Stretching and Flexibility Exercises for Back Pain Relief

Stretching and Flexibility Exercises for Back Pain Relief Today, the focus of treating back pain and back injuries is on isolating a particular section of the back that has become injured and treating it. This treatment of a specific back injury may take the form of massage therapy, physical therapy, and surgery - when all other options have been exhausted. But is the answer to treating a person's back problem in isolating and treating a specific section of the back that has gone wrong or been degenerated? Some research results out there indicate that many patients experience back pain when their backs on the whole are weak, and are accompanied by an unhealthy body incapable of supporting it. Rather than isolating problem areas in the back to treat conditions, many physiatrists and physical therapists today support the idea that overall strengthening and flexibility in the backs have the effect of treating back pain. This means that to reduce the chances of patients sustaining chronic back pain, they will have to start and continue back exercise programs that strengthen the back and increase its flexibility. In this article, we will list some specific stretching and flexibility exercises for back pain relief that you may be able to do under the supervision of a physical therapist or on your own. We will also offer you some suggestions on how to do these exercises safely, comfortably, and with the best possible results.

Stretching for Back Pain Relief: Improving the flexibility of the muscles and other connective tissues of the back may benefit patients in a number of ways. Stretching and flexibility exercises may benefit all of the soft tissues of the back, including the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. These soft tissues of the spinal column, as well as the hips, buttocks, and legs, are all designed to move separately, but they also move together as a single unit as well - when we move our entire body. Decreased flexibility in any of these parts will reduce our range of motion in our backs and associated parts, and may lead to the onset or continuance of back pain symptoms.

Whatever lifestyle factors there were to get you to the point where you experience back pain did not occur overnight, but more likely through months or years of inactivity or improper body mechanics. Conversely, whatever flexibility program you begin will not be likely to immediately reverse the stiffness that you feel in your back now. It may take several weeks or months of stretching and other back exercises to mobilize the spine and soft tissues in your body. But if you choose to continue the program, as designed by your doctor and physical therapists, the results that you are looking for will happen. You should eventually enjoy back pain relief as you increase the motion of your spine and the flexibility of the muscles that support it.

Here are some suggestions for you to follow when preparing and performing the stretches and exercises designed to make your back fitter and stronger.
  • Wear sneakers and clothing that won't be uncomfortable or restricting;
  • All of the motions should be relatively comfortable and fluid. None of the stretches should be painful to perform, and you shouldn't have to use force to get yourself into position;
  • You should be easing yourself into and out of your stretches gradually. None of the motions should be quick and forced. Do not bounce into and out of positions. Bouncing and fast movements may cause muscle tears;
  • Try to find a nice comfortable area that allows you the ability to do your workout/routine without restriction. The surface should be flay and open;
  • Hold all of your stretches for a period of 20-30 seconds. This will allow your joints and muscles enough time to become loose;
  • Repeat each stretch five to ten times;
Neck and shoulder stretches: In many cases, head, neck and shoulder pain may be associated with the muscles that originate or insert into the neck and back muscles. The following exercises may help to break up tightness and pain in the neck and shoulder muscles.

Flexion Stretch - Chin to Chest: To stretch the muscles in the back of the neck, bend your neck forwards while bringing your chin close to your chest.

Lateral Flexion - Ear to Shoulder: This bilateral exercise stretches the muscles from the top of the shoulders to the base of the ears. You should do this exercise on both sides. Tilt your head sideways while trying to touch your ear to the top of your shoulder. Bring your ear down to your shoulder as close as you can get, while feeling a comfortable stretch in the side of the neck.

Back Exercise Stretches: Many patients with tension in their lower back may experience some relief by performing exercises such as the Knee to Chest Stretch and Back Flexion Exercise.

Knee to Chest Stretch: Lay down on your back, with your knees up and the bottom of your feet touching the ground. Using one leg at a time, place both hands behind one knee and bring it close you your chest.

Back flexion exercise: Lying on your back, you will bring the upper and lower part of your body together. Pull both knees towards your chest while flexing your head forward. You should feel a comfortable stretch in your lower back while in this position.