Written by: Diane Foley, Physical Therapist
Lower back pain can be avoided with simple stretches. This is the third in the series focusing on the five most common muscle groups that tighten up when you sit for prolonged periods of time. The first article, Your Health — A Few Simple Moves, introduced you to the risks associated with sitting and a simple stretch for the neck muscles. The second article, Simple Stretches to Reduce the Pain of Sitting, shared two stretches for the chest muscles. This article will focus on the lower back muscles.
*As a reminder, before you make any changes to your health regime, speak to your physician. Also, please do not bounce during stretching. This can tear muscle fibers. Discontinue exercise if stretching causes pain, and if something hurts when you do it, please stop.
Lower Back — Stretches to Make a Difference:
Prolonged sitting can cause strain to the spinal nerves that attach at the spine and run through the buttock and down the legs. Standing and stretching the back muscles can greatly lessen the strain placed on those spinal nerves.
Hoola Hoop Stretch:
- Choose a place to stand where your hips have enough space to move in a circle.
- First, stand with your feet hip-width apart and put your hands on your hips.
- Smoothly and slowly, move your hips to the right, then to the back (without sticking your derriere
out too far), circle around to the left and back where you started in the beginning position.
- Do not pouch your hips forward, your low back may not like that position.
- Repeat slowly in a circle again 3-5 times then reverse directions starting from the left.
- With your arms relaxed, hanging by your side, stand with your feet a comfortable distance apart.
- Bring your left hand to your waist, raise your right arm up and toward the left, and slightly bend your knees. Do not go too far to your side or bend your knees too deeply. You just want a nice stretch.
- Return to your starting place with your arms relaxed at your side, and reverse it. You will put your right hand on your waist, raise your left arm up and toward the right, and bend your knees.
- Again, return to your starting position and repeat 3 more times.
Next week we will learn stretches to help your hip flexors — the front hit muscles. What is your favorite stretch?