Sore lower backs are a reoccurring issue that comes up on a regular basis. I see it in my new clients when they come to train with me and I hear it from those of you that are travelling.
No one wants to be in pain. Its awful, its depressing and debilitating, but it doesn’t have to be. Regular stretching, mobilisation and strength exercises can help a whole lot more than pain killers.
So what can you do to avoid the pain killers?
Most people know to take regular breaks when they are driving. It’s a chance to get out of the car to help with fatigue issues, grab something to eat, a bathroom visit, but it can also be your opportunity to do a few stretches, work on your mobility and activate some of your postural muscles in your neck, shoulders and back to help relieve discomfort.
Once you have arrived at your destination and set up camp, you again have another opportunity to work on relieving any pain you have with these stretches. Its a great idea to get into the habit of stretching every night. This will help you improve your spinal mobility and flexibility and reduce long term pain by enabling postural corrections and reducing the overcompensatory effects that the body uses to avoid pain. If however you do experience pain, then you should stop and seek further advise from allied health professionals.
These exercises are used to:
- Adjust your sacroiliac joint (which is important for pelvic stability)
- Lengthen the muscles in the lower back
- Stretch the piriformis (the muscle that often creates sciatica type symptoms)
- Create space between the disc in your spine.
Sacroiliac stretch – reduces the tension in the muscles that originates at the sacrum (or hip bones). This stretch reduces the pressure on the joint and lower back.
Cat/Cow- Stretches the spine, hips, back and core muscles. It also opens the chest and lungs and allows for easier breathing.
Glute Stretch (seated)- Your glutes support movement and give you balance and when tight other parts of your body, such as your back compensate, so they need to be working properly.
Hip Flexor stretch – Important to counterbalance prolonged hip flexion of sitting for hours when traveling. By stretching these muscles it allows the hips to extend fully and avoid the lower back from compensating and giving you pain.
Cobra Stretch – Stretches the muscles in the shoulders chest and abdominals which helps correct posture imbalances and decreases the stiffness in the lower back.
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