With desk jobs unavoidable the majority of us sit at a desk for long periods of time. Experts estimate that up to 80% of the population will experience back pain at some time in their lives. Did you know Back pain accounts for more than 264 million lost workdays in one year?
So what can we do to avoid the pain and discomfort? You may not know that lower back pain can be a sign of tightness in the glutes or hamstrings. The good news is, stretching can help to reduce pain and tension.
What are the common causes of back pain?
Lifestyle factors often play a large part in lower back pain. As I previously mentioned, sitting for a long period of time (especially with poor posture) and a weak core can lead to pain. Lower back pain is a common problem and can be caused by many things. However, the following stretches can help to reduce the pain and strengthen the muscles in your lower back.
Try to include these stretches into your morning routine, or perform them when you are noticing stiffness in your lower back. Scroll down to see our step-by-step instructions on how to perform each stretch.
1. The Cat-cow Stretch
The cat-cow is a great stretch which targets your shoulders, chest and neck whilst waking up the spine.
- Start on all fours in the tabletop position. Ensure your hands are directly under your shoulders and your knees are directly under your hips.
- Inhale and arch your back towards the sky and hold. Then exhale and curl your spine the opposite way, tilting your head towards the sky.
- Continue this movement 3-5 times.
2. Child’s Pose
The child’s pose is a traditional yoga pose which is great for releasing tight glutes and hamstrings. It will also help to relieve tension along your neck, shoulders and spine.
- Start with your hands and knees on the ground (the tabletop position). Sink your hips back towards your heels and rest your stomach on your thighs.
- Stretch your hands out in front of you so you feel a stretch along your latissimus dorsi (lats).
- Focus on breathing deeply and relaxing any areas of tightness or tension. Hold this pose for 30 seconds – 1 minute.
3. Bird Dog
- Start in the tabletop position and raise your right leg and left arm away from each other.
- Keeping your hips and shoulders parallel to the ground, lengthen through your spin whilst gazing at the floor.
- Hold this position for a few seconds, lower to the floor and repeat on the opposite side.
4. Pigeon Stretch
- Begin in the tabletop position and bring your right knee forward towards your right wrist. Move your right ankle so that it sits in front of your left hip without feeling any discomfort in your right knee.
- Slide your left leg back away from your body, now walk your hands forward and lower your upper body towards the floor. Rest your forearms and forehead on the ground.
- Once again, whilst breathing deeply, concentrate on releasing any tension in your right glute. Stay for 5 breaths or longer and then return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side.
5. Seated Spinal Twist
The spinal twist works your back, hips and glutes. It increases the mobility in your spine whilst stretching your neck, shoulders and abdominal.
- Start by sitting with both legs out in front of you. Bend your right knee and place your right foot to the outside of your left thigh. Now start to twist to your right.
- Place your right hand behind you for support and then with your left arm hug your knee. Hold this pose for up to a minute and repeat on the other side.
6. Knee-To-Chest Stretch
This stretch relaxes your hips, thighs, and glutes while promoting overall relaxation.
- Start by lying on your back with both legs out straight. Next, draw your right knee in towards your chest and hold above you shinbone. Lengthen your spine to avoid lifting of the hips.
- Breathe deeply to release any tension and hold for 1-3 minutes. Repeat on the opposite side.
Final Tips To Reduce Lower Back Pain
The above stretches will help, but the following tips will also help to avoid back pain.
- When sitting try not to slouch, ensure your posture is correct.
- Exercise, ensuring that you are working and moving your body on a regular basis to help strengthen the muscles which support your spine.
- Work your core. Having a strong core helps you to stabilise the muscles around your spine. This will also help to maintain better posture.
- Incorporate more stretching into your routine. Make sure you are also stretching the whole body after a workout.
If you are dealing with severe back pain, stretching may not be the answer. Do book an appointment with your GP to address the problem safely.
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