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Simple Stretching for Lower Back Pain that You Can Do At Home

Simple Stretching for Lower Back Pain that You Can Do At Home

Stretching for lower back pain is a very common practice. Most people do it straight in the morning, right after waking up and are often implementing a far too rigorous stretching routine.

This is not the best way to do it. Stretching can be a great tool in improving your lower back health. But what if I tell you that the way you’re stretching could actually cause more trouble instead of preventing it in the long-term?

The Golden Rules Of Stretching For Lower Back Pain

‘Primum non nocere.’ / EN: ‘First, do no harm.’ – Key principle in medicine.

If you have lower back pain, stretching is generally a good idea. But remember to keep certain principles in mind. You don’t want to harm yourself. You want to effectively ease your pain.

  • Always stretch warmed up. Remember, you’re damaging your muscles when you’re stretching. Make sure your muscles are warmed up so they’re able to deal with stress better. To warm up, simply go walking in fast pace for 10 minutes before you start to stretch.
  • Stretching in the morning is a complete No-Go. Your discs of your spine get soaked up over night. They’re increasing in volume. That’s why you’re few centimeters taller in the morning. Being tall might be great, but due to this circumstance there’s also more pressure on your vertebraes during those first 1-2 hours. This is the time that your discs spend in that soaked up state. Don’t stretch during that time frame. Your spine could be damaged more easily.
  • Don’t stretch every day if you’re a beginner and don’t stretch too hard. Remember that stretching puts stress on your muscles and joints. In the beginning your body needs time to adapt to the damage. Start with 2-3 times a week for the best results. Also don’t stretch when your muscles are sore.
  • Don’t focus entirely on your lower back. Yes you might feel pain in the lower back region, but this doesn’t mean that the pain stems from there. Everything is connected in your body. You have to think of your body as a system. Lower back pain could stem from tension in your upper back or even your heels. Don’t just do lower back stretches, make sure your organism is healthy overall.
  • Keep a straight back. I see people trying to stretch their hamstrings with a completely round back. Don’t do that. You’re hurting your spine more than you’re helping it. Keep a straight back – or better – choose a position where having a rounded back is impossible. Such as in the stretching exercises that are following.

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    The Stretching Exercises

    The exercises following are divided into two different categories:

    1. Removing pressure from your spine
    2. Stretching the muscles in your body to remove damages during the day.

    Impaired flexibility is seldom the root cause for lower back pain. Yes you might feel some pain relief doing it short term, but this is simply because of the increased blood flow to the damaged tissue. Most lower back pain stem from problems of your joints and bones, things that stretching only has a minimal effect over. Nonetheless stretching adequately and regularly can reduce the pressure on your spine in the short and long-term.

    3 Ways To Remove Pressure From Your Spine

    Hold these stretches for approximately 20 seconds until you feel less pressure on your spine. At best do them after sitting for a long work day. This can be truly energizing.

    Elongating Your Spine – No Equipment Needed

    With this stretching technique you’re elongating your spine and stretching your chest muscles. Try to make your spine as long as possible. Just make sure to not overextend it in the other direction. Have good posture during the entire stretching.

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      Elongating Your Spine – Ball Technique

      This stretching method is also taking away pressure from your spine. This is a little bit more difficult than the previous exercise, as you have to deal with instability. Make sure your belly button is the highest point of your body in this movement. Training on this exercise ball is also a great way to train the stabilizing muscles of your back.

        Elongating Your Spine – Inversion Table

        This is the most advanced and in my eyes most effective version of taking away pressure. You’re basically turning yourself upside down on an inversion table and hold for a couple of seconds. This takes the effect of gravity away. Your discs can recharge. Inversion Tables start at about 100$.

          3 Ways To Stretch Spine Healthy Muscles

          Hold the tension in these muscles for about 1 -2 minutes. Aim for two sets in the beginning.

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          Chest Stretch – Bat As Equipment

          This is an easy stretch of your chest muscles. Performed with a bat. You can easily do this exercise by having the palms of your slightly bended arm pressed against a wall. Stretching the chest muscles will improve your posture and therefore dampen the long-term damage a bad posture has on your spine.

            Hamstrings Stretch – No Equipment Needed

            Most hamstring stretching technique only work if you keep your back bended. This is a great alternative. By laying on the ground you make sure you always have good posture. Grab your leg just under the knee cap, then slowly bring it into a fully stretched position.

              Hamstrings Stretch – Towel Or Band

              This is the same hamstring stretch as before. But here you’re using a towel or a band to increase the stretching effect. This is my personal favourite. Tip: For Beginners, put the towel or the band around your achilles tendon, not around your foot. This will ease the pain.

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                Stretching is a great way to improve your lower back health. By following my advice and stretching exercises suggested above, you will ease your lower back pain and experience a healthier back.

                If you want to find out more ways on relieving lower back pain, check out my other article What Really Works: How to Relieve Lower Back Pain Effectively

                Featured photo credit: http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com/Legs-Yoga-Sports-Girl-1146277 via maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com

                More by this author

                Florian Wüest

                Qualified and experienced fitness trainer and online coach.

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                Last Updated on January 17, 2019

                8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

                Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

                Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

                Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

                Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

                The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

                There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

                How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

                According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

                Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

                Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

                The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

                Listen carefully:

                We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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                The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

                Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

                8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

                There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

                Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

                1. Pray Daily

                You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

                When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

                Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

                Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

                2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

                A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

                By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

                Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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                If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

                This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

                How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

                3. Smile Often

                Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

                Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

                Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

                The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

                4. Organize Your Working Desk

                A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

                When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

                Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

                Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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                5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

                I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

                Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

                What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

                6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

                God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

                I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

                I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

                7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

                You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

                How do you do that? This is my formula:

                First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

                If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

                If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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                If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

                Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

                8. Go Exercise

                Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

                The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

                You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

                12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

                The Bottom Line

                It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

                It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

                Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

                More Resources About Mindfulness

                Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

                Reference

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