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5 Stretches For Lower Back Pain Relief

5 Stretches For Lower Back Pain Relief

Until or unless your back goes out, this is not a part of your body that you’ve probably given much thought to. However, if you are suffering from back pain, you realize very quickly just how much you use your back in the course of a given day. Your back is actually a complicated and amazing configuration of vertebrae, disc, bones, ligaments and muscles that help your body to bend, sway and stretch as you go about your daily routine. So to baby your back – and to both treat and prevent lower back pain – try these stretches below.

To further alleviate lower back pain, you can’t miss the following posts:

Lower Left Back Pain: Symptoms, Causes And Treatments

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Lower Right Back Pain: Symptoms, Causes And Treatments

5 Effective Yoga Exercises For Lower Back Pain

The Hamstring Stretch

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    In order to do this stretch — which will work out not only your hamstrings but your lower back as well — lie flat on the floor on your back. Bend your right knee into your chest, then straighten the leg slowly towards the ceiling (you can wrap an exercise band around the bottom of your feet to help keep your leg in place if desired). Do not overstretch. Hold in position for 3-5 minutes, then slowly lower the leg to the floor.

    The Downward-Facing Dog

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      This position is one of the best stretches for lower back pain will give your back a deep, gentle stretch, while also working out your hamstrings and calf muscles and strengthening the muscles in your arms. Begin on your hands and knees, with your hands shoulders-width apart and your hands planted firmly on the floor. While breathing out slowly, raise up on your tip-toes and slowly lift your buttocks off the floor so that your body bends in the shape of an “A”. Your weight should be supported by both your hands and your feet. Hold this pose for several minutes, breathing in and our easily, then reverse it by lower your buttocks and legs slowly to the mat. Rest for a few minutes in a prone position.

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      The Bow

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        This provides a deep, relaxing stretch for the muscles in your lower and upper back while strengthening the muscles in your arms and legs. First, bend your knees and set feet on the floor, then bend elbows and spread palms out on the floor behind you. Slowly, lift yourself up on your arms and legs so that you are bent backwards with your navel raised towards the ceiling and your weight balanced equally between arms and legs. Hold for several moments, then lower yourself slowly and gently to the mat.

        The Plow

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          Lie on your back with arms beside you, pressing down against the floor. As you breathe in slowly, lift your feet off the floor and raise your legs towards the ceiling. Then swing your hips upwards and support them on your hands. Then, still breathing gently, lower your legs up and over your head so that your toes touch the floor behind you. Hold this pose for a minute, then gently swing your legs back and resume a prone position.

          The Triangle Pose

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            This position allows you not only to get a great stretch for your lower back but your lateral muscles (the muscles along your sides) as well. In order to begin this pose, get into a standing position with your feet 3-4 feet apart. Raise your arms to shoulder height so that they are parrellel to the floor. Then, turning your left foot in, breathe out and bend your torso to the right and bend from the hips so that your hand can touch your calf, ankle or the floor, depending on how deep you want to stretch. While exhaling, pull yourself back to a standing position and lower your arms.

            If you are suffering from back pain, these poses can help to stretch the muscles gently and get you back on your feet again. However, it is important to talk to your doctor before doing these or any other exercises to make sure they are right for you. You should also discuss a care plan which combines these exercises with the use of anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxers, rest and warm or cold applications to help treat this condition.

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            Brian Wu

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            Published on April 12, 2019

            7 Best Weight Loss Supplements That Are Healthy and Effective

            7 Best Weight Loss Supplements That Are Healthy and Effective

            The proceeding article has been written from my own personal experience with weight loss, along with research I’ve personally conducted, and from conversations I’ve held with individuals in the health and wellness space. The below suggestions for supplements are being given under the pretence that you will in fact investigate these substances further to conclude if they make sense for you personally or not.

            I’m a huge proponent of research and information, and also suggest you consider a DNA analysis test such as ones available through companies like Ansestory and 23andme. You can download your raw DNA data, and then upload it to FoundMyFitness Genetics – Genome Analysis Tool by Dr. Rhonda Patrick, or Promethease.

