As part of our Lose the Back Pain program I want to give you a simple but highly effective low back stretch.
Stand up straight and cross your hands over your chest in front of you.
Slowly start to learn forwards and start to push your bottom backwards
Keep pushing and when you feel that your back is stretching… HOLD that position
Now try and push your bottom back a little further… HOLD again.
Go back to the start and stand up straight.
Hold for 30 seconds and repeat this exercise
Okay, there are 2 things which may make this different from other similar back stretches you might have seen.
- The pushing the bottom back and repeating this by pushing back further
- Waiting for 30 seconds before repeating a second time.
Let me explain:
- The lower back (lumbar spine) consists of the thoracolumbar fascia, latissmus dorsi, errectors, glutes, etc and these muscles and connective tissue all contract and shorten. It is this shortening which affects the gap between the vertebrae and the discs in the spine. When these muscles over tighten they pull the lower back into pelvis reducing movement of the vertebrae and disc space causing pressure on the sciatic nerve.
- There are mechanoceptor and chemoceptors in the body and some are called golgi tendon organs and others muscle spindles. When the body is placed under load it activates the receptors which sends signal to the brain. It is then processed and a response given via chemical release which causes muscle to relax and thereby lengthen; hence the 30 seconds wait to allow the body to adjust.
If you carefully do this exercise right you will find that you can stay on the ball longer as time goes by but with all exercises we urge caution, you can over do this exercise and suffer from pain. What you will notice however is that the lower back and possible hamstrings at the back of your thighs will be stiff and it will feel achy due to the fact you are stretching the muscles and tendons in the back, this is normal as a lot of muscles and tendons automatically shorten and need to be re-lengthened.