Easy Low Back Stretches

Clear Lake Chiropractor Comments: I’m sure we’ve all rationalized our inability to keep up with stretches, especially after our episode of low back pain (LBP) subsides. In fact, only about 4% of LBP patients continue doing their stretches after their pain subsides. That means 96% of us with chronic, recurring low back pain DO NOT stretch even though we know we should.  We feel bad, even guilty for not stretching.  So, what can we do to “trick” ourselves into being more compliant with our low back stretches?

easy low back stretches
Stretch flickr photo by PMillera4 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

First, let’s accept the fact that most of us cannot consistently “fit in” stretches into our busy schedules.  With that said, the TIMING of when we stretch may be more important than even doing them at the same time every day. In other words, do a few stretches when you need them the most. For example, if you’re working at a computer for more than 1 hour, and you start to feel back pain from the prolonged sitting – especially if your work station set up is less than ideal – do one or two sitting stretches right at your work station, BEFORE your back pain gets any worse. If you wait too long, the stretches may not be of much benefit. Setting a timer next to your screen that beeps every hour is a good reminder to do one or two simple stretches and only takes a minute or two.  Many inexpensive digital watches can be set to beep on the hour/every hour or, you can set a “timer” to beep after 60 minutes as a “gentle” reminder.  Some cell phones also have a timer feature. Here are three sit down low back stretch options (try them all and decide which one(s) feel most productive/helpful):

  1. “Crossed Knee Stretch”: Cross your legs; pull the crossed knee towards your opposite shoulder (feel the pull in your buttocks); arch your low back and at the same time, twist or rotate to the side of the crossed knee. Hold for at least 10 seconds and repeat up to 3 times. Repeat this on the opposite side.
  2. “Sit Twists”: Reach across with your right hand and grasp your left leg at mid-thigh. Twist/rotate your back to the left and pull with your arm. Hold at least 10 seconds / repeat 3 times. Repeat this on the opposite side.
  3. “Sit Floor Touches”: Bend over as if to touch the floor or tie a shoe.  Hold at least 10 seconds.

If you do the math, it would only take you about 3 minutes. Modify the dose to fit your schedule or ability to stretch.  If you do this AT THE TIME you start to feel tight or sore, you can PREVENT a LBP episode!

We realize you have a choice in where you choose your healthcare services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for low back pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

Dr. Ward Beecher practices at Beecher Chiropractic Clinic at 1001 Pineloch, Ste 700 Houston, TX 77062. You can schedule an appointment at BeecherChiropractic.com or by calling (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below!