When intense back pain strikes, you may feel like lying down in bed and remaining motionless until your symptoms subside. However, getting up and stretching your back while performing gentle targeted exercise routines may be exactly what your back needs in order to recover. Individuals who are prone to recurring pack pain may be able to prevent future painful episodes by regularly exercising and stretching.
Do Not Forget to Stretch
Although almost everyone knows that a regular exercise routine is important for overall health, many people do not stretch on a regular basis because they think that stretching is unnecessary. When the muscles in the back and the rest of the body are not regularly stretched, they can become tense and taut. Tight muscles are much more susceptible to injury than flexible muscles, which is why stretching is so important.
In addition to stretching after exercise, stretching prior to performing a vigorous exercise or sport is also very important because it can increase the suppleness and flexibility of the muscles and joints and thus reduce the risk of injury.
Proper Stretching Technique
In order to avoid causing further pain and damage to the affected area, it is imperative that you learn correct exercise and stretching techniques. Stretching or exercising with poor form can actually cause more harm and injury to your body. Try to keep the following tips in mind while performing a stretching routine:
- Start your stretching routine with your neck, then work your way downward until you have stretched each major muscle group in your body.
- Always stretch your muscles slowly. Never bounce or force the stretch past the point of mild tension.
- Never hold your breath while stretching. Breathing deeply before the stretch and then exhaling during the stretch will help to deliver oxygen to your muscles.
- Don’t rush through your stretching routine. Hold each stretching position for at least 10 – 20 seconds.
- Alternate sides of your body and muscle groups.
- Stretch each part of the body for the same amount of time, unless you feel that certain areas are stiffer and need more attention.
Different Types of Stretches
There are hundreds of different stretches and techniques that you can choose from, but the following may be particularly helpful for those who suffer from back pain. Only try these stretches after first consulting with your doctor:
- Stand tall, with your knees bent slightly and your head facing forward.
- Begin to tilt your head towards your chest in a smooth, gentle motion.
- While your head is lowered, slowly turn it towards your left shoulder, then repeat the motion slowly to the right.
- Gently return your head to its original position.
Hamstring Stretch (Standing)
- Stand tall with one leg resting on a chair or table straight in front of you.
- Slowly bend your standing leg until you feel a gentle stretch beneath your other leg. Hold the stretch for a few seconds.
- Lower your raised leg and stand tall.
- Repeat the movements on the other side.
Hamstring Stretch (Reclined)
- Lie on your back with your knees comfortably bent and your feet on the floor.
- Grasp the thigh of one of your legs and gently bring your bent leg towards your torso.
- Pull carefully and hold the stretch for a few seconds.
- Return the leg to its original position.
- Repeat the movements with your other leg.
- Stand with your knees slightly bent and your head facing forward.
- Slowly roll your shoulders forward in a circle motion for 10 repetitions.
- Slowly roll your shoulders backwards for 10 repetitions.