When it comes to back pain, one of the most adopted therapies (although not yet enough, in my opinion) is re-education through specific exercise. Therapeutic exercise is undoubtedly the therapy that today provides. The best guarantees of well-being in the medium / long term, as shown by numerous studies. Among the various proposals, the most common type of exercise is undoubtedly stretching, which all represent the basis of many disciplines. Here we will give a complete guide about stretches for lower back pain.
Exercises for LUMBAR PAIN
The lower back pain and sciatica are part of those diseases that most frequently affect our bodies and choices. Which exercises to perform Lumbar pain to counter it is a priority. The causes can be many: the postures assumed during the day (in the car, at work), the lifting of excessive weights (sports, shopping, etc.)—the lack of movement, or merely a wrong gesture that can cause annoyances that disturb daily life.
Precisely for this reason, we propose a sequence of exercises for lower back pain aimed at increasing vertebral elasticity, muscle tone, and thus encouraging psycho-physical well-being. Please note, each pain is different from patient to patient. Therefore, an appropriate medical or physiotherapy specialist visits to find the most suitable and specific therapy stretches for lower back pain.
Does stretching help back pain?
There is no need to go through complex reviews of scientific studies (which do exist ) to understand that. At least in general, stretching exercises are an excellent help for back pain. Historically, many disciplines to improve lower back pain, such as the Mezières, are based on stretching exercises.
Also, thousands of physiotherapists base their daily practice on treatments that aim to relax the muscles (such as the famous Trigger Points treatment ): the same intent that one tries to pursue with stretching.
In short, loosening our muscles’ tension through specific stretches is undoubtedly a good idea for many people.
Why stretching can help improve lower back pain
A large portion of the population has excessive stiffness and muscle tension: either because we do a little movement or because we get too angry. But there is no doubt that this is the case.
If our muscles are overly stiff, will the vertebrae be happy?
When the musculature is too rigid, our spine’s movement is impaired, and the loads become poorly distributed. This opens the door to a progressive “wear” of the vertebral structures, which can be translated into:
- formation of protrusions and discographies
- rupture of the disc resulting in a herniated disc
Good news: If your muscles’ condition improves, you can very well solve the pain even in the presence of the problems listed above. I always say this, and I do it here, too: do not “break your head” on the report of your x-rays or your MRI. Much of what they find in the plates and MRIs are also found in the SANA population (without back pain), as you can see from this table.
There is not just stretching.
Without a shadow of a doubt, there is a slice of the population where stretching is not enough. And there is even a small part where this can be harmful. Due to their genetic characteristics, some people already have extreme mobility, which is defined as ligamentous laxity. In this case, we will have the opposite problem: not little mobility, but little stability!
However, it is a minority of people: if you belong to it, you are undoubtedly aware of it since it is impossible not to notice it.
How to tell if stretching can help you: Stretches For Lower Back Pain
I’m a super fan of empirical methods, like ” try it and see how it goes. ” It may seem unscientific, and instead, it is much more so than some complex assessments that are sometimes made, which are then denied to the test “in the field.” When it comes to back pain, there are so many variables involved that it is impossible to take them all into account.
Given the few contraindications, the best way is definitely:
- try the exercises you will find shortly, for at least 20 days
- understand the feelings they give you while doing them and immediately after
- find out after 20 days whether they have been useful to you or not
- stop if you see increased pain
Logically, a professional’s targeted assessment is a great choice, as they should be able to point you to the exercises that are most suitable for you.
Generally speaking, we can benefit from stretching when:
- you have pain that has not started recently (1-2 months)
- your pain gets worse in the morning
- you have difficulty holding one position for a long time
However, these are very general lines: unless you are already a hyper-mobile person, an attempt should be made anyway.
