Stretches for Back Pain

I’ve been suffering from constant back pain for two months now. I’ve had a couple of whole-body massages and they really helped. But the pain would return a few days later so I figured I must be doing something wrong. I made an appointment to see a physical therapist because I just could not tolerate it anymore. Last week was the first session and last Sunday was the follow-up.

Thea was wonderful. She gave me a lot of really helpful tips, taught me exactly what stretches should I do to ease the pain on specific areas of my back and, most importantly, she told me what not to do.

Here are the things what she told me to help those who suffer from back pain and don’t have easy access to PTs:

  • Back pain is common for people who have desk jobs because, when one sits, the spine is not curved to its natural shape and this puts a lot of pressure on the lower back. The discs between our backbones get strained and, if not corrected in time, could possibly result in disc herniation (aka slipped disc).
  • Use a lumbar roll like this McKenzie D-section on your chair. This should rest exactly where your lower back curves as you sit. This promotes normal alignment.

  • Get up from your chair and walk a bit (talk to your colleague instead of calling, do errands, etc.) once every hour.
  • Do these useful computer and desk stretches while working. It’ll only take a few minutes

  • To help loosen your neck, do this neck stretch. Do the back-and-forth chin stretch 10 times and do the backwards stretch just 1-2 times after that. It’s better if you do this several times throughout the day. Your stiff neck will surely feel much better.

  • Make sure your workstation is set up correctly. When you sit, your knees should be slightly lower than your hips to prevent straining your lower back. Feet should touch the floor. Sit up straight and, if you have one, use your lumbar roll. The keyboard should be at the same height as your elbows.

  • Don’t hold the phone between your neck and shoulder. This is bad bad bad!
  • To relieve and prevent lower back pain, do 3 sets of these stretches twice a day on an exercise mat:
    • Lay on your back and raise your legs with your feet in the air. Put one foot over the other. Hold your legs just above the back of your knees. Start moving your knees towards your head… and roll back. The lower back should lift slightly but don’t lift or strain your neck. Roll for one minute as fast as you can.
    • Lay on your back with your knees bent upwards. Lift your hips and place a 3-inch thick book or a rolled-up towel beneath you, just below your lower back. Stretch your legs down as far as you can. At the same time, stretch your arms above your head. Maintain this position for one minute.
  • Right after the above stretches, lay on your back with your legs bent towards your right. Your hips should be be facing the same direction. Turn your upper body to the opposite side and stretch your arms that way, as if you’re reaching for something. Keep the position of your knees and hips and count to 10. Do the same stretch with your legs facing your left.
  • For mid/side back pain, lay on your back with a rolled-up towel placed just above the center of your back. Hold a stick with your hands and lift it above your head and back. Do this 10 times. Move the towel 2-3 inches upwards and do the same stretch with the stick 10 times. Move the towel a few inches upwards until it rests beneath the topmost part of your back below the neck and do the same stretch 10 more times.

Hope this helps you as much as it helped me.

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