If you are suffering from back pain, you are not alone.
According to Statistics Canada, back pain is among the most common chronic conditions in the Canadian population, with four out of five adults experiencing at least one episode of back pain in their lives. Conditions such as sciatica and degenerative disc disease can be the causes of this musculoskeletal pain, but the cause of back pain is not identified in 85-95 percent of people. One of the best ways to address back problems is to begin stretching.
Factors such as poor muscle tone, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, poor posture, and improper lifting can be culprits contributing to back pain. There is evidence that chronic stress and depression also can be responsible for back pain.
Taking time to look after ourselves is incredibly important. Stretching is an important tool to add to your self-care toolkit for not only physical but mental well-being.
How does stretching help with back pain?
Our spines are made of vertebrae, nerves, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. It is an incredibly complex setup and designed to support the bulk of our body weight.
Stretching keeps muscles loose and ligaments flexible. It reduces stress on our joints and promotes the effective movement of blood and nutrients throughout our bodies. Without stretching, our bodies become stiff, and our movements can be reduced. Things can become pretty painful!
The effect of back pain on everyday life.
Pain can increase to the point where our daily activities become difficult, and we start to lose our range of motion. Back pain can affect our mood, our relationships, and our quality of work. Stretching is an important, but often overlooked part of a fitness routine. Everyone, from athletes to newbies, can benefit.
Stretching can help in the management of low back pain.
For individuals with acute low back pain, stretching is particularly important even though activity is often the last thing we desire when we are physically uncomfortable. Tight muscles can lead to a decrease in our range of motion. When this happens, we become more likely to strain the muscles in our back, which, in turn, can result in back pain and a risk of injury.
While taking time to rest and recover is important, research shows that taking more than a day or two of bed rest is not recommended. Instead, gentle exercises such as stretching or walking can speed up recovery.
Using stretching to maintain flexibility and mobility as you age.
A regular stretching program will gradually increase your flexibility which is an important factor in overall fitness. Flexibility and mobility help us to complete our everyday activities with ease.
As we age, flexibility through stretching helps keep our muscles from shortening. Shorter and more tense muscles reduce the ease of motion, which can cause back pain and other debilitating conditions. Without actively lengthening muscles, they will tighten up. Along with preventing tightness in your muscles, stretching prevents tightness in your joints and nerves improving circulation to all of these areas, reducing aches and pain, and providing comfort to your back.
Start your day right by stretching out your aches and pains in the morning.
Have you ever heard someone say they have to stretch to get their blood flowing, particularly when they get up in the morning? Stretching gets blood and nutrients flowing throughout the body.
This is a wonderful way to prepare yourself for the tasks of the day, leaving you more limber and refreshed. Stretches are a great addition to your morning routine which can best improve overall physical function and boost your energy levels. This is also why stretching is the best way to begin and end other activities, as it helps prevent muscle strain and soreness, and ultimately helps to avoid injury.
Using stretches for back pain relief, even 2-3 times a week, will produce benefits over time.
Starting slowly with a stretching program like WeStretch (click here for iOS and here for Android), will allow you to progress consistently to achieve your mobility goals. If you are new to stretching, or have chronic back pain, increasing your flexibility may take some time. Use small improvements as motivation, and look forward to seeing and feeling a difference.
Our muscles tend to tighten up during times of physical and emotional stress. Think of stretching as not only a way to improve your physical health, but also a way of relaxing the tension which tends to settle in your back. Start with 10- 20 minutes of a stretching routine to clear out body aches.
Picturing your body as flexible and pain free while stretching is encouraging. Patience and consistency is key to achieving increased flexibility, optimum mobility, and greater control over your body. Improving your ease of motion is worth it, and your back will thank you!
Get stretching at home to improve your overall quality of life.
Stretching with a family member or joining a friend in a WeStretch challenge is a great way to have fun with a stretching program. Stretching with the WeStretch app is a physical activity that can be performed at home with no special equipment, it can be enjoyed in the smallest apartments and even on your back deck in the fresh air (great entertainment for your neighbors to watch while they stay at home).
While stretching is great to help manage different types of pain, check out these tips from realtor Kris Lindahl on how to make your home more ergonomical for a proactive stance on back pain.
Stretch with care to prevent injury.
Of course, please speak to your doctor before starting a stretching program, especially if you have had back surgery recently. If you notice muscle pain past the normal tension of stretching, consult your doctor as this could indicate an injury.
Ensure that you are performing stretches to the point of tension, never pain. Do not bounce while stretching and ensure that you are not holding your breath. Inhale before each stretch and exhale after.
Most importantly, incorporate stretching into your daily routine in a way that works for you. This will help ensure that you both enjoy and continue stretching. We Stretch can help make stretching convenient and fun, and provides coaching tailored to your specific needs.
Download WeStretch today to get rid of your back pain!
Updated May 26, 2021
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