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Stretching to Relieve Back Pain

I threw my back out last night doing pretty much nothing. Oh the joys of Fybromyalgia! So today I am going to talk about stretching to relieve back pain. Even with a chronic pain disease I have found that stretching can make quite a  difference in pain levels. Plus stretching daily can help lengthen and strengthen your back muscles, improve posture and make it less likely to injure yourself in the first place.

I know what you are thinking, my back hurts no way do I want to exercise, stretch or even move. Everyone knows that exercise is important for our overall health but people sometimes forget the importance of stretching. The back and spine are made up of muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments, it is made to bend, twist, and carry quite a bit of our body weight. Stretching on a regular basis helps reduce stress on joints, improves blood flow and adds flexibility. Also, stretching before exercise helps prep your muscles for activity and reduces the risk of injury.

Not everyone hurts their back during exercise or vigorous activity. I know this and I have hurt mine doing what? I have no idea, I was standing in the Little League Concession Stand volunteering, at that time I was bagging popcorn. Popcorn is not heavy, neither are teenie popcorn bags or the scoop I was using. It just happened. Maybe there was a moment where I twisted strange or maybe it is because I am a cripple. Either way, it hurts and it is improving because of stretching it out.

Here are a few things to keep in mind while you are stretching:

  • Start at the top, if you stretch  your neck then work your way down you use already stretched muscles in the rest of your stretching routine.
  • Don’t stretch until you are in pain, go slow and only until you feel a bit on tension.
  • Be sure to stand steady, no bouncing around. Think strength in stillness.
  • Hold in your stretch for 10 to 20 seconds and do not forget to breathe! Be sure to inhale before the stretch and exhale during.
  • Small sets of 3 is enough, do not over do it! You can always add more as you are more flexible.

Personally I stretch daily, more than once in the instance that I am stiff or sore. Today there will be a few sessions of stretches going on to get this pain worked out of my back. You do not have to do it daily but I really would recommend doing it a few times a week (personal opinion, I am not a doctor.)

Here is the routine I use. I do believe that I first found it on http://www.webmd.com. I do not have a link to their direct article, but the routine is now in my memory.

Neck Stretch

  • Stand with your feet flat , knees bent just a little bit.
  • Tilt your head slowly forward, bringing your chin toward your chest.
  • Turn your head to the left until your chin is lined up with your shoulder.
  • Do this again on your right side
  • Tilt your head to the left so your ear is to your left shoulder.
  • Do this again but on your right side.

Shoulder Rolls 

  • Stand with your feet flat on the floor, knees bent a little bit.
  • Roll your shoulders forward 10 times starting with small circles.
  • Roll your shoulders 10 more times in large circles.
  • Roll your shoulders backwards 10 times starting with small circles.
  • Roll your shoulders backwards 10 times using large circles.

Hamstring Stretch

  • Lie down and bend your knees.
  • Grab one leg around the thigh and slowly bring it toward your chest.
  • Pull until you fee a light stretch.
  • Hold for 10 to 20 seconds.
  • Repeat with you other leg.

Hamstring Stretches 2

  • Stand with one leg out in front of you, straightened and put your leg on a table or chair, I use the stairs.
  • Bend the leg you are standing on until you feel a little stretch under the thigh of the raised leg. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds.
  • Repeat with your other leg.

I also like to do Sun Salutations for a sore back. Here is a video for you to check out that will show you how to do a Yoga Sun Salutation:

On today’s workout menu I have Les Mills Pump Step as well as getting back on the horse with my running. I know I may not have the best run (I usually kind of stink at it anyhow) but I am going to get out there and do what I can. Hope you all have a fit and healthy day! Time for me to go stretch out this sore back and work on getting my workouts in.

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