Over 31 million Americans complain of back pain every year. But this isn’t a uniquely American problem. Worldwide, back pain is the biggest cause of disability. If you suffer from back pain, it probably impacts many parts of your life. That’s why we have gathered four stretches that will help with immediate relief of your back pain, as well as strategies to help manage your back pain long term. (1)
The Two Types of Back Pain
Back pain can be divided into two major types. Each of these types requires different approaches and different types of care. However, stretching can be beneficial no matter what type of pain you suffer from.
Acute Back Pain
Acute back pain is the type of pain that occurs suddenly. Usually, it clears up after a few hours, days, or weeks. Acute back pain usually occurs due to issues in the joints, ligaments, muscles, and discs. Simple treatments you can do at home, such as rest, compresses, or exercises — like the ones here — will generally be effective in clearing the pain up. (2)
Chronic Back Pain
Chronic back pain is pain that lasts for three or more months. Chronic back pain can remain steady or fluctuate in intensity. Generally, the causes of chronic back pain are more severe, such as arthritis, nerve damage, or tissue scarring. Chronic back pain often requires more intense treatments to help relieve pain, although self-care routines, such as stretching, are often beneficial. (2)
The Benefits of Exercise for Treating Back Pain
It might seem obvious — stretching your back can help with back pain. However, back pain is not that simple. A wide variety of exercises can help with back pain — and some can hurt.
You may know that proper lifting techniques and posture are essential to good back health. Therefore, exercises that target your legs and abdomen, as well as your back, can help prevent back pain.
It is recommended that, after most back injuries, you keep your level of physical exertion as close to normal as possible. However, not every exercise is good for your back. Improper exercises can contribute to further injury. In addition to working out those three large muscle groups — back, legs, and abdomen — it is important that your exercises keep your spine in a straight line and do not put any unnecessary weight on it. (2, 3)
Below are four stretches that should help relieve your back pain quickly. Of course, stretches alone are not enough to “fix” back pain — especially if it is chronic. However, adding these stretches into your routine helps to strengthen those muscles and help protect them in the future, as well as instant pain management. (4)
Check out the video here:
Before You Begin
It is important to warm up a little before stretching your muscles. Generally, you should warm up with light exercise, like a jog or bike ride. However, if you are unable to do physical exercise beforehand, for any reason, there are other options. The purpose of warm up is to get the blood flowing to your muscles. By using a sauna or taking a hot bath or shower, you can get that blood flowing as well. (4)
Hip Flexor Stretch
This is also known as a low lunge. From an all fours position, step your left foot forward between your hands so that your knee forms a 90-degree angle with the floor.
Bring your torso to vertical with arms up by the ears, or interlace your fingers and place the hands on your left knee, or leave your fingertips on the mat. Push your hips gently forward. Take pressure off the back knee by pressing the top of the back foot straight down into the mat. This action will also deepen the stretch in the hip flexor. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds before relaxing out of it. Do three on each side. (4)
Lay on your back and cross your right leg over your left knee. Pull your knees toward your chest. Breathe deeply and hold the stretch for 15 seconds. Pull the knees a little closer to your chest if possible, and hold for another fifteen seconds. Do three sets on each side. (4)
Laying on your back, stretch out your left leg. Clasp your right knee, bringing it across the body toward your left shoulder. The piriformis can be very tight so you might find this to be a deep stretch. Be sure to relax your hold if you feel pinching. Hold for fifteen seconds, breathe, and see if you can bring your knee a little closer to your shoulder. Hold for another 15 seconds. Do three sets on each side. (4)
Sit on the ground, with your legs extended and your knees locked. Lean forward from your lower back towards your toes, trying to touch them. If you need to put a belt or a rope around your feet to aid in the stretch, that’s fine, as long as you aren’t pulling. Once you’re touching your toes, or close, put your forehead down towards your knees. Take a deep breath, seeing if you can stretch a little further. You don’t need to hold this stretch, just slowly let go of your toes and move back to the starting position. Do three sets. (4)
Other Ways To Help With Back Pain
- Eat well
- Exercise consistently
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Maintain good posture
- Stop smoking
- Don’t wear high-heeled shoes
- Click here to learn more about relieving back pain
F. A. Q.
Q: What amount of exercise will help my back?
A: You should aim for an absolute minimum of 15 minutes per day, although 30 is a better minimum number. (3)
Q: What sort of mattress should I be using?
A: The best mattress for good back health is a medium firmness. (1)
Q: Should I keep exercising if it hurts?
A: No! You should always stick within your comfort zone while exercising. While it’s normal to feel slight discomfort, you should not ever be in pain while working out. (3)
#4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1L4sO_E19EQ (VIDEO)