Salvere Blog: Ahh — Stretch for that Aching Back

Last month, we discussed the correlation between tight hips and low back pain. Specifically, we looked at how tight hip flexors can exert a forward tug on the pelvis which causes a similar pull on the low back, and voila, back pain. Image your pelvis is like a cereal bowl full of milk and cereal.  Optimally, we want everything to stay in the bowl by keeping it level.  Tight hip flexors could cause the milk and cereal to spill out the front by tipping the bowl forward.

For those of you who enjoy a visual of the actual muscles involved:

Hip-Flexor diagram

In the weeks to come, we’ll offer a few quick and easy exercises you can do to alleviate and prevent low back pain caused from tight hip muscles. The first exercise can be done before you even get out of bed in the morning!

Place a firm blanket or pillow toward the edge of your bed and have a seat on it. Your legs should be hanging off the bed with the edge of the bed touching the back of your knees. Slowly lower yourself onto your back. Draw both knees into your chest. Gently press your low back into the blanket or pillow. This will prevent you from overarching your back.

Keeping the right knee drawn-in toward your chest, extend the left leg toward the floor, over the edge of the bed. You will soon start to feel a stretch across the top of the thigh near the hip of the left leg. Be sure to keep the other leg bent in order to keep your low back pressing toward the bed and to protect your low back. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds.  To feel the stretch more, scoot yourself a little so the knee hangs a little more off the edge of the bed.  Repeat same technique switching legs.

Here’s a visual of the stretching position, imagining the table as the end of the bed:

supinehipflexor-edge of bed

Remember, this is only one stretch of many and should not cause pain. If so, it might not be appropriate for you.  As always, pay attention to your body and how things feel, specific to YOU.

by Lynne Olsen , trainer at Salvere Health and Fitness. If you’d like to contact Lynne, email her at LynneO@SalvereHealthAndFitness.com or call her at (443) 540-7564.

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