Stretch for spinal strength

stretch

The winter leaves us all a bit stiff and achy, so stretching is especially important, however, it is very important that before embarking on any exercise routine that you seek advice from your Chiropractor, regardless of what’s causing your lower back pain, it is also crucial that you stretch your lower back with care and and above all stretch safely.

You can do these stretches once or twice a day, but if the pain seems to worsen or you are feeling very sore, stop them and speak to your Chiropractor who will be able to modify the stretch, or advise you on alternatives.

Tips:

  1. Aim to hold each stretch for at least 10 seconds and preferably 30 seconds or longer. The pain-relieving benefits will increase the longer you hold these stretches.
  2. Rather than rush through the moves, turn on some soothing music and use this stretching time as a chance to relax.
  3. Don’t forget to breathe! It may sound silly, but focusing on using your breath can help you cope with any feelings of discomfort.
  4. Even if you’re not experiencing any pain, performing certain exercises can be like a preventative maintenance program for your spine.  Stretches are a great way to maintain proper spinal alignment and ensure your back is loose and ready for physical activities.

Here are 5 stretches you can do every day to maintain your spinal health:

1.Cat – Cow Stretch

stretch

The cat-cow stretch is a great way to wake up your spine while also stretching your shoulders, neck, and chest.

To do the cat-cow stretch, follow these steps:

  1. Come onto all fours in a tabletop position (hands and knees on the ground).
  2. Press into your hands and feet as you inhale to look up, allowing your tummy to fill with air.
  3. Exhale, tucking your chin into your chest and arching your spine toward the ceiling.
  4. Continue this pattern of movement, moving with each breath.
  5. Do this for 1 to 2 minutes.

Modifications:

If you have wrist concerns, place your hands slightly forward instead of directly under your shoulders. If you have any knee concerns, place a cushion under them for padding and support. For deeper holds, simply remain in each position for 5 to 20 seconds at a time instead of moving with each breath.

2. Childs Pose

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This common yoga pose gently stretches the muscles of the low back, which may be contracted if you’re in pain.

  1. Begin in tabletop position on your hands and knees, with your hands directly under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
  2. Extend your arms out in front of you, placing your palms flat on the floor.
  3. Slowly sit your hips back toward your heels, dropping your head and chest downward as your arms extend further and reach in front of you.

Modifications:

If this stretch is too much, place a pillow under your tummy to prop yourself up a bit and lessen the stretch of the low-back muscles. If you feel like you need some extra support, you can place a rolled-up towel on top of or underneath your thighs. If it’s more comfortable, widen your knees and rest your forehead on a cushion. Hold this pose for 20 to 30 seconds or even longer.

3. Pelvic tilt

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Pelvic tilts build strength in your abdominal muscles, which helps relieve pain and tightness in your lower back. They also have a beneficial effect on your glutes and hamstrings.  This stretch brings some movement back gently to this area.

To do a pelvic tilt, follow these steps:

  1. Lie on your back with both knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Try to relax your low back, keeping it in a neutral position (which means you should feel a slight curve in your low back if you place the top of your hand under your back).
  3. Engage your abdominal muscles as you flatten your back against the floor by slightly tilting your pelvis upwards.
  4. Breathe normally, holding this position for up to 10 seconds.
  5. Release and take a few deep breaths to relax.
  6. Repeat 12 – 15 times

4. Knee to Chest

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This stretch relaxes your hips, thighs, and glutes and lengthens contracted low back muscles whilst promoting overall relaxation.

To do a knee-to-chest stretch, follow these steps:

  1. Lie on your back with both knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Keep your left knee bent or extend it straight out along the floor.
  3. Draw your right knee into your chest, clasping your hands behind your thigh or at the top of your shinbone.
  4. Lengthen your spine all the way down to your tailbone and avoid lifting your hips.
  5. Breathe deeply, releasing any tension.
  6. Hold this pose for 20 – 30 seconds.
  7. Repeat with the other leg.

Alternative:

stretch

  1. Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Bring your hands to rest either behind your knees or right below your kneecaps.
  3. Slowly bring both knees toward your chest, using your hands to gently pull your knees.
  4. Hold here 20 to 30 seconds, and try rocking your hips side to side and up and down to help massage your low back, then return to starting position.

5. Bridge Pose

stretch

This stretch allows some tension around the low back to be released and some lengthening through the sit bones encourages activation of the lower part of your gluteus maximus (buttocks) , which helps to support your low back, releasing pain and tension.

To do a bridge pose, follow these steps:

  1. Lying on your back, bend your knees and plant both feet on the floor.
  2. Be sure your feet are hip-width apart with your heels close to your glutes.
  3. Press into your feet to lift your hips.
  4. From here try to lengthen your sit bones toward your knees. Hold for 30 seconds.

Should you require any further information or would like to speak to a member of our team please call us on: Hitchin 01462 420077 or Luton 01582 579687, alternatively e-mail us on: hichin@healesclinics.com or luton@healesclinics.com


Peter Heale Chiropractor in Hitchin and LutonFrom the team at Heale's Chiropractic Clinics
Over 30 years of helping people in Hitchin and Luton and the surrounding areas of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire

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