Home > Pain Prevention > The Fitness Back Pain Connection Part 3

The Fitness Back Pain Connection Part 3

Last time, we looked at the reasons why stretching is important to reducing muscle tension and increasing range of motion in the joints, both of which contribute in the prevention of back pain. I even mentioned the specific muscle groups that take pressure off of the spine if they are stretched regularly. Now I want to take it one step further and examine some specific stretches that can both elongate and strengthen important supporting muscles and ligaments for the spine.

back stretches for fitness

Stretches like the Cobra can help strengthen the back and prevent injury.

Remember, if you have a back condition, like a herniated disc, you should check with a trained back pain specialist before performing back exercises that involve twisting or arching the back.  Below are some good stretching exercises for the prevention of back pain.

Stretches for Prevention of Back Pain

Knee to Chest: Stretches the Gluteal muscles.

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Grip your left leg behind the knee and pull toward your left shoulder. Hold this position for 5 seconds and switch sides. Repeat for 3-7 sets.

Piriformis Seated Stretch: Stretches the Piriformis muscle that lies beneath the Gluteal muscles.

Sit down on a chair and place your left ankle over your right leg, right above the knee. Lean forward and hold this position for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side. Try 2 to 3 sets.

Seated Hamstring Stretch: Stretches the Hamstring, taking pressure off the pelvis and low back.

Sit down with your right leg extended in front of you. Bend your left knee and keep the left outer thigh close to the ground. Reach to your foot. Remember to bend at the hip and not the waist to maximize the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and switch legs. Go for 2 to 3 sets.

Standing Hamstring Stretch: Stretches the Hamstring, requires a step or bench.

Place your foot on a step or bench. Flex your foot while bending forward from your hip joint; keep your back straight. The more you lean forward, the greater the stretch for your hamstring. Hold for 30 and switch. Look to go for 2-3 sets.

Standing Quadriceps Stretch: Stretches the Quadriceps; stretching these muscles along with Hamstring muscles is important for preventing postural imbalance.

While standing bend your knee behind you and grab your ankle. Gently pull your heel toward your buttocks until you feel a gentle pull on the front part of your thigh. Hold this position for 10-20 seconds and switch sides. Repeat for 2-3 sets.

Pelvic Tilt: Lower back stretching exercise that also strengthens the abs.

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Tighten both your buttocks and your abs while flattening the small of your back against the floor. Hold for five seconds and slowly relax. Repeat for 5-15 times.

The Cobra: Back and chest stretching exercise.

Lay flat on your stomach with your forehead to the ground. Keep your arms bent and your palms down on the ground under the shoulders. Push downward with your arms as you lift your upper torso and arch your back. Hold this stretch for three full breaths before slowly returning your upper torso to the ground. Try 2-3 sets.

It’s important to remember that any time you’re performing stretching exercises to take it slow and gentle. A normal stretch should not be painful and if you feel pain, take it down a notch. Also if you’re suffering from a serious back condition like spinal stenosis, disc herniation, or sciatica, you should not perform some of these stretches unless a qualified back pain professional has cleared you. At Living Well Medical in NYC we have a wide range of treatment therapies available to help address painful back conditions. If you’re in pain and unsure whether you can safely perform certain stretching exercises, give us a call we’ll assist you in any way we can.

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