Stretches For Lower Back Pain
Stretches For Lower Back Pain
Now we’re going to look at some practical stretching exercises that can help improve your back pain. These are generic exercises, but they are almost always part of the routines. I use it with my patients, given their effectiveness. And if you want a more focused plan, I definitely recommend my guide ” Back pain step by step. “
For this guide, I have created a straightforward procedure, which allows you to find the techniques and exercises. Best suited to your case, depending on the characteristics of your problem. Thanks to a series of self-assessment tests, you can easily understand what is best to do, and how to progress as your situation improves.
Stretching of the iliotibial muscles to relieve lower back pain
- To begin, lie on your stomach so that your back is flat on the ground.
- Bend the left knee 90 degrees to keep the pelvis stable and, at the same time, lift the right leg trying to keep the knee as straight as possible. The right hip must not rise from the floor and the movement must not come from the pelvis.
- Try to hold the leg in this position for about 30 seconds to feel the stretch in the back of the right leg.
- Then relax the knee and repeat the exercise three times with the same leg before moving on to the other.
- Lie on your stomach, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
- Always keep one of your feet flat on the floor, lift the knee of the other leg towards your chest and try to maintain this position for 15 to 20 seconds. You can help yourself by hugging the knee you raised.
- Relax the area and return to the starting position. Do the same with the other leg.
- Do 2 to 4 repetitions with each leg.
You should avoid doing this exercise if while doing it you feel the pain in the lower back increases or moves, for example, in the legs.
With this exercise, we will stretch the paravertebral muscles and, at the same time, strengthen the abdominal ones.
- Lie on your stomach, with your legs straight.
- Bend your right leg up to the knee and then cross the left side of your body towards it.
- Hold this position for at least 20 seconds to feel the stretch through your back muscles and glutes.
- Keep the base muscles contracted and then turn to switch sides.
- Do three repetitions on each side.
Piriformis stretching: Stretches For Lower Back Pain
- Lie on a mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Lift the right knee up to the chest, support it with the left hand and pull it up to the left shoulder maintaining the position for about 5 seconds. Gradually increase the time until you get to hold the position for 30 seconds.
- Repeat the exercise with the other leg.
- Lie on the left side of your body and place your right hand on your right ankle, meanwhile flex your left leg slightly.
- Tense your glutes and begin pulling your right ankle towards them as you straighten your leg.
- Avoid bringing your ankle to the end of your buttocks. As you could hurt your knees instead of stretching the muscles.
- Maintain this position for as long as possible and then switch to the other leg.
Total back stretch
- Extend your arms on the floor or other sturdy surface and lean forward with your knees slightly flexed.
- Try to keep your arms as straight as possible and your head level with your shoulders. Maintain this position for about 10 seconds.
- Next, standing, extend your left hand in front of you and raise your right arm over your head with the elbow bent. At the same time, move your upper body to the left to stretch the hip.
- Try to hold the position for 10 seconds, switch sides, and repeat the exercise.
10 Back Pain Exercise: Stretches For Lower Back Pain
BACK PAIN EXERCISE NUMBER 1
Stretches for lower back pain in this exercise, we are going to promote the elongation of all the rotator muscles of the hip. Lie down with the abdomen facing up, the left leg remains extended while the right leg flexes. The foot of the bent leg crosses the left thigh and with the left hand push the right knee down (you must feel the right glute stretch). Take long breaths that will allow you to perform the movement slowly and rhythmically. Repeat the exercise 8 times for the single side.
LUMBAR PAIN EXERCISE NUMBER 2
The following exercise increases the joint flexibility of the Hips. Lie down with the abdomen facing up, cross your legs bringing your right foot to the level of the left knee. The left-hand favor the lifting of the respective thigh, while the right-hand favors external rotation. Associate slow and long breaths that will guide you in the precise execution. Repeat the exercise 8 times on each side.
EXERCISE NUMBER 3
This exercise promotes the lengthening of the entire posterior muscle chain. Lie down with the abdomen upwards, slowly bring one leg to the chest, with the other (which remains extended) try to make the knee adhere well to the mat/bed. Make slow and precise movements, always combining breathing.
