You want to be flexible now and into your elder years—and you can. You will always want to bend, stoop, squat, dig in the dirt and plant your flowers and trees with agility. When you finally reach the point where you’re fed up with not being able to bend over to pick something up or tie your shoestrings with chronic back pain, this article and guide will help you get yourself back! For instant pain relief, try a hand-held massager for massaging some of those muscle aches away. A shoulder massager put at your lower back will help relax your muscles as well.
People with constant back pain might find that it will take weeks or even months of stretching to get back into shape. It can be done! Just give yourself 10-minutes each day for your exercise routine. Your strength and flexibility will increase quickly. Remember, nothing beats a failure but a try! Good luck!
[h3line h3-text=”1. Why Do We Stretch?“]
We stretch because it feels good. Some stretches such as squats improve balance and flexibility. Walking improves circulation and can have your legs grow new arteries when you walk 2 times a day for an hour each time with at least 10-degrees incline. Stretching tones the body and increases range of motion.
- Stretching is calming. When your muscles contract and lengthen, the body will loosen up making you feel more calm and relaxed energizing you.
- Stretching warms the body increasing blood flow to get nutrients into your muscles so they can work.
- You will have a better range of motion when you stretch.
- Your body stays mobile, flexible, and free of injuries.
- Stretching keeps your body agile so you don’t risk falls.
[h3line h3-text=”2. Consequences When Not Stretching Our Back“]
The force of gravity is always with us. Sometimes we must fight against it to have healthy bodies and muscles. Our spine is shaped in an ‘S’ curve and will compress and become shorter as gravity pulls it down. Without exercising and toning, we can strain our backs, have arthritis, compression fractures, compression at the lower discs that are very painful needing exercise to rid it. We become stiff not only in our backs, but all joints. Muscles can tighten and become stiff so exercise is important to do to stay in shape and for older persons to start doing to stay flexible and ward off lack of movement. This picture shows the spine’s ‘S’ curve.
[h3line h3-text=”3. Can Stretching Your Back Correct Back Pain?“]
Yes. Along with stretching, you might want to relieve sore muscles with a TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator) or EMS (Electronic Muscle Stimulator) unit to ease immediate pain, and/or back braces, and lumbar back support cushions. When you haven’t exercised for a while, you might get sore and these items can help relax you.
Here is a video for 8 exercises you can do for lower back pain that are easy and quick to do stretching:
[h3line h3-text=”4. Can Stretching Your Back Prevent Back Pain?“]
Yes. Hunching over your computer, sitting at a desk all day, over extending your exercise program at the gym, and other activities working lifting boxes, or bending over in the garden all lead to back pain if you’re out of shape or have over-worked your under-worked muscles. Stretching regularly will protect your back to increase flexibility, muscle strength, and to decrease your risk of injuries. First you must warm up your muscles or you could cause tears. Be sure it’s okay with your doctor to do exercises for your upper, middle, and lower back.
Back Safety – The High 5s – Prevent Accidents and Injuries – Back Safety Training video.
Warm Up Bicycle Exercise
- Warm up for 5 or 10 minutes with light exercises such as walking or lay on your back and pedal a pretend bicycle.
- You can keep arms at your sides or put behind your head to warm up.
- Avoid jerking and move slowly stretching.
- Pedal where you will feel a gentle tension in your muscles. This should not hurt. This is good for tightening your stomach muscles too.
- Relax and hold the stretch 5 seconds. Do reps 4 to 5 times.
Two easy stretches for keeping you flexible and agile for a healthy back.
Knee to Chest Stretch
- Lie on your mat on the floor with your legs out straight.
- Lift and bend your right leg to your chest slowly and gently holding your knee or angle to do this as far as you can go without overstretching.
- Stay at this position tightening your abdominal muscles pressing your spine to the floor and hold 5 seconds.
- Drop your legs back to the floor gently and do the left leg.
- Do both legs together and repeat the series 4 to 5 times.
Standing up Back Arch
- Stand straight up with your feet width apart with your palms on your lower back fingers down.
- Bend your upper torso back keeping your knees straight supporting your back with your hands.
- Hold for 5 seconds, then stand up straight and repeat 5 times.
[h3line h3-text=”5. 10-Minute Exercises to Strengthen Back Muscles“]
Put a stop to back pain and injuries to keep your back muscles strong and flexible by doing these exercises each day for only 10 minutes. These are some stretches for back pain. There are hundreds of different ones to include Yoga and Pilates.
