There are a number of factors that can cause pain in the lower back. Some of those factors might include a slipped disk, ligament sprain, muscle strain or even joint problems. Most lower back pain usually comes about after over exertion such as improperly lifting heavy loads like furniture, bending over for extended periods of time in the garden or rotating your spine in an awkward way.
Most people think that when they hurt their back it is best to just lay down, rest and not move at all. BUT this might actually slow your healing process according to some Orthopaedic professionals, who recommend doing simple lower back stretches instead. Before you begin stretching your back, here are a few reminders:
- Clothes should be comfortable and be loose enough to allow the stretches to be performed without restriction.
- Warming up your muscles is imperative and it could be as simple as going for a 5 minute walk or just walking in place.
- You should not be feeling any sharp pain when stretching, NEVER force yourself to over extend as you can do damage to your ligaments, back muscles or even cause the your disk can be displaced.
- Hold stretching positions NEVER bounce or do sudden movements AND ALWAYS return to the starting position SLOWLY.
- Keep abdominal muscles tight throughout the routine.
Two simple back stretching exercises are the cat stretch (or cat arch) and the standing back extension. These stretches are great for back pain relief while at the same time strengthening and realigning the spine.
How To Do Cat Stretch
Begin on all fours (hands and knees). Arch back downwards to the floor slowly while breathing in and moving your chin to the ceiling. Next breathe out moving your chin towards the chest and arching the back upwards to the ceiling. Hold each position for 10 seconds and do 5-10 reps.
How To Do Standing Back Extension
Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart and hands at your sides. Gently bend your upper body backwards from the waist. Go as far back as you comfortably can while look up at the ceiling. Keep pose for a count of 10, then loosen up and slowly return to standing upright. Do 5 reps and gradually add stretches 2 at a time as this routine gets easier.
These back stretches can be done anytime you feel muscle pain in your lower back. Doing them often helps your core muscles to loosen up and prevents lower back pain from reoccurring.