluteus muscles are) support the lower back. Stretching these muscle groups plays a critical role in maintaining spine flexibility.
- While standing with feet shoulder-width apart, take a half-step back with the right foot, bend the left knee and shift weight back to the right hip.
- While keeping the right leg straight, bend forward more and reach down the right leg until a stretch in the outer hip is felt.
Piriformis muscle stretch
The piriformis muscle runs through the buttock & can contribute to back pain or leg pain.
To stretch this muscle, lie on the back and cross one leg over the other and gently pull the other knee toward the chest until a stretch is felt in the buttock area.