Back stretching exercises form an important part of the pain management programme, providing effective relief from pain and discomfort by improving the flexibility and strength of the muscle groups that support the spine. Stretching exercises are aimed at relieving the tension in the back muscles to improve muscle strength and mobility and when done on a regular basis can help provide long term relief from back pain.
These exercises help in keeping the muscles relaxed and comfortable to avoid injuries and can be done within the comfort of your own house without any requirement of expensive gym equipments. However, it is important to perform the exercises in the correct manner while keeping in mind your capabilities and medical condition for better results and to avoid exercise related injuries.
When beginning the exercises for the first time, you should start with mild to moderate intensity exercises with only 3-5 repetitions, gradually increasing the intensity and repetitions with time. Moreover, always remember that stretching should be done only to the point of muscular tension and not to the point of pain.
Stretching Exercise For Back
Seated Side Stretch
Seated side stretch exercises work on the side muscles and on the muscles supporting the spine to improve posture. They can be performed with ease even in offices and other formal settings. The procedure involves sitting on a chair with your spine upright and lifting one arm over the head while keeping the other one resting firmly onto your side. Then stretch to the side and hold for 3 seconds. The process is repeated 3-8 times on both the sides.
Piriformis Muscle Stretching Exercise
These exercises are done for strengthening the piriformis muscles that run from the back of the thigh bone to the base of the spine. The procedure involves lying on the back with the knees folded together, then gradually pulling the knee towards the chest, repeating the motion 2-3 times with each knee.
In the next step, you can lie on your back with the knees bent together and cross one leg over the other. Then place both hands under the knee of the other leg, gently pulling both the knees towards to chest to feel a tightening in the upper thighs and buttocks. It is important to do these stretching exercises with the body aligned in a perfect manner, done once or twice a day, repeating the procedure 3-10 times.
Psoas Major Muscle Stretching Exercise
These exercises are aimed at strengthening the psoas major muscles that attach the lower spine between lumbar segment 5 and thoracic segment 12. They work by relieving the muscle tension to improve mobility of the spine. The procedure involves kneeling on one knee in a half kneeling position and then rotating the leg outward while keeping the back straight and both the hips in an even position.
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The next step involves leaning forward while keeping the back straight. These exercises should be repeated 3-10 times in sets and can be performed once or twice a day.
Hamstring Muscle Stretching Exercise
These exercises help in strengthening of the muscles running from the pelvic bone to the back of the knee. The procedure involves lying on the back and lifting one knee upwards at an angle of 90° to the hips, while keeping your hands behind the knee. The next step would involve lying on your back with both the knees bent together, and then lifting one leg to pull it back towards yourself using both your hands placed at the back of the leg.
These exercises work on the side muscles and back muscles to improve flexibility. The procedure involves lying on the back with the knees folded together and arms stretched upwards and then bending your knees in one direction and the hands in the other direction. The process is repeated at least three times on both sides. It is important to perform these stretching exercises routinely over a period of time to see sustained results.
However, if you experience a sharp, shooting pain while exercising or mild to moderate pain that persists even a few days after beginning the exercises, it is important to consult with the doctor as it might indicate a possible injury. Moreover, people suffering from acute back pain, osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases or other severe illnesses should consult with the doctor before beginning these exercises.
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