An effective stretching routine starts with good hydration. Make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day and especially before any workout or stretching session. Another thing that helps make stretching more effective is consistency. Consistent stretching (even for 5 minutes a day) will have more of a change in the body then doing it every so often. Try to make it part of your morning and nighttime routine and you will see it will get easier as time goes on. Secondly, yoga is a perfect balance of stretching and strengthening. It's great for the spine, joints, and core which all play a huge factor in low back pain. There are countless benefits of yoga and specifically for low back pain sufferers, it can be particularly helpful!
The first exercise I recommend is a hamstring stretch. You can do this a few different ways. A typical hamstring stretch would be laying on your back and extending on leg toward the ceiling. Using a band, belt, or tie place it on the arch of your foot and gently pull the leg toward the body. The first modification would be sitting on the floor with one leg extended out straight and one leg flexed in toward the body. Gently reach both hands toward the foot. A modification to that is sitting in a chair and extending one leg either out on the floor or out resting on another chair placed directly in front of you. If all of these moves cause you pain either in your low back, hip, or leg it is time you get a professional to help! That's where we come in.
The second effective exercise for low back pain is a hip flexor stretch. A typical hip flexor stretch would be getting into a deep lunge position with one knee on the ground and on knee bent to 90 degrees in front of you. You gently push your pelvis and upper body forward until you feel a slight pull in the front of the hip and reach the same arm over head. A modification for this would be a split stance position with both hands resting on the forward slightly bent leg and the back leg as straight as possible pressing your heel down. And lastly, another modification would be standing facing a wall with one foot close to the wall and one foot extended back behind you. Use the wall to gently press the upper body away from until you feel a gentle stretch in the front of the hip. If you feel pain in the back, hip, or leg while stretching always consult with your chiropractor!
The third stretch that I have found to be most helpful for the lower back is the Cat Cow stretch. A typical cat cow or cat camel stretch is getting into a table top position with wrists place directly under shoulders and knees placed directly under hips. From here, inhale and look up allowing the belly to sag. Then slowly exhale and look towards the belly pressing your lower back up toward the ceiling and bringing the belly button up toward the spine. A modification to this move is to complete this move while sitting. Sit with with a 90 degree angle in your hips and knees. Start by inhaling and extending your neck and arching the lower back. Then slowly exhale and round the lower back and look down toward your feet. Lastly a modification to this is diaphragmatic breathing. To do this, sit or lay with one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest. as you inhale focus on the bottom hand (on the belly) rising and the top hand staying still. This is the first step to wake up and engage your core muscles! Most people have a hard time with this actually because many of us have a deconditioned diaphragm and core!
From the desk of Dr. Lisette Miller Kondrad. Dr. Miller is a licensed Chiropractic Physician and Board Certified Acupuncture Provider who has been in clinical practice since 2013. She has helped hundreds of patients via Chiropractic care and Acupuncture. Click here to contact Clark Road Chiropractic Center with any questions or to schedule your appointment!