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From waking up to preparing for sleep, stretching is an exercise most people do. To get ready for the day or relax your body, it feels good to take that moment and stretch your muscles to feel at ease. This physical activity can alleviate pain, especially on the back, neck, lower extremities, and joints that have a lot of tension.
It is essential to remember that when stretching a particular part that hurts, you should do it safely and carefully to avoid injuring yourself, especially on the lower back, which can have adverse effects if you stretch wrongly.
To know more about stretches for lower back pain and how to do them correctly, read more to find out.
From making you even more flexible to improving your posture, there is no doubt that stretching offers a lot of benefits to your health. Some benefits of stretching include the following:
#1 Increases Flexibility
When we talk about flexibility, it applies to a range of motion on your joints in a range of motion. Stretching can help develop your flexibility, improving your muscle coordination, mobility, and reduces the risk of muscle soreness. Since it helps your flexibility to become better, this, in turn, aids you to do everyday tasks without much struggle.
#2 Improves Physical Activity Performance
Since stretching is already a form of physical exercise, warming up and stretching can help your muscles be prepared for any activity. Whether you play professionally or for fun, stretching helps improve your performance.
#3 Improves Posture
Poor posture is a common concern for most people. While some can regain their posture, it is a challenge for most people to maintain a proper one for hours on end. A study discovered that stretching and strengthening particular muscles can decrease the risk of musculoskeletal pain and promote proper alignment of your spine.
#4 Great Stress Reliever
Muscles tend to tense or tighten when the body is feeling emotional or is experiencing physical stress. Stretching on parts of your body such as the shoulders, back, neck, or tight areas can help relieve the tension in your body.
#5 Helps Calm the Mind
As muscles lose their tension, your body begins to relax, calming down your mind with it. Focusing on meditation and mindfulness helps calm your mind and give you a mental break.
#6 Prevents and Heals Back Pain
Tension in your muscles can cause your range of motion to decrease. In situations like these, your back is more likely to experience strain and pain. Stretching the muscles on your back can help in healing back injuries and pain.
Being able to stretch is essential for the body. But not everyone has the privilege to stretch their muscles and back, especially those who are in the workforce. According to PubMed.gov, 85% of working people are expected to experience low back pain.
This can be caused by many factors including their time at work, from sitting for hours to lifting heavy objects. The tension in your lower back is caused by the unequal weight distribution of the body. Sitting for too long causes most of your body weight and pressure on your lower extremities and can even affect your posture.
There are a lot of lumbar (lower back) stretches that can help alleviate tension or pain. These stretching exercises can be done in the comforts of your home and last for 1-2 minutes. You only require yourself, a yoga mat, and a flat surface to do this activity.
Here are simple lower back stretches that you can do:
#1 Prayer Stretch
This stretch is to release the tension of the lower back muscle.
#2 Core Stability
Lack of core control contributes to lower back pain. This is because your lower back has to stabilize your body's balance when your abdominal muscles are not functioning correctly. Here are several steps you can do for a core stability stretch:
#3 Knee to Chest Stretch
This type of stretch exercise helps ease the tension of your lower back and hip muscles. In addition, the knee to chest stretch relieves the pressure on your spine that can help create more space for the nerves.
Being able to stretch correctly is more important than just flexing your muscles at a specific angle. There are crucial things you must consider before, during, and after you stretch so that you can minimize the risk of injury.
Just like doing any exercise, it is essential to start it with a warm-up. This can help your muscles and body to be prepared for the activity you have in mind. Warming up is crucial so that your muscles won't be surprised by the sudden range of motion that can often cause discomfort and pain.
You can try a gentle, simple warm-up for 5-10 minutes before stretching. You can do this by simply having a brisk walk, jumping jacks, or a light jog so that you can get your muscles warm and your heart pumping.
Know your limit. Stretching should be done gently, especially if you’re experiencing lower back pain. You should feel mild discomfort or a gentle pull when stretching, not intense pain.
Don't do difficult stretches, especially on your own. Seek advice from your physician or a chiropractor to know which stretches you can do to help ease your lower back pain.
Another essential tip while stretching is to NEVER hold your breath. Holding your breath while stretching can deprive your muscles of oxygenated blood, which your muscles need. This can cause you extreme pain.
When you start with a warm-up, it is only imperative to finish with a cool-down. This is a moment where your muscles are stretched, and tensions from it are released. Having a cool-down helps your body tone down from all the stretches, easing your body from the activity.
If you don’t have time to stretch, having proper tools or furniture at home can help alleviate your lower back pain. Chiropractors advise people with back, shoulder, or even neck pain to use ergonomic furniture, especially for those in the workforce.
Ergonomic chairs are beneficial and a better alternative to standard office chairs since this furniture is designed to support your spine when you sit. You can even stretch while sitting down. Its backrest can adjust itself to the angle of your back, which can make you feel comfortable and helps maintain your posture while working and sitting for hours.
Standing desks are also an item of suggested ergonomic furniture that you can try. This desk is designed to level at a higher level than the average desk, making you stand while working. This is great, especially in multi-tasking. You can work while helping your body by alleviating the tension or discomfort your lower back may feel.
Stretching helps your muscles become flexible, healthy, and strong. Flexibility is necessary for us to enjoy a full range of motion in our joints and in turn, live well.
Stretching is something a lot of people can do, even subconsciously. Just stretching from your seat after a long day or when you wake up from your bed can help you feel better and be more relaxed. If we don’t stretch, our muscles can be tense most of the time, making our bodies feel discomfort and maybe even pain.
If you are experiencing some pains and you want to try stretching, it is important to consult your doctor before doing this activity to reduce the risk of possible injuries or pain and have an effective and healthy way of doing this activity safely.