Whether your back pain is muscular or structural, it’s a great idea to start a series of simple stretches to reduce your discomfort and lower your inflammation. Tight spinal tolerances can lead to pinched nerves, and pinched nerves can cause muscular spasms. Staying loose can help a great deal.
Start With Your Core
Get in the habit of tightening up your tummy. A strong core can support the low back and prevent disc movement around the nerves that lead to your legs. A simple core exercise is to do wall pushups. Face a blank wall and put your hands on the wall at shoulder height. Step back until your arms are straight. If you have discomfort, step a bit closer. Draw your navel in tight and press forward, supporting your straight body in a line with your upper arm and back musculature. Do ten reps each time you use the bathroom to build up muscles around your spine.
Stretch While Seated
You can stretch your upper and lower back in a chair. To stretch your upper back, rotate your shoulders back and pull your shoulder blades together. Hold for 5 seconds, breathe and release for three to five times a day.
While in your chair, cross your right leg over your left. Add a twist by placing your left hand on the right side of the top leg and gently stretch the low back. Breathe, hold for 5 seconds, and release. Do both sides three to five times each day.
Stretch While Laying Down
While a visit to a chiropractor in Houston TX can help you decompress the spine by hanging, start by stretching first thing in bed. Draw your knees up to your chest to stretch your low back, then stretch out flat and pull up one knee tight to the chest. This will stretch your glutes and pelvis. Roll slightly from side to side to intensify this stretch on both sides.
When stretching early in the day, it’s very important to start with small movements. If you wake up feeling stiff and in pain, you may need to get up and move to start warming up these muscles before stretching is a good idea. Once the muscles are warmed up, laying down on a yoga mat and rotating gently can start the stretching process.
Stretch While Standing
Start from the top down. To stretch your upper back, place your fingertips on your shoulders with the back of your hands up and your elbows pointed straight out. From this position, slowly lower your forehead to stretch your upper back and neck. Hold for three to five seconds and breathe. Lift your head and pull your right elbow across the body with the left hand. Again, hold for 5 seconds, then switch sides.
To stretch the mid-back, let your left hand hang straight and raise your right hand toward the ceiling. Look up at the right hand and slowly tilt to the left, letting the left hand slide down the leg. If raising your arm straight is too uncomfortable, try putting your fingertips on your shoulder as noted above on the upper backstretch. Stretch to the point of feeling the pull, not feeling the pain of the burn, and switch sides after 5 seconds.
If all movement is painful or if you’re struggling with muscle spasms, it’s time to manage inflammation. When you’re struggling with cramping or spasms, it’s really tempting to use heath, but heat actually increases inflammation. Start with ice.
To safely ice your spine, use a timer. Wrap your ice pack in a towel to avoid frostbite; putting ice directly on your skin can actually cause blisters if left on too long. Ice for 20 minutes every 2 hours to get the inflammation down. Give your back time to calm down before you start stretching or doing any other exercises.
Finally, if you’re fighting inflammation, take a good look at your diet and your water intake. For those fighting spinal pain, it’s very tempting to treat yourself to comfort foods. However, foods high in salt and sugar can increase your inflammation and contribute to spinal discomfort.