Continuing from last month's article on preventing back pain, let's take a look at how you can relieve the pain while realigning your body for optimal movements. If certain areas of your body are tight and others are stretched and/or weakened, the risk of injury increases due to incorrect movement patterns. These can be movements performed in every day life such as gardening, housework or occupational requirements. An even greater risk comes from your workouts as you add volume and resistance to your movements. You may feel confused and frustrated as you work hard toward getting stronger and fitter but end up feeling like your joints hurt more than your muscles.
To realign the body, you will need to stretch and strengthen opposing muscle groups that can cause improper movements leading to back pain. Take 5-10 minutes, once or twice daily to relieve the pain and begin the healing process. Perform each stretch gently for 20-50 seconds as you breathe deeply for best results while channeling your inner "zen".
Seated Leg Cross:
1. Sit at the edge of a sturdy chair with one ankle crossed over the opposite thigh.
2. Gently lean forward and press your knee towards the ground to open the hip and stretch the buttocks muscles.
Lying Hamstring Stretch:
1. Lie on your back with one leg bent, foot on the ground while straightening the opposite leg towards the ceiling.
2. While keeping your leg straight at the knee, gently pull the leg towards your torso until you feel a comfortable stretch behind the leg. For best results, keep your toes pointed down toward your face. Switch sides.
Lying Piriformis Stretch:
1. Bend one knee toward the chest and across the body toward the opposite shoulder.
2. Use one hand to grab the knee and the opposite to hold the ankle.
3. Apply gentle pressure to pull the ankle toward the body without allowing your knee to pull away from the body. Switch sides.
1. Lie facing the ground.
2. bring one bent knee under your chest while keeping your back leg straight.
3. Help support yourself with the arms and try not to lean to the side of the bent knee. Switch sides.
Hip Flexor Stretch:
1. Get into a single leg kneeling position.
2. Your knee should be directly under your hips and foot on the ground directly under your knee.
3. Sit up tall and reach the arm on the side with the foot on the ground toward the ceiling.
4. Contract your buttock muscle to press your hips forward without allowing your back to arch. Switch sides.