Stretches & Exercises Archives

How To Set Your Core

The first thing to learn if you have low back pain or sciatica

The most important thing for me when I learned how to actually put an end to my back pain and sciatica pain was learning how to set more core muscles and keep a neutral spine by retraining my core muscles to work the way they are supposed to. For the unfortunate people who end up with low back injuries, disc herniation, or nerve impingement, often the core muscles become extremely weakened and contribute to a continued cycle of pain.

Learning to set your core is essential if you want to recover from a lower back pain or sciatica problem.

Remember that if you remember anything else from this post. It is the most important thing I will say here, but don’t stop reading now because I’m now going to explain how to start re-training your core muscles to work together to protect the lower back and spine as they are supposed to!

I thought that it would just be easier to record a video than to type out the whole process and hope that people understand it, so here’s a link to the video I made to explain everything I’m going to write about below this embedded video:

What Is A ‘Neutral Spine’?

The easiest way to find a neutral spine position is to lay down on the floor, with your shoulder blades nice and flat with the floor. They shouldn’t hurt or be digging into the floor or uncomfortable while laying on the floor. With your knees bent at a comfortable angle and feet flat on the floor you should be able to get a few fingers between the small arch in the lower back and the floor.

If you can get your whole hand under you have too much of an arch. If you can’t get a couple fingers under and your back is flat to the floor, your spine is curved and your posture is likely quite bad. Try to adjust to a neutral spine and aim to keep it there as much as possible (all day).

Transversus Abdominus Setting

To find the Transversus Abdominus muscle (TrAb) you should lay down as described above, and feel with your fingers about in inch and a half down and inwards from your hip bones. When you tighten that muscle you are tightening the Transversus Abdominus. Practice holding this muscle tight for 10-15 seconds at a time, and repeat up to 10 times a day!

Multifidus Setting

The next muscle group to learn when setting your core is the multifidus which is the muscles used if you were to intentionally arch your back. Tighten these muscles without creating extra arch in your back, just tighten them and figure out which muscles are the right ones. Do the same exercise as with the TrAb and hold for 10-15 seconds, repeat up to 10 times.

Pelvic Floor/Kegals Setting

These muscles are also part of setting your core, the kegal muscles are the ones you would use if you were to cut off the flow of urine while peeing. Do the same exercises as with the Multifidus and TrAb by holding for 10 seconds and repeating up to 10 times.

Now Combine All Three

Now to set your core you should combine all 3 of these muscle groups while holding a neutral spine. This is setting your core. Practice all 3 muscle groups the same way, hold for 10 seconds, and repeat up to 10 times a day.

Remember to try to keep your core set any time you are doing pretty much anything! This will help you start recovering from your back injury after some time and effort.

Now Let’s Toughen You Up A Bit!

Alternating Knee Raises

While laying on the floor with your core set, slowly raise one leg up to 90 degrees while keeping your core set. Make sure there are no twists or changes in your spine while you do this. Slowly lower the leg back down to the ground and then do the other side. Go slow and make sure to keep your core set and your spine neutral. Do each leg 10-15 times, and do 3 sets a day if you can!

Alternating Bent Knee Fall Outs

The last exercise for this post is the bent knee fall out. The idea is the same, keep your core set and slowly let one leg fall out to the side while holding your core muscles tight and not allowing your spine to twist or hips to move. Only go as far as you can and then bring the leg slowly back up, then do the other side. Repeat each side 10-15 times while keeping your core set and spine neutral. Do 3 sets a day of the alternating bent knee fall outs as well as the alternating knee raises and you will be on your way to strengthening your core and fixing your low back pain and sciatica pain!

stretch for lower back pain

Stretches For Lower Back Pain

When you hurt your back, the typical reaction is to take it slow either by at least avoiding strenuous exercises or staying in bed. While there is merit in taking rest, recommended even for short periods of time, this can actually prevent your back from healing completely when done for too long – more than a couple of days. Instead, it would be better if you stretch for lower back pain coupled with other active forms of exercise to rehabilitate the spine.

Safe Stretching

But did you know that you don’t actually have to hurt yourself to do a stretch for low back pain?

Everyone benefits from stretching the soft tissues, the ligaments, muscles, and tendons around your spine, the butt, legs, and back since they are all made to move. Stretching essentially activates muscles, making them move, so they are always in good working condition. If the muscles are limited in their motion it often aggravates back pain, which is never a good thing.

Those with chronic back pain will find that it may take weeks or months of doing a stretch for lower back pain and other exercises for the back in order to mobilize the soft tissues and the spine. However, once increased motion is attained, sustained back pain relief is reported that’s why it really is important to stretch as much as possible. Remember not to over stretch or try to stretch too far or too hard though, and if it causes a sharp increase in pain, STOP immediately!

Stretch For Lower Back Pain

Getting started on doing a stretch for lower back pain? Keep in mind the following:

  • Wear comfortable clothes that will not constrict your movement;
  • Stretching should not be painful so don’t force yourself to do difficult positions;
  • Move into each position slowly and don’t bounce because bouncing causes muscle tears;
  • Do your stretches on a flat surface that is big enough for you to move around in;
  • Hold a stretch for lower back pain for about 20 to 30 seconds to loosen muscles and joints; and
  • Repeat stretches around five to 10 times each.

