80-90% of Americans have back pain at some point in their lives. This means that back pain is one of the most common problems in this country! There are several ways to stretch your back but it takes some practice to get good at it.
Let’s all recognize that back pain can be caused by a couple of different things. First, back pain can be caused by an injury. (If you have an injury to your spinal cord, discs, or other bones/ muscles in your back you should not stretch without discussing it first with your doctor.)
Another cause of back pain is tight muscles, which may be caused by improper lifting techniques.
The easiest way to prevent back pain is to have a strong core and use proper lifting techniques which will be demonstrated in the video below.
When lifting, engage your core, bring the load in close to your body and always use your leg muscles to stand up. Remember to keep your back straight, knees directly over your ankles, and lift with your legs not your back.
If you already have back pain, then stretching or massage one of my favorite ways to relieve it.
Massages are wonderful and if you have never had one, you owe it to yourself. They are so wonderful for both stress relief and pain management.
Gently stretching your back muscles is definitely a great way to help muscles feel better. For every stretch, your belly should be pushed out and you should bear down (Squeeze your deep belly muscles). This will essentially put your spine in the correct position so that the muscles on either side of your spine can get a gentle stretch.
Six Stretches to Ease Sore Back Muscles:
-The Knee Hold- in a sitting position, hold onto the back of your knees, gently round your spine and pull back, squeeze your belly muscles, bring your chin down slightly and feel a gentle stretch down your whole back.
-Twisted Knee Hold- Take your hands and hold onto one knee gently pull back, then push your spine back and bear down.
-Assisted Massage- If you know that you have a knot or a tight spot in your back you can use something to reach it. For example, use the wall or a corner and gently rub back and forth to massage the sore spot. You can also use a ball or other round object on the floor or bed to massage out knots.
-Forward Fold-this is a yoga pose where you simply bend down and let your head and arms hang down. Let gravity do the work here, hold for 20-60 seconds. You can also do this with your hands on a chair to make it more comfortable if you have other health concerns.
-Cat/ Cows-This is another yoga pose. You can do this standing with your hands on a chair or on the floor on all fours. Inhale drop your belly down and lift your chin up. Your spine should sink down towards the floor. When you exhale round your spine and lift it up towards the ceiling and bring your chin down to your chest. This is a flow so move from one to the next and repeat while moving when you breath. With every breath allow your spine to move more and more. We want each vertebrae to move and also the muscles on either side of our vertebrae to get a gentle stretch.
-Knees to chest-This is another great way to give yourself a back massage. Lay on your back either on the floor or on your bed. Bring your knees up to your chest and hold them in. Gently rock from side to side and the pressure will give you a gentle massage.
These are all great ways to massage or stretch sore back muscles. If you are having trouble feeling a stretch in your back try to adjust your shoulder position by dropping one shoulder down. You can also push your spine into the back of a chair, it may help to have something to push against.
Remember, if you have an injury then you should always consult your physician before stretching.
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Make today Wonderful,
Created by Sarah Zastrow- Bay Area Wellness.