Have you been ignoring your back pain because you think it’s a normal part of life? Or do you want to be proactive about maintaining your mobility and reducing your risk for injuries and chronic pain?
Just because back pain is extremely common doesn’t mean there aren’t steps you can take to prevent or reduce it. And while stretching may not be the end-all-be-all solution for every back issue — or a replacement for care from an experienced chiropractor — it can be a powerful tool for improving your mobility and strengthening the muscles that support your spine.
In this article, we’ll share some powerful stretches for each part of the back, along with tips for stretching safely and information to help you identify when it’s time to see an expert.
Why is Stretching Good for Your Back?
Most people think about stretching merely as a tool for improving flexibility, or for warming up before a more serious workout. But stretching your back can have many benefits beyond mobility and workout preparation.
Careful and consistent stretching is an effective way to strengthen your core — which contains the muscles that support your spine. A strong core reduces your risk for injuries like herniated discs and can improve your recovery times if an injury does occur.
Stretching your back muscles can also help prevent spasms. In some cases, back stretches can even help relieve pressure on compressed or irritated nerves.
How to Make Sure You’re Stretching Safely
Though stretching can be beneficial when done correctly, it can also cause injury or worsen existing conditions if you don’t use the proper technique.
In general, here are a few things to keep in mind to help make sure you’re stretching properly:
- Move slowly and steadily while stretching, and don’t bounce.
- Hold each stretch for about 30-60 seconds. If you can’t hold your stretch, you may be stretching too far.
- Don’t push yourself to the point of pain. When you start to feel tension, hold your stretch there instead of trying to increase it.
- Frequent, consistent stretching will pay off! Aim for at least three times a week, or even daily if needed.
If you’re unsure what stretches you should focus on for a specific problem area, or you want to make sure you’re doing your stretches safely, don’t be afraid to consult an expert!
An experienced chiropractor can show you the proper corrective exercises and targeted stretches that will have the most impact.
Stretches for Lower Back Pain
If you’re experiencing lower back pain, here are 3 stretches that may help provide some relief while also strengthening important muscles and improving your mobility:
- Knee to Chest Stretch
Lie flat on your back with your feet on the floor and your knees bent. Slowly pull your knees toward your chest and hold them there for 5-10 seconds. Make sure to keep your spine pressed on the floor and engage the muscles in your abdomen. Repeat 2-3 times.
- Pelvic Bridges
Lie flat on your back with your feet on the floor and your knees bent. Tighten the muscles in your abdomen and slowly raise your hips off the ground, until your body forms a straight, diagonal line from your shoulders up to your knees. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds, then slowly lower yourself flat to the ground. Then repeat.
- Spinal Rotations
Sit on the ground with your right leg stretched out straight in front of you. Bend your right knee and cross your leg so your right foot is on the ground next to your outer left thigh. Place your left hand on the outside of your thigh and gently twist to the right. Hold this position for 10-20 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
Stretches for Middle Back Pain
Because the middle back is naturally less mobile than the lower back, stretching can be a powerful tool for reducing stiffness and making sure your mid-back muscles stay strong and healthy.
Here are two stretches that may be beneficial if you’re experiencing middle back pain:
- Spinal Press Up
Lie flat on your stomach with your hands underneath your shoulders. Slowly raise your upper body off the ground, while keeping your hips and forearms on the ground. Hold for 5-10 seconds, then slowly return to lying flat. Then repeat.
- Cat-Cow Pose
Rest on all fours, making sure your neck and back are straight. Slowly round your back toward the ceiling while tucking your chin to your chest. Hold for five seconds, then slowly lift your head and chest toward the ceiling while letting your spine sink slightly toward the ground. Hold for five seconds, then repeat.
Signs You Should See a Chiropractor
If your back pain has lasted for more than a few weeks, or your pain worsens after stretching, it may be time to seek out help from an expert.
A chiropractor can help you better understand why you’re experiencing back pain, and then create a treatment plan that targets the specific muscles, joints, nerves, tendons, and ligaments that are connected to that pain.
At Rush Chiropractic, we don’t only offer chiropractic adjustment (though adjustment is a valuable tool for injuries like strains, sprains, and pinched nerves).
Dr. Rush also offers spinal decompression therapy, which increases space between the spine’s vertebrae to help its discs and joints realign naturally.
When someone is experiencing pain because of tight muscles, he may also use electrical muscle stimulation, a technique where we send mild electrical pulses into target areas to help loosen the muscles.
For a herniated disc or other joint injury, Dr. Rush may use spinal decompression therapy to gently stretch the spine. This increases the space between the vertebrae to promote faster healing and allow the discs and joints to realign naturally.
Rush Chiropractic even offers exercise and nutritional advice, giving you the tools to continue healing outside of our office. If you want to learn how to stretch safely and more effectively, a chiropractic visit is an excellent place to start!
To find out more about how Rush Chiropractic and Rehab can help you heal your back pain or reduce your risk of injury, schedule a consultation today. Simply give us a call at 954-432-5006 to get started.
Dr. Rush is a 1994 graduate of the University of Florida where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise Sports Science and Wellness.
Dr. Rush earned his Doctor of Chiropractic Degree at Life University in 2000 where he was honored with magna cum laude. Dr. Rush was born and raised in South Florida where he returned after graduation. He currently practices in Pembroke Pines where he owns and operates Rush Chiropractic and Rehab.