Today, I am excited to bring you a guest article from Dr. Brent Wells, D.C. Dr. Wells believes in treating people the way he would want to be treated. Born and raised in Southern California, Dr. Wells received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Nevada and his Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine degree from Western States Chiropractic College. He, his wife Coni, and their three children live in and enjoy the great outdoors in Alaska. Dr. Wells volunteers for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Foundation and can be found hiking or rollerblading when he isn’t playing his guitar. Learn more at https://betterhealthalaska.com/.
The old saying that everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die can also apply to back pain; everyone wants a pain-free back, but no one wants to do the work!
This is understandable. We often take certain parts of our bodies for granted until they cause us pain, such as our knees, feet, hands, and back.
Our backs are often a Catch 22 situation- we don’t exercise or stretch the muscles necessary to keep them strong, so they end up causing pain, but we don’t want to exercise or stretch when our back hurts!
Most people turn to over the counter pain medications or even prescription pain killers. We use heat packs, hot baths, ice packs, analgesic creams and lotions, and still, we have back pain.
While there is no denying that certain health problems, such as arthritis or degenerative disc disease, cause back pain that could never have been avoided through simple diet and exercise. That isn’t to say, however, that you must resort to addictive pain medication nor do you need to “learn to live with it.”
Surprising Solutions to Back Pain
Yes, it might seem impossible to even think about stretching when your back hurts, but we aren’t talking about putting yourself through some torturous and vigorous exercise program. Easy and gentle stretches, such as the ones performed in tai chi, are even recommended by the Harvard School of Health.
Stretching is a simple one-two punch when it comes to fighting back pain. If you have back pain now, stretching can offer nearly instant pain relief. By adding stretching into your daily routine, you can prevent future back pain. It’s a win-win situation everyone can agree on!
Banish Back Pain at Home
If the thought of finding a tai chi class or doing anything that would force you to leave the house sounds to painful to consider, the following 5 simple stretches can have you feeling better and with less back pain in a matter of minutes.
Stretch #1- Torso Rotation
This stretches and relaxes the muscles attached to the side of the spine. Done regularly, this improves flexibility.
Place a yoga mat on the floor and lie down flat on your back, knees bent. Keeping your upper back and shoulders flat on the floor, rotate the top leg towards the floor until you feel a stretch. Don’t stretch too far! Breathe and hold for a count of 5. Return to start and repeat with the other leg. Do this for each side a minimum of 5 times, working up to 10 stretches per leg.
Stretch #2- The Camel/Cat
This is always a favorite yoga pose because it feels so darn good! This stretch strengthens both the abdominal and back muscles, as well as lengthening the spine.
Put a mat on the floor and add a folded towel for your knees if necessary. Start on all fours, like a cat, and arch your back up towards the ceiling. Your head will naturally move downwards. Pull your abdomen in and hold for a count of 5. Return to start, then repeat. Do this exercise 10 times and don’t forget to breath.
Stretch #3- Super Hamstring Stretch
When the big muscles on the back of the thighs, called the hamstrings, get tight from too much sitting, they pull the pelvis out of place, causing lower back pain. This is one of the fastest stretches to stop back pain fast!
Sit on the floor with one leg in front of you and the other one bent towards your thigh. Keep your back flat and lean forward from the hip until you feel that stretch behind the thigh. Don’t stretch too hard! Hold for 10 to 15 seconds, then repeat with the other leg. Repeat this exercise 5 times for each leg. If you sit quite a bit or if you find you can’t stretch very far, do this stretch 3 times a day. If this stretch is really painful, try taking a warm bath first to help relax the muscles.
Stretch #4- Child’s Pose
This popular yoga stretch is super relaxing, and you can do it almost anywhere. This pose will stretch all the muscles in your lower back and shoulders. Take your time and don’t rush through this.
Begin in a kneeling position (use a folded towel if your knees hurt). Bring your feet together and open up your knees to about hip width. Bend down at the waist and put your arms out in front of you, palms flat on the floor. Breathe deeply and let your body relax into the pose. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds. You can repeat this exercise as many times as you like.
Stretch #5- Piriformis Stretch
If you have sciatica pain, this one is a real lifesaver. This exercise can be done on the floor or even in bed, but many people find that doing it from a sitting position is easiest in the beginning.
Sit on a chair and cross your leg by putting the ankle of one leg on top of the knee of the opposite leg. Using your hand, gently push on the inside of the knee that is crossed. You will feel a pull deep in the buttock. Press and hold for a count of 15, then switch legs. Repeat this exercise as often as you like for best results.
Another Point to Consider
If your back is a constant source of pain and you wonder if there isn’t more you could be/should be doing, perhaps it’s time to consider seeing your local chiropractor. An expert in everything musculoskeletal, a highly trained specialist, such as Better Health Chiropractor Wasilla, can not only diagnose the source of your pain, but they can set up a treatment plan to help reduce or eliminate back pain for good.
Spinal adjustments, cold laser therapy, ultrasound, and chiropractic massage are just a few of the treatments that can not only stop back pain but can make you feel on top of the world once more!
About Fitness for Health:
To learn how Fitness for Health can help you improve your mind-body connection utilizing state-of-the-art fitness technology, visit www.FitnessForHealth.org or call 301-231-7138.