            The purpose of uploading your raw DNA data is in order to gather information pertaining to supplementation, dietary habits, and albeit lifestyle decisions that will be optimal/in accordance with your genealogy. You can then apply this information in your day to day life in order to become the best version of you!

            Before we dive into the list of supplements, ask the following question first:

            Do You Need Supplements?

            The short answer is not really, however as mentioned above, you may want to consider certain supplements by the mere fact that they are suggestible for your gene type.

            An example of this for me personally is a genetic predisposition to Vitamin D deficiency, which came up in my comprehensive DNA report. With this information in mind, I make an active effort to supplement Vitamin D, and get my butt into some sunlight as often as possible!

            So in certain cases supplements may not be totally required, but highly advisable.

            When I began losing weight several years back, many thoughts ran through my mind, from bogus weight loss supplements, to even considering the quick and easy liposuction of 40-50lbs.

            However when I took a moment to listen to my own instinct and intuition, the truth about these ideologies is that they do not solve the root of the problem – lifestyle choices.

            My general opinion on supplementation for weight loss is that one need not focus on substances or external things in order to achieve weight loss.

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            When I was losing weight, after having gained it through silly lifestyle choices (to keep things short), my focus was not on supplements but on the consistent effort towards maximal weight loss and fat loss.

            In order to maximize weight/fat loss — I’ve discussed many times over the importance of incorporating Intermittent Fasting (Time-Restricted Eating), in conjunction with high activity levels throughout the week.

            Simply put, you need to consider how you structure your eating, as well as the amount of exercise, effort, and overall exertion – leading to daily caloric expenditure.

            Get yourself in a healthy caloric deficit, not by starving yourself, but by exercising, eating healthy and within a Time-Restricted “eating window”.

            7 Supplements To Consider for Weight Loss

            1. Caffeine or Green Tea/Extract (Matcha)

            This is one of the quickest and most easily accessible supplements for weight loss.

            Caffeine can boost the metabolic rate and increase fat burning. However, people become tolerant to the effects, and as such its impact will slowly diminish.

            Matcha is derived from the same plant as Green Tea – Camellia sinensis. Matcha tea is low in calories, and high in antioxidants such as Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG). Scientists at the University of Colorado found that the EGCG content in matcha is 137 times more than Chinese green tea. These antioxidants can help flush out toxins, boost immunity, and reduce the body’s inflammation, which helps prevent weight gain and accelerates weight loss.

            Matcha can boost metabolism and aid in fat burning while also balancing blood glucose levels.

            2. Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)

            Your body naturally produces alpha-lipoic acid, but it’s also found in a variety of foods and as a dietary supplement typically in pill form.

            ALA is an organic compound found in all human cells, made inside the mitochondria – where it helps enzymes turn nutrients into energy. Some research suggests that it may play a roll in weight loss, diabetes and more. There have also been antioxidant properties associated with ALA such as the ability to lower blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation, reduce skin ageing, and improve nerve function.

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            You can obtain ALA without supplementation from animal products such as red meat and organ meats, along with plant foods like broccoli, tomatoes, spinach and Brussels sprouts.

            Animal studies have indicated that ALA can reduce the activity of the enzyme AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), located in your brain’s hypothalamus. Meanwhile, human studies conducted showed that alpha-lipoic acid has only a slight impact on weight loss. An analysis of 12 studies discovered that people who took an alpha-lipoic acid supplement lost an average of 1.52 pounds (0.69 kg) more than those taking a placebo over an average of 14 weeks.

            Personally I use ALA on and off when I’m looking to cut weight.

            3. Glutamine

            Generally speaking, Glutamine is beneficial because it improves the maintenance of muscle mass, which in turn helps burn more fat.

            By introducing Glutamine to your diet it will also yield anti-inflammatory benefits and help reduce cravings for high-glycemic carbohydrates.

