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Getting Relief from Lower Back Pain with Stretches

One of the biggest problem areas I see in my clients is lower back pain. When I ask if they do any stretches, most answer that they don’t. I am guilty of this myself, but it only takes about 10 minutes even just a few times/week. When I do them, I get immediate relief and wonder why I don’t do them more often! Often times, the pain doesn’t originate in the back. It comes from the hamstrings or the hips, so stretching the whole area can relieve some of the tension and pain in the lower back. All you need is a yoga strap, belt or towel. Lie down on a comfortable surface, a yoga mat or a blanket on the floor. You can do these on the bed, you just won’t get as much of a stretch because it is a softer surface. Be sure to listen to your body so as not to strain or pull a muscle.

             Stretch 1

  1.  Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. You may place a towel or small pillow under your head if there is a strain in your neck.
  2.  Slowly lift your right leg and place the strap around your foot. Extend your leg into the air, perpendicular to your body.
  3.  If it is possible, slowly straighten your left leg down along the floor.
  4.  Be sure that the strap isn’t lifting the upper body off of the floor. If it is, slide your hands down the strap, so that you may relax the upper body into the floor.
  5.  Focus on your breathing. Slow, deep inhalations and long, slow exhalations.
  6.  Hold the stretch for a minute or two.

    Stretch 2
  1.  Pass the strap to the right hand, and place the left hand on the left hip to keep the hip on the floor.
  2. Slowly allow the right leg to fall out to the right side.
  3. Be sure not to strain the neck and shoulders, only going far enough to get a nice stretch in the inner thigh and hamstrings. Adjust the strap as needed.
  4. Hold the stretch for a minute or two, taking deep breaths.
  5. Engage the abdominals, and slowly bring the leg back to center.

            Stretch 3

  1.  Pass the strap to the left hand and extend the right arm out in line with the shoulder. Turn your head to the right to look out over the arm.
  2. Slowly allow the right leg to fall out to the left side, bringing the leg across the body.
  3. Try to keep the leg in line with the hip, adjusting the strap as needed.
  4.  If your hips are tight and this feels a strain, you may place a pillow under the right leg for support.
  5.  Hold the stretch for a minute or two, taking deep breaths.
  6.  Engage the abdominals, and slowly bring the leg back to center.
  7.  Remove the strap, and extend both legs down along the floor.
  8.  Take a moment to notice the difference in the right side of your body, compared with the left. Does it feel longer? More relaxed?

Repeat all 3 stretches on the left side.

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