At-Home Self-Care Part 2: 5 Stretches to Loosen Lower Back Tension
We’re continuing our spinal self-care series by talking about what to do after your first few adjustments! Stretching out tight muscles surrounding the spine is key to recovery and healing after an injury.
Inflammation often causes tightness in the muscles surrounding our spine. It’s your body’s way of attempting to protect itself from movements that could cause further damage. Without stretching, the body will tighten up more and more over time and will slow down the healing process. Here are six stretches you can do anywhere to loosen your muscles. The first three focus on your lumbar spine while the second set focuses on your sacrum.
While laying on your back, grab each leg behind the knee and pull them towards your chest. If you have difficulty reaching your legs, you can put a towel behind your knees to use to pull upward. This stretch can also be done one leg at a time. Hold for thirty seconds at a time.
You should feel this stretch in your lower back and glutes. If this stretch causes back pain to move into your legs or if you have existing sciatica pain, ask your doctor for an alternative.
2. Seated Flexion
While sitting comfortable on a chair with your feet flat on the ground, lean forward so that your torso hangs between your legs. Allow your body to relax and let gravity pull you into a gentle stretch. Do not strain your back to force yourself forward and downward by pulling on your legs or chair. You should feel this stretch in your lower back and glutes. Hold for thirty seconds at a time.
3. Hamstring Stretch
While standing, place your heel on an elevated service at approximately knee height. Maintain a neutral or straight spine, avoiding arching your lower back. Bending at the hip, til your torso forward.
You can also take this stretch laying down on your back at a doorway or wall. Lift your leg up and rest the heel on the doorway or wall. You should feel this stretch in the back of your thigh and possibly behind your knee. Hold for 30 seconds on each leg.
4.Figure Four Stretch
While sitting in a chair, cross the ankle of the affected side to your opposite knee, creating a figure four. Lean forward slightly while keeping your back straight, bend at the hips rather than rounding your back.
You can also take this stretch on your back. After crossing the affected ankle over the opposite knee, grab the knee and pull it towards your chest. Hold gently for 30 seconds. You should feel this stretch in your gluteal region.
5. Hip Flexor Stretch
Stand in a split-stance or lung position with one foot placed on the ground behind you. Bend your front knee slightly until you feel a stretch in the back leg.
You can also take this stretch on your back on the edge of a bed. Allow your leg to hang off the side. Use your hands to pull the opposite leg towards your chest. You should feel this stretch in the front of your thigh and in the groin area.
As with any stretch or exercise, it’s important to not over exert yourself or you could injure yourself further. If you have trouble doing any of these stretches, talk with your chiropractor about alternatives. When paired with spinal manipulation therapy, icing, and strengthening exercises, these stretches can help you find relief for your lower back pain.
If you’re ready to take control of your spinal self-care, the doctors at Tuck Chiropractic would love to help you on your journey! Schedule an appointment today.
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