Q: I am having issues with my back and am not able to make it to appointments to get help right now. Can you help me with anything I can do to help myself?
A: Without knowing what may be going on with your back I am only able to give general advice and must also say that you need to see a healthcare professional to be sure that you will not injure yourself further if you try these on your own at home. That being said, these stretches are very helpful for many or most low back issues and we routinely train people on performing them at home. They are great for every reader to learn and practice regularly as long as they are cleared by their healthcare provider.
Stretching is a good way to stay flexible and to reduce the risk of back pain. Here are three easy stretches you can do at home.
The hamstring stretch: Grab a towel and lie on the floor on your back with both legs straight. Bend one at the knee and raise the other straight in the air. Loop the towel over the arch of the raised foot and gently pull on the towel as you push against it with your foot. You should feel the stretch in the back of the thigh. Hold for 30 seconds, relax. Do the other leg and repeat three times per leg.
The piriformis muscle runs through the buttock and plays a part in hip and leg rotation. When this muscle is strained it can contribute to back pain. Again, lie on the floor on your back. Bend one leg at the knee and cross it over the other. Pull gently on the knee and hold for 30 seconds. You should feel the stretching in the buttock. Relax, do the other leg and repeat three times with each.
The back stretch: Lie on your stomach on the floor, palms on the floor in “push-up” position. Slowly push your upper body off the floor while keeping your hips in contact with the floor. Let your back relax. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat three times. Finish this stretch then lie on your back with your knees bent to your chest and rest in that position for 90 seconds.
Try these to see if you notice an improvement. If at any point you increase your pain while performing these, stop and get to a professional. Of course, this is only scratching the surface of what you may need to do, but it is a start until your schedule allows for you to get more help. Or, ion a worst case scenario, the problem forces you to make the time to deal with the back pe=problem more completely. Talk with a chiropractor about other beneficial stretches you can do at home.
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