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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 February 14, 2019

            15 Fitness Goals That Will Help You Live a Healthier Life This Year

            15 Fitness Goals That Will Help You Live a Healthier Life This Year

            Starting such a journey is never easy and you must remember this is not a crash diet, it is a lifestyle. Don’t panic and think you have to do it all at once as this will most likely overwhelm you. You may also find yourself giving up because crash diet are not sustainable.

            The best approach is to make simple changes to your daily habits and over time, you will notice all your bad habits have turned into good habits.

            Accordingly to a study by Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London, on average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behaviour becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact.[1] And how long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances.

            Here are 15 fitness goals to help you on your journey:

            1. Drink More Water

            W.H.Auden said it best when he said ‘Thousands Have Lived Without Love, Not One Without Water’. With any diet, the most important thing to remember is to stay hydrated. Drinking water will support your body with digestion, transporting nutrition to your body and even help improve cognitive function.

            Ideally, you want to drink about half your body weight in ounces per day i.e. if you weight 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water a day.

            Hopefully, by following this rule, you will be able to maintain a consistent consumption of water per day.

            2. Add Some Lemon & Apple Cider Vinegar to Your Water

            It is recommended we sleep for about 8 hours a day, this means we spend about 8 hours per day dehydrated. Therefore, hydrating your body first thing in the morning is absolutely necessary.

            The best way to achieve hydration is by starting your day with a glass or even two of water. For that extra boost, add lemon juice and ½ teaspoons of apple cider vinegar. The lemon and apple cider vinegar will help your body with detoxifying, cleansing and digestion

            3. Stop Drinking Your Calories

            Yes, keeping hydrated is important but try to avoid high calorie drinks such as soft drinks, speciality coffee and juices as they are full of fast acting sugar.

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            Really push yourself to stop drinking such drinks and before you know it, you will notice the benefits.

            4. Start Stretching More Often

            Always remember to stretch! The benefits are vast and the repercussions of failing to stretch can be dramatic.

            Do yourself a favour and always stretch before and after a workout. This will promote a healthy cool down, improve flexibility and reduce next day aches. Failure to stretch can lead to injures and muscle damage.

            So, the next time you work out, don’t forget you dedicate a few minutes to stretching before and after your workout. You will thank me for it later!

            Here’re some simple stretching exercises you can start trying:

            15 Static Stretching Exercises to Totally Enhance Your Workout Routine

            5. Add in Some High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

            You may have heard about HIIT training because it is the big thing right now and believe me when I say ‘It works!’.

            The benefits include lower body fat, increased stamina, leaner muscles and fantastic hormonal benefits.

            HIIT is where you perform an intense exercise, for a very short time frame (about 30 seconds) followed by a slower exercise for about 90 seconds.

            Performing a HIIT routine for 1-3 times a week will lead to great results.

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            6. Focus on Your Breathing When You Work Out

            For the most part, breathing is second nature to most of us. But when exercising, you may find yourself holding your breath and this is not good.

            It is important to consciously take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, this will fill your lungs with oxygen.

            7. Build More Lean Muscle

            We all want to have lean muscles because not only does it look good, it has great health benefits:

            • Improved posture
            • Reduced body fat
            • Improved metabolism
            • Strong bones
            • Protects and improves joint health
            • Improves stamina

            Learn more about building muscle in this guide:

            How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle and Increase Fat Loss?

            8. Decrease Body Fat

            This may seem like an obvious one but it is one of the most important steps to a healthier you. Reducing your body fat has a lot of benefits such as:

            • Improved joints and tendons
            • Lowered risk of diabetes
            • Reduced risk of heart disease
            • Reduced inflammation
            • Better performance and endurance
            • Improved appearance and confidence
            • Better hormonal profiles in your body

            Remember, it is not a race to see how quickly you can decrease your body fat, a healthy weight loss is around 1-2 pounds a week.[2]

            Crash dieting or pushing yourself too much in the gym can lead to you achieving an unrealistic target, and you may find yourself gaining all the weight you have lost.

            Think of it as a lifestyle and take it slow and steady.

            9. Eat More Greens

            What you eat is the most important factor in a healthier living plan. It is important to ensure you are getting as many nutrients and vitamins from the food you are eating as possible.

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            Focus on dark, leafy greens as they will provide you with a wide array of vitamins, minerals, nutrients and antioxidants – all of which you body needs!

            Don’t forget to avoid processed and manufactured food. They are usually high in fat and have minimal vitamins.

            10. Start Eliminating Sugar

            Another top goal you can start immediately is reducing the amount of sugar you consume. It also won’t cost you anything, save you money and improve your health in the long run.

            There’s no surprise we eat too much sugar and this should be one of your top goals moving forward (eliminating or drastically reducing sugar).

            Cutting out liquid calories is a great way to start. If you’re looking for something sweet, turn to fruits or even dark chocolate.

            11. Allow Yourself to Rest and Recovery

            The workout is where you go to breakdown the muscle tissue and it builds back through proper nutrition, rest and recovery. It might be tempting to go to the gym for two hours every day as hard as you can to achieve your goals but that’s not the most effective approach.

            If you don’t allow for proper rest and recovery, it can set you back a few steps. Your body is more prone to injury and even illness as you can weaken your immune system from all the progressive intensity the body is facing.

            12. Get More Sleep

            When you are deprived of sleep, you make it next to impossible to achieve your health and fitness goals. Lack of sleep can increase stress hormones in your body and over time these can lead to a lot of inflammation and chronic diseases.[3]

            Make sleep a priority to let your body heal and rejuvenate. A good approach is 7 to 8 hours. Also, allow yourself some wind-down time and a pre-bed routine to help get more consistent sleep every night.

            13. Focus on the Habit and Not the Result

            It’s easy to get caught up in trying to achieve a certain look or shed time off of your mile, but the more important focus is on the habit that will bring you those goals.

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            Don’t look at the scale, the tape measure, or the body fat percentage. Focus on the habits that will lead to those achievements.

            Don’t compare yourself to where others are, you’re right where you need to be.

            14. Take Your Fitness Outside

            This may be hard depending on the weather you experience, but the more you can be outside exposed to fresh air and sunlight, the better.

            Being stuck in the gym doing cardio while staring at a wall won’t do much for your mental stimulation.

            Try to challenge your body more by getting outside. Hiking is great and also just running and walking. Give yourself more mental stimulation and a constantly changing environment. It also beats breathing in that recycled gym air.

            15. Do at Least One Pull Up

            This is a great last goal to focus on because it’s a great test of strength and to see how you are progressing with your fitness.

            If you haven’t been able to do one, you know what a challenge it can be. Having the goal of doing at least one pull up will not only show you how far you’ve progressed but is a great way to become dedicated and motivated.

            The Bottom Line

            It will become more attainable through the year if you’re consistent with your fitness. Set yourself a concrete timeline as when you want to accomplish some or all of these goals. In fact, start making one of these goals happen this month!

            This guide on achieving goals will be helpful for you:

            How to Set Goals and Achieve Them Successfully

            Featured photo credit: ivan Torres via unsplash.com

            Reference

            [1] Phillippa Lally: How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world
            [2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Losing Weight
            [3] Unity Point: The Scary Truth About Sleep Deprivation and Chronic Diseases

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