How To Stretch your Back

The back is involved in almost every twist and movement your body makes, from walking or lifting to picking up your child.  Backs are especially prone to injury, most often from overexertion and improper lifting.  It is important to stretch your back muscles both before and after exertion to reduce the chances of injury.

When stretching, perform each movement slowly and carefully to get the full benefit from each exercise and to keep from overextending any muscles.  You will need a firm exercise mat or carpeting to make the exercises more comfortable.

  1. Start by lying flat on the mat or blanket, with your arms extended out to either side, creating a 90 degree angle between your arms and body.
  2. Bend your knees so they are parallel to your arms and slowly slide them to one side, keeping the knees firmly pressed together and moving them as one unit.
  3. Hold this pose for a count of ten and inhale, with your bent knees touching the ground on the right side of your body and your back twisting to accommodate the movement.
  4. Slowly exhale and bring your knees up slowly and swing them around to the opposite side.  As your knees cross the median point, begin a slow inhale.
  5. Hold this pose for a count of ten and inhale, with your bent knees touching the ground on the right side of your body and your back twisting to accommodate the movement.
  6. Slowly return to the start position and evaluate.  Your back should feel loose and relaxed.

This movement should not cause you any pain in your neck, shoulders or back.  If you feel any pain during the exercise, stop immediately.  You can repeat this sequence of movements as many times as you feel necessary in order to completely stretch your back muscles.

A modified form of this exercise involves bending your knees, bringing them up to your chest and then holding them in a bear hug for a ten to fifteen count.  This movement is a little less effective and may need to be repeated several times to get the best result.  This modified movement is best suited for people who have experienced back injury or have some other limitation which would prevent the exerciser from completing the full range of motion described above.  As with any exercise, please consult a physician if you have any concerns with regard to the exercise in this article.

 

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