EXERCISE NUMBER 4
Hip Extensor Muscle Stretch, lie on the edge of the bed with the abdomen facing up, drop one leg outward while the other flexes towards the core. Perform the exercise slowly and precisely, combine your breathing.
EXERCISE NUMBER 5
Lengthening of the dorsal-lumbar spine. Lie down with the abdomen facing upwards, inhale by inflating the abdomen and exhale the air with your mouth (as if you had to blow out candles), bring both legs to the chest. Trying to make the entire column adhere to the mat while the chin is lowered.
Repeat the exercise keeping the knees to the chest for 5 seconds and then slowly come down. You can alternate turning the knees outwards and bringing them to the chest, doing so you will feel more tension inside the thigh.
EXERCISE NUMBER 6
Posterior spine-hip muscle chain reinforcement. Lie down with the abdomen upwards, knees bent at 90 °, slowly raise the pelvis, contracting the buttocks and abdomen well. Hold the position for 4 seconds, combining slow and deep breathing. Come down slowly and repeat the exercise 8 times.
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EXERCISE NUMBER 7
Neuro-dynamic mobilization of the sciatic nerve, stretching of the posterior leg muscles. Lying with the abdomen facing upwards, one leg flexes while the other with the help of a rubber band, a rope, or even a belt makes small flexion movements of the knee towards the ceiling.
Perform the movements slowly and rhythmically. Try to promote harmonious leg lengthening.
EXERCISE NUMBER 8
Neuro-dynamic mobilization of the Sciatic Nerve, stretching of the posterior muscle chain. The previous exercise can also be done while seated: Back straight at 90 °, shoulder blades together and abdomen contracted, one leg flexes towards the abdomen. While the other with the help of an elastic, a rope, or a belt performs a flexion-extension movement of the knee. Perform the exercises slowly and precisely 6-8 times.
EXERCISE NUMBER 9
This exercise improves the vertebral mobility of the entire spine and pelvis. Lie with the abdomen facing up, the left leg stretches, while the right flexes and the right foot passes the left thigh.
The right arm opens outward while the left-hand push the right knee down (cross movement). The exercise must be performed in a rhythmic manner, it can also be associated with the slow motion of turning the Head to the right.
EXERCISE NUMBER 10
The following exercise was chosen to allow the patient a global strengthening of the musculature. Lie with the abdomen facing down. Lift upbringing the weight on the tips of the toes and elbows flexed at 90 °, aligning the back well and keeping the abdomen and buttocks contracted.
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In addition to lower back pain exercises, which other therapies may be useful?
The exercises are essential and must be considered in a maintenance context. Physiotherapy and Osteopathy must be the solution to the problem. For this reason, in our study, we always recommend a Specific Evaluation of the clinical case both from a medical point of view. But we are still evaluating it also from a physiotherapeutic point of view. To calibrate the response and choose the appropriate therapy to eliminate lower back pain. We have seen that the possible causes can be traced to pathologies such as the Crooked Pelvis, or piriformis syndrome, or a joint facet syndrome.
In the Acute Phase:
We treat the problem using CMF Complex Magnet Fields, Tecartherapy, High Power Laser, and Above all manual Therapy (Lumbar massage, and slight mobilizations)
In the Subacute Phase:
We treat the problem from an osteopathic point of view, through vertebral manipulations, Visceral Treatments, and Above all, Mezieres Postural Re-education, Myofascial Trigger Point Treatment.
How the Mdm Physiotherapy Center in Rome can help you
Our Physiotherapy and Osteopathy Center is located in Rome, and we are specialized in the treatment of back pain and especially of lumbar pain. Our Physiotherapists and Osteopaths will set up a free appointment to evaluate your problem.
It will be our care to evaluate together with the doctors who collaborate with our structure. The best therapeutic strategy and face it with a Decision to remove back pain and make it just a bad memory.