Low back pain affects more than 31,000,000 Americans, and experts maintain that sedentary lifestyles are the main cause for it. According to the UNC School of Medicine, “more than 80 percent of Americans will experience an episode of low back pain at some time in their lives.”
The pain leads to tightness in the hips and reduced mobility, and as explained by the certified NASM personal trainer and registered yoga teacher Kelly Collins:
“All of this sitting can cause tightness in the hamstrings, shoulders, and hip flexors, as well as a weakening of the core (abdominals, lower back, and glutes).”
To relieve the pain in the hips and back, one needs to make some important lifestyle changes. Regular stretching and exercise are the most beneficial treatment for this issue.
Stretching is highly beneficial, and can virtually remake your health and workout.
Day Fit defines stretching as “the act of extending or lengthening to the complete length or extent that our body is capable of, or, sometimes just a single body part. Stretching involves straightening or lengthening your complete structure, muscles, and limbs.”
Here are some of its most important benefits:
— Relieves back pain, since it fights the tightness in the hamstrings and lowers the stress on the muscles surrounding the lower back and the spine
— Prevents injury, since it strengthens the muscles
— It improves body posture, as tight muscles are actually weak, and lead to postural compensations
— Improves digestion by affecting the flow of energy and “The Lotus Natural Health and Rejuvenation Clinic in Edmonds, Washington, recommends gentle twisting yoga poses to increase blood flow to the bowels, reduce inflammation and gastritis, and strengthen the intestines”
— Improves joint health, improves the flexibility of the tendons, and prevents issues like a runner’s knee or tennis elbow
— Soothes headaches, as it reduces the muscle tension
— Reduces stress, and boosts circulation, that fights the tension in the muscles
— Improves mood, by boosting the blood flow to the brain
— Improves sleep by relieving the tighten or cramping during the night, and lowering stress
— Strengthens the muscles, improves muscular endurance, vertical jump distance, and standing long-jump distance
— Boosts flexibility and improves mobility
We compiled a set of helpful stretching exercises that will help you soothe the pain and all other symptoms of lower back pain. You need to hold the following stretches for half a minute per side.
Start with the feet on the floor, and the knees bent. Then, straighten out the right leg, and raise the other leg over. Lean back on the left hand, and place the other arm on the outside of the bent left leg. Push against it with the left leg, but keep the neck and spine upright. Look over the shoulder and hold.
Supine Figure 4
To alleviate back pain, and stretch the glutes and the Piriformis, lay down on the back with the feet on the floor, and the knees bent. Bend the left knee and put the left ankle above the knee. Place the left hand through the opening, link fingers behind the right thigh, and while the shoulders and the head are planted against the ground, bring the right thigh towards the torso.
Sitting on the floor, bring the bottoms of the feet together, and hold them with the hands. Gently push against the knees with the elbows, and lean forward.
To stretch the lower back and the hip flexors, lay down on the back, and bend the knees. Elevate them up towards the chest, and keep the arms between the thighs. Then, reach for the outside edges of your feet, with the lower back pressed against the floor, and rock side to side.
This stretch targets the glutes and the entire back.
Start on the hands and knees, with the toes together, and the knees a bit wider. Sit on the hips so that the bum remains on the heels. Next, start walking the hands out in front of the torso, and keep the arms straight. The forehead should touch the ground.
Cow Face Legs
Start in a seated position, and stack one bent knee on top of the other. Flex the feet as a support, and hold.
Cat and Cow
Start on all fours, with the hands under the shoulders, and the knees spread beneath the hips. Arch the spine while inhaling, and when you exhale, tighten the core and round the back like a cat.
Start on the knees and hands, and move into a push-up position. Then, slide one leg up to be parallel with the hands, and press the hips forward.
Knee to Chest
This stretch targets the glutes and the lower back. While lying flat on the floor, bend one knee and draw the leg up to the chest. You can do these exercises anywhere, and you will experience relief in a very short time.