            Foods that are high in glutamine include meat, seafood, milk, nuts, eggs, cabbage and beans.[1]

            4. Krill Oil

            High in omega-3 fatty acids, which yields various health benefits, including improved heart and brain health, a reduced risk of depression and even healthier skin.

            Researchers have suggested that fish oil omega-3s may help people lose weight more easily.

            Studies have concluded that while both fish-sourced and krill-sourced omega-3 fats are effective in reducing fat levels, krill is more effective. The mechanisms of how this is so had not been made clear in the study, but suggested long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) can reduce activity in the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system consists of a group of neuromodulatory lipids and receptors that influence appetite, pain sensation, mood and memory.

            Researchers found that, when parameters associated with obesity were considered, krill oil reduced heart fat levels in rats by 42 percent, compared to 2 percent for fish oils.

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            I personally shifted from Alaskan Wild Salmon fish oils to Krill Oil due to the fact that it’s more potent and overall more effective, though the cost of the supplement is slightly more.

            5. Apple Cider Vinegar

            Many would note that apple cider vinegar is a low calorie drink; however, my focus on noting this supplement is relating to suppressing fat accumulation which was found in animal studies.

            A team of researchers also investigated the effects on obese Japanese in a double-blind trial. Daily intake of apple cider vinegar may be practical in the prevention of metabolic syndrome by reducing obesity.

            Additionally, some studies suggest that apple cider vinegar helps stabilise blood sugar levels, and primarily after consuming a high carbohydrate meal.

            There’s many other benefits of apple cider vinegar to note, however they don’t directly correlate with weight loss, so for now I’ll leave them unmentioned, but encourage you look further into this powerful supplement.

            6. L-Carnitine

            This supplement is a bit speculative, and I haven’t had too much personal experience with it, thus it’s towards the bottom of the list.

            L-Carnitine plays a crucial role in the production of energy by transporting fatty acids into your cells’ mitochondria – which acts as engines within your cells, burning fats to create usable energy. This helps move more fatty acids into your cells to be burned for energy, so it’s suggested this would increase the ability to burn fat and thus lose weight. However, results of both human and animal studies are mixed in this case.

            This is one of those supplements that may work for one person, but not another, and it’s highly discussed and debated in the bodybuilding and fat loss community.

            I suggest you look further into L-Carnitine, and perhaps experiment on a trial to see if you notice any improvements in weight loss and fat reduction.

            7. Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) [Bonus]

            CLA is a naturally occurring fatty acid found in meat and dairy products. This supplement is gaining popularity and has become widely regarded as a contender for the weight-loss miracle pill.

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            Though I personally do not think such a magic pill exists, it’s certainly fun to throw around the term ‘miracle’ and generates a lot of buzz in doing so.

            During a trial, one group of overweight women lost 9% body fat in one year’s time without any adjustments in lifestyle or eating habits.

            Now, don’t take this as a suggestion to not improve lifestyle, as I introduced this article with the pretence that it’s the most important aspect of losing weight.

            In a few small animal studies, CLA has been shown to prevent heart disease and several types of cancer, while appearing to enhance the immune system. Human studies are not as conclusive as they used body fat scales (such as DEXA – Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry) to measure improvements, which are inherently not that accurate.

            This is another one of those supplements I suggest researching further, and trialling in conjunction with lifestyle adjustments to see if it works for you.

            The Bottom Line

            Once again I can’t stress enough that merely supplementing for weight loss will not yield exponential results – you must exercise, move your body, and I highly advise introducing Intermittent Fasting/Time-Restricted Eating if you haven’t already done so.

            Please research more into these supplements to determine if they make sense for you. And I don’t suggest using all at once as you won’t be able to accurately gauge which are most effective – cycle through them by taking one, two, upwards of 3 supplements at any given time. If you want to experiment, then switch after a couple months of use.

            I wish you the best of luck with your weight loss journey and if would like to learn more about the above supplements, take a look at my video here:

            Featured photo credit: bruce mars via unsplash.com

            Reference

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