Back pain affects a lot of people every day. The biggest thing that wreaks havoc on our spines is our posture, specifically poor posture. There are certainly a lot of other things that can add stress to our spine every day but the biggest culprit today is posture. See our spines move in multiple planes on a regular basis, so the ability to have true freedom of movement lies not just in posture aka alignment but in the flexibility and strength of the spine as well. In order to gain strength in your spine, you need to feel freedom in your spine with proper alignment and flexibility. Incorporating stretches into your day can help maximize a freer spine for ultimate spine health.
Try out these four stretches today –
- Sitting on the ground with your legs straight out in front of your and sitting up tall, open your legs into a V position. You don’t need to open them too wide, but at least wider than your body is a good start.
- Bringing your right arm down to the ground inside of your right leg (forearm or more on the ground if possible), bend to the right allowing your left arm to reach up and over your head.
- Focus on lengthening your hip and fingertips as far from each other as possible.
- Try not to rotate your spine.
- There is no need to try and stretch as far as you can, try to stretch as far as you can to be able to hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds.
- Then do the same on the other side.
- Feel free to go back and forth a few times to achieve a great stretch for the side or sagittal plane.
Laying Rotational Stretch
- Lie down on your back and move your hips slightly to the left. This actually keeps your spine aligned.
- Draw your left knee into your chest and take it over toward your right shoulder with your right hand.
- Pressing down gently with your right hand on your knee you should feel a stretch along the back. Encourage your left hip to stack on top of the right hip while trying to keep both shoulders on the ground.
- Reach your left arm out to the side with palm to ceiling and turn your focus toward that hand.
- After you have held this stretch for at least 30 seconds, perform the same stretch with the other leg.
Seated Hamstring Stretch
- As the first stretch, sit with your legs straight out in front of you.
- Use a strap, belt or towel and wrap it behind your feet with each end in each hand and lean forward. When you lean forward, you want to lead with your chest and keep a flat back.
- Press your thigh bones downward to keep your legs straight. If you can’t keep your legs straight, then a slight bend in the knees is fine. You will work up to straight legs.
- Go ahead and grab each butt cheek to open them up a bit to create some more grounding in your seat.
- Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, rest and then hold for a few more times.
Forward Fold Stretch
If the seated hamstring stretch is pretty ‘easy’ for you to get into aka you can keep your knees straight and fold quite a bit forward, then also try the forward fold stretch. If your knees are still bending in the seated hamstring stretch then just work on the three stretches above for a while before moving onto this one.
- Start again like the first stretch. This time let your torso fold forward over your legs. Again you will want to lead with the chest and keep a flat back.
- You can hold on to your feet if you have the flexibility or continue to use the strap, belt or towel.
- Lengthen the crown of your head toward your feet and hug your abdominals toward your spine to help create more length from head to tailbone.
- Hold this stretch for at least 30 seconds while taking big breaths. Rest and repeat a few more times.