Spine Stretch (1)
Method—Sit on the floor with legs spread so that your feet are farther apart than your hips. Move your head forward with arms outstretched. Bend forward bending at the lower back. As your head goes down, let it touch your bottom neck for an upper spine stretch.
This stretch stretches the paraspinal muscles along each side of your spinal column. You will feel this in your calf muscles, hamstrings, and foot bottom. Don’t let your hands go past your toes. After you feel the back stretch, go back to your starting position slowly. This stretch will relieve tension in your shoulders and hips and the stretch tweaks spinal alignment. Do 5 or 6 times.
Cat-Camel Back Stretch (2)
Method—This is an easy gentle stretch to strengthen your spine. Get down on your hands and knees. You might want a mat under your knees to protect your bones. Slowly arch and round your back. This will extend and flex the 3 spinal sections for the top cervical, the middle thoracic and the lower lumbar together. Do this exercise gently and slowly never forcing the movements. Do 5 or 6 times.
Supine Cross-Leg Spinal Twist (3)
Method—This stretch helps both your spine and abdominals. Lay on the floor on your back. Bend your knees keeping your feet on the floor. Stretch your arms out flat to the floor palms down. Cross your right leg over your left knee at the top of your thigh with your right foot off the floor. Move your hips to the right about 2-inches dropping your knees to your left not necessarily touching if your range of motion will not let you. That will improve over time when doing this exercise each day. Your right shoulder will lift off the floor and that’s okay but continue looking at the ceiling. Take your right-hand palm up and back halfway up to your head. That will open your chest stretching those muscles. Do this with your left side. Hold the position for 3- to 4-seconds and repeat it 5 to 6 times.
Spinal Trunk Rotation (4)
Method—This exercise gets rid of back tension increasing flexibility and strength. It will loosen muscle tightness around hamstring, glutes, and spine to be more flexible and strong. Do a warm up first and never do it with cold muscles. Lie on the floor on your back and pull your knees up to your chest like sitting in a chair at 90-degrees. Put your hand palms on the floor. Now put your knees to the right side, left hip up, shoulders on the floor. Keeping knees together, roll over to your other side keeping shoulders on the floor. Repeat on other side. Hold for 30-seconds. Repeat 5 or 6 times.
Pigeon Pose (5)
Method—This stretch is a Yoga pose for tight hips or sciatica problems. Balance with your hands on the floor. With your knees and hands on a mat, move your right knee forward and left leg behind you with your pelvis at the mat. Lean your pelvis forward feeling the stretch on your right side in your glutes, quads, and hips. Hold for 30-seconds. Repeat 4 times. Now do the other side.
Dynamic Side Lunge (6)
Method—Warm up your muscles. This stretches the adductors that are on the inner thigh. The abductors are on the outer thighs and glutes. The side lunge will stretch your adductors working the abductors as well. Place feet apart shoulder width, feet forward. Lunge right bending your knees 90-degrees. Gently drop to your right and straighten out your left leg holding for a few seconds. Repeat on the left leg. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
Squat Stretch (7)
Method—Stand up turning legs and toes outward wider than your shoulders. Bend knees with thighs parallel to the floor. Put your hands on top of your knees and lift up your pelvis pressing your right hand on your right knee turning your shoulders to the left and hold about 20 seconds, then stand up and do the other side. Repeat 4 to 5 times.
Low-Back Rotation Stretch (8)
Method—This will help stiffness after sitting at the desk all day. Sit on a chair, feet flat on the floor and twist your upper body with your shoulders moving to the left side. Hold 6 to 7 seconds and repeat on the other side 4 to 5 times each side. A cracking sound in your back is okay.
Wall Squats (9)
Method—Stand with your back against the wall, feet wider that your hips with arms to your sides. Move your butt down as if going to sit on a chair. Be sure to keep your weight on your heels and not your toes. After your thighs are parallel to the floor, stand up. This helps with balance. Repeat 10 times.
Mermaid Stretch (10)
Method—Sit on your mat, knees bent under you to the left. Hold your ankle with you left hand and raise your right arm up extending it over your head feeing the stretch on your right-side torso. Hold for 20 seconds and do these 2 times. Now do the right side holding 2 times.
Stretching your muscles, joints, and nerves prevents imbalances in your body. When you lack muscle tone and flexibly, you will have back pain especially in the lower area. Stretching should not cause pain. We hope you will do the exercises above to help your pain and discomfort, and always be safe before lifting learning how if you don’t already know. Be safe, healthy, and move for life.