Living with back pain is no picnic! The pain invades every aspect of your life from lovemaking to sleeping. Many try to relieve the pain by stretching. But a word of advice: Beware of stretching exercises! We have been taught that stretching is good for you. The common wisdom is that stretching strengthens muscles and loosens stiff and sore muscles. The problem is most of us have no idea how to properly stretch, especially when it comes to relieving an aching back.
Many people will try the stretches they learned in school when they were on the track team or the stretches they do before playing tennis. Although there may be nothing wrong with these movements when preparing for a run or a session of tennis, they can be harmful to a person with a back problem.
Let us look are some of the common mistakes people make when stretching.
- Going through the stretch too fast: Moving too fast through any exercise is a recipe for trouble. Muscles, especially cold tight muscles need slow movement to gradually warm up.
- Bobbing while stretching: What I mean is going into a stretch and then bobbing up and down or back and forth. You might think this improves the stretch, but again just like moving too fast, bobbing can cause injury.
- Doing the wrong stretch for the body part: This is especially true for a back pain sufferer. The wrong stretch will only worsen your back problem. Also the increase in pain will make most people avoid beneficial stretches and exercises.
- Beware of online advice: Just because someone has a video on stretching for an aching back does not mean it is right for you.
But are there some stretches that are helpful in relieving the pain in your back? Well the answer is yes. The correct stretches will ease your pain and strengthen weak muscles. Here are some tips to help you find the right stretches for your back.
- Consult your doctor or chiropractor: These professionals are trained to diagnosis your problem and recommend the proper stretches or refer you to a physical therapist.
- Start slow and do not push yourself: Even if the stretch is correct for you, pushing yourself too fast will only cause problems.
- Try walking: Walking is a simple and low cost way to stretch and strengthen core muscles, just remember to take it easy, find a good pair of shoes and a level walking path.
I love walking because of the many benefits walking provides. After my back injury and with my doctor’s blessing I started walking. Back then I could barely walk one hundred feet without resting. Now I can easily walk three miles with no problems. One other tip; I always walk with a walking stick. I find the stick helps me keep my balance and the weight of the stick tones my upper body, just remember to switch arms one in a while.
I started this article warning you about doing stretches for a bad back. The wrong exercises and/or stretches can cause further pain and injury. Even the right stretches improperly done will cause problems. Start slow, follow your doctor’s orders and try walking and you will relieve your back pain and strengthen your body.