Hamstring Stretches & Back Pain

The hamstrings are located at the back of each of your thighs. When the hamstrings are tight, this cuts down on pelvic motion which increases pressure on the lower back and corrupts proper posture. Keeping the hamstrings stretched then is one of the ways by which you can alleviate back pain.

It’s a good thing there are different kinds of stretches you can take advantage of, letting you do the stretch for lower back pain that you can easily handle.

Some of the hamstring stretches you can take advantage of include:

  • Standing hamstring stretch – This is a very common technique, but many people with back pain SHOULD NOT DO THIS STRETCH. This is the stretch where you simply bend forward while standing with your arms hanging down and legs straight. Try to reach your toes but don’t strain. Stop when you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. This stretch can cause problems for people with disc problems so I recommend that you use one of the other stretches for hamstrings below.
  • Chair hamstring stretch – This is less straining than the standing hamstring stretch. This stretch will have you sitting on a chair and then placing your legs straight in front on top of another chair. Reach for your toes. You may also choose to do one leg at a time, which is recommended for people with back pain or spinal disc injuries.
  • Towel hamstring stretch – As one of the mildest stretch for lower back pain you can take advantage of, you can start things off by lying on the floor. Get a towel and then pull up a leg and straighten it out by wrapping the towel behind your foot. Like the chair hamstring stretch, you can also do one leg at a time.

Just make sure you follow all instructions for whatever stretch you may be interested in and you will be just fine. You are doing a stretch after all to address lower back pain. Doing a stretch improperly puts you at risk of hurting yourself, which could potentially cause you more harm than the initial back pain you had.

If you want to learn how to do these and other stretches safely, I highly recommend the Safe Stretching DVD from the Stretching Institute.

Relieve Hip Pain

Relieve Hip Pain

When you have regular hip pains from arthritis-related problems, it can make doing everything from walking to climbing the stairs and bending over a not so easy chore, but hey, it doesn’t have to alter your life that way. But do you know whats causing your hip pain?

It is important to be knowledgeable enough about your condition before jumpstarting to the how to relieve hip pain part of the process. Ask your doctor, if your pain is caused by a hip injury, rest and ice therapy is the best initial approach to relieve hip pain; or light exercise such as walking, biking, swimming, or why not a few hip flexor stretches.

Relieve Hip Pain

Hip pain may slow you down, but it doesn’t have to make life impossible. Follow these steps to stay on the go, relieve hip pain, and keep daily hip pain from controlling your life. There are a lot of ways to relieve hip pain and if you are a sports enthusiast, figure-conscious, or simply a wellness-minded person, you’ll enjoy the entire how to relieve hip pain warm up exercises and stretches procedures.

How to Relieve Hip Pain Almost Effortlessly but Enjoyably Fun:

  • Start your day with exercise.
  • Enroll to a yoga class.
  • Stretch your muscles regularly.
  • Strengthen inner and outer thighs through ball exercises.
  • Work out in water through swimming lapses and water aerobics.
  • Avoid strenuous physical activities such as running and jumping.

Hip Stretches that Helps Relieve Hip Pain

  • Hip Extension

While standing, slowly lift one foot and swing leg backward.Hold for 2 to 3 seconds and return the foot to the starting position.Repeat with other leg and do 10 repetitions.

  • Hip Abduction

This exercise can also be tried when lying down. Stand straight and keep hips, knees and feet pointing forward. While keeping the knee straight, lift one leg out to the side. Slowly lower leg back to the starting position. Repeat with other leg and do 10 repetitions.

  • Standing Knee Raise

Lift one leg toward chest, not going higher than the waist. Hold for 2 to 3 seconds. Lower the leg.Repeat with the other leg and do 10 repetitions.

  • Straight Leg Raise

Lie on back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Straighten one leg and raise it 1 to 2 feet off the floor. Keep thigh muscles tight and do not bend knee. Hold for 10 seconds and then repeat with the other leg. Do 10 repetitions.

  • Wall Slide

Stand upright with back to the wall keeping feet at shoulder width. Bend knees and slowly slide down the wall until knees are bent at a 45 degree angle – or at a comfortable angle, but not greater than 45 degrees. Hold for 5 seconds. Slowly slide back up the wall. Repeat 5 times.

Hip Flexor Stretch Exercises that Relieve Hip Pain

  • Standing

Bend one leg behind you so that you can grasp it at the ankle. While holding the ankle, slowly lower thigh to straighten the hip as much as possible. If the thigh is tight the leg will tend to stick out to the side and may be difficult to straighten. If this happens, reduce the amount of stretching so that the pull feels comfortable.

Maintain proper posture. Do not arch back unnaturally or move abdominal muscles forward. Hold the stretch until the pulling sensation lessens, and then repeat with the other leg.

  • Lying Down

Place a pillow at the end of the bed and sit on it. Lower yourself onto your back and bring both knees toward the chest. DO NOT let both legs hang off the edge of the bed. Hold one knee to the chest while slowly lowering the other leg down off the edge of the bed.

As you feel the muscles pull in the lowered leg, make sure that you hold the raised knee firmly so that the back stays flat. Let the lowered knee relax and drop as far as is comfortable. Maintain that position for a couple of seconds. Bring the lowered leg back up to the chest and repeat the exercise with the opposite leg.

-> CLICK HERE If You Want To Learn How To Stretch Safely <-

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