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The Best Stretches to Help Low Back Pain and Posture
A few weeks ago, I wrote a Tuesday Training post about rounded shoulders and exercises to prevent and help them. It seemed to go over really well and I got a lot of positive emails and messages about it. I did hear a common message, though: “I have a lot of low back pain, too. What can I do to help it?”
(I am not a doctor so if you have serious back pain, it’s important to see your doctor, chiropractor or physical therapist so they can treat you. See my disclaimer HERE)
Low back pain seems to be a common problem among Americans. So much so that the National Institutes of Health say about 80% of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their life.
80%?! Yikes! So what is causing all this back pain?
Most doctors will agree that poor posture is the main culprit and specifically poor posture when sitting.
Americans spend so many hours a day sitting. This makes our hip flexors and hamstrings very tight and puts an extreme sway in our lower back causing back pain.
Plus the older we get, the more our muscles tighten and shorten. This causes less range of motion in our joints, which leads to poor posture. Not only that, but poor posture and tight muscles puts us more susceptible to muscle, tendon and joint injuries.
Not good, right?
But there is hope!
Postural awareness and stretching tight muscles are the two most important things you can do to manage back pain and prevent it from happening. Dr. Alexander Vaccaro, MD, PhD, and a spine surgeon at The Rothman Institute in Philadelphia agrees and says good posture with proper alignment can alleviate back pain.
Today I will show you yoga poses and stretches you can do to help your low back pain. Stretching and yoga poses are an excellent way to release tension and tightness in the muscles. Stretching these tight muscles improves circulation of blood flow to the muscles and joints. With this circulation brings healing nutrients to our cells and removes waste byproducts. Stretching also keeps your body in better alignment and counteracts tight muscles and muscle imbalances that cause poor posture.
The muscles that we will stretch in the yoga sequence below are the main muscles associated with poor posture and low back pain: hamstrings, hipflexors, glutes and the back muscles.
Remember, if you have serious back pain, it’s important to see a doctor, chiropractor or specialist to help you.
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The Best Stretches to Help Low Back Pain:
Pictures on how to do each stretch are below. Do these in a sequence, one right after the other. Hold each pose for at least 30 seconds. Breathe deeply. Only stretch as far as you are comfortable – you should never stretch to the point that it hurts. Stretch both sides equally. As always, I love hearing from YOU and am happy to answer any questions the best I can so leave a comment down below to share some love or ask a question 🙂
Knees to Chest with a Gentle Back Massage
Lying Hamstring Stretch
Lying Knee Crossover Stretch
Ankle to Knee Seated Pose
Baby Cobra Pose
Cat Cow Pose
After you are done this yoga stretching sequence, stand up and walk around. Take notice how much better your posture is and how much better you are walking after only a few minutes of gentle stretching! Yoga works wonders 🙂
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