Make a New Year’s Resolution to Begin Each Day with a Healthier Back
Lower back pain affects the majority of adults at least once in their lifetime, and it is most commonly felt in the early hours of the morning after most adults are waking up. It is important to stretch your back when waking up in the morning, as most slipped discs and other back injuries occur within the first thirty minutes to an hour of our day.
Thanks to our varying sleep cycles, the back muscles flex between relaxed and tense, which actually cause more pressure on the spine and ligaments. Stretching before getting out of bed helps to alleviate this pressure, and also limbers up your body for the activities of the day.
In 2016, make a resolution to begin each morning with low-impact stretches to help get your day started and relieve some of that back pain before it begins! Whether you’re super flexible, or a yoga novice, these simple stretches will help put you on the right path to managing your pain.
1. Lower Back (Erector Spinae)– Complete this stretch by bringing both knees to the chest in cradle position. First raise your right knee and hold to your chest with both hands; then alternate with your left. After this, grab both knees and pull them to your chest, and hold for a few seconds before relaxing.
2. Buttocks– Stretch your buttocks muscles to help with conditions such as sciatica or pinched nerves. While lying on your back with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle, cross one leg on top of the other. With both hands, pull your knee towards your chest until you feel a stretch in the buttocks. Repeat on the opposite side.
3. Piriformis Stretch– Another great stretch for those suffering from back and leg pain is the piriformis stretch. This technique is completed by lying on your back and crossing one leg over the other while gently pulling the knee toward your chest until you feel a stretch in the buttock region. We recommend you hold for thirty and repeat for three reps.
4. Child’s Pose– While it may seem silly, the child pose is one of the simplest, yet most effective stretches for lower back pain. Simply sit on your knees, then roll your body backward, with your hips sitting on top of your hamstrings, your abs on top of your quads, and your head on or near the floor.
5. Back Rotation– Completing this stretch early in your morning helps keep your muscles loose and relaxed throughout your day. Start by lying flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Slightly rotate your torso so that your knees are leaning to the side with your back still straight, and hold this position for 15 seconds. Alternate sides and repeat for three reps.
Image credit: Tracy Weber