Gentle Back Stretches
Many of our clients suffer back pain following an auto accident. Although health care providers are generally still operating during the COVID-19 shutdowns, many of us are avoiding outings unless they are urgent. Below are a few gentle back stretches to do at home. These are movements that are often prescribed by physical therapists and chiropractors to strengthen the core muscles. Core muscles assist with everyday functional movements. These exercises should only be attempted if you have been cleared by your health care provider to perform a home exercise program.
Here is an easy warm-up with a focus on breathing. This helps to relieve tension:
- Lie down on your back, knees bent, with your feet flat on the floor.
- Rest your palms on your lower abdomen.
- Inhale deeply and slowly through your nose, feeling your ribcage expand.
- Exhale slowly through pursed lips, while at the same time applying light pressure with your hands to your abdominal area to assist the exhale process.
- Take a few moments to lie in that position, thinking peaceful thoughts, consciously allowing your body to relax into the floor.
Next, we will offer movements that are designed to further relax the back muscles. Throughout these movements, you will want to keep a neutral spine, which means it is in its natural position and not rotated either way. To establish a neutral spine, tilt your pelvis all the way back and then all the way forward five or so times and then settle into the neutral position between those two extremes.
Maintaining the neutral spine, begin the Drawing In Maneuver:
- Inhale deeply.
- Exhale while being aware to draw the abdominal muscles in toward the spine.
- With the exhale, make it deep enough to feel it “hollow” the lower abdominal region.
Then move on to the Knee to Chest Movement below.
- While lying on your back, bend one knee and grab it with your hand on the same side of your body.
- Pull the knee up toward the chest area, slowly increasing the pull, avoiding pain but feeling the stretch.
- Repeat the move with the other side, keeping the first knee up toward the chest so that the end position is both knees into the chest with arms wrapped around the shin area of both legs. This is a great stretch position for the lower back.
Watch the YouTube Video. A physical therapist demonstrates the knee to chest stretch in the following video.
The basic pelvic tilts that were described above return in the below exercise. The basic pelvic tilt helps to improve posture and provide a starting point for low back and core strengthening movements.
- Lying on back, bend both knees, feet flat on the ground.
- Exhale and pull abdominal muscles toward the floor.
- While exhaling, allow the movement to pull the bottom of your pelvis off the of the floor. At first, this movement will be small, but as you continue to do this exercise, your range of motion should improve.
- Inhale and gently return to the start position, relaxing back into the floor. Repeat this sequence a few more times.
As you continue to work on these gentle movements, be consciously aware of using the muscles within the lower abdominal area to power the movement, rather than your butt muscles. Strengthening the abdominal core helps address mechanical back pain.
Stockton Personal Injury Lawyer
Hello – I’m Ed Smith, a personal injury lawyer in Stockton. Careless and negligent driving causes car crashes. Have you or someone you love suffered injuries as the result of a bad driver? If the answer is yes, I can provide free, friendly advice. Just call me at (209) 227-1931 or (800) 404-5400.
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Photograph Attribution: AndyP on Pixabay
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