Many times back problems stem from compression.
The discs in your lower back may be compressed, which squeezes your disc from between your vertebrae against the nerves around your spine, the sciatic nerve being the main source of attack.
Depending on your posture & movements the disc can slip directly out the back or to either side sometimes even causing problems down either leg, sometimes all the way to the foot!
If this is not dealt with it can progress to complete numbness in your foot & end in paralysis.
…So the big question is what can be done about this?
1) Just Hang Out…
You must decompress the discs.
The best way to do this is to lengthen your spine, either by hanging or pushing down on something so that you can take all the weight off your legs & lower body.
What you want to achieve is a lengthening of your lower back & sacrum (around the base of your spine).
If you are in pain, this movement will immediately decrease it.
As soon as you start to feel lower back discomfort then use this method to decrease & sometimes completely eliminate your pain.
Do this as many times a day as you need. The more pain you are in the more you will need to perform this movement.
2) 1 Simple Pillow Technique…
When you get into bed every night, place a pillow behind your lower back.
What you are trying to achieve is an arch in your lower back so that your sacrum & legs can drop away creating an opening between the vertebrae in your lower back.
Play around with this position you may need to alter it a few times until it is just right for you.
I use this with many clients & it is a very effective method – especially if your pain has been waking you through the night or if you wake up with a numb foot!
Whenever you create an environment for your body to heal it will almost always take it!
The aim is to safely create space between the vertebrae of your spine. When you do this your discs are no longer compressed.
Even a ruptured or herniated disc (where the central portion of the disc has broken through the outer ring) can return to it’s rightful position IF left alone & given space to do so.
You must apply these first 2 techniques throughout your day & through the night to give your body a chance to heal.
Create the space & your discs will return to their central position.
This may take a few days or even weeks, but you will notice improvement along the way & it will eventually get rid of your pain.
3) Have You Reached Your Limits…
There is no escaping it – as you get older your muscles get tighter!
If you train intensely this will compound the tightening muscle situation & could lead to injury or in this case back issues.
The major culprits are tight hamstrings & glutes. These are the muscles at the back of your thigh & in your butt.
As a lot of us have desk jobs these days, or at least spend some portion of our day hunched over a laptop or computer – the problem arises when these muscles are kept in a shortened position for extended periods of time.
When this happens they get stuck at a certain length & start to pull your skeleton into compromised positions when you move.
This can lead to all sorts of injuries, be it hip, knee or foot, but more often than not your back takes the strain until one day it becomes too much!
The solution is to stretch your hamstrings daily.
You see when your hamstrings are tight they will pull your spine into flexion (rounding forward) earlier in your movement pattern than ideal.
Can you touch your toes?!
If you can’t then this is a possible sign of tight hamstring muscles. You must stretch these muscles before it becomes a problem for your back.
On top of reducing the chances of back pain, regular stretching offers many other benefits.
You cannot be at full strength if your muscles are tight!
You cannot move freely if your muscles are tight which could lead to joint injuries, this is a common one in the shoulder, for example when serving in tennis.
If you are tight in certain muscles you will not be able to extend through your spine & open up your shoulder joint when you throw the ball up to serve.
The extra range of motion needed to make a good serve has to come from somewhere & a lot of the time the joint takes a battering.
You cannot have proper flow of energy through your body leading to lethargy & the general feeling of unhappiness.
Another important fact is that you cannot be at full strength if you have tight muscles!
Stretch those muscles to gain more power, strength & endurance.
Bottom line – Stretch daily or suffer the consequences.
4) Yoga Or Bust…
One of the smartest things I have done within the past few years is get into Yoga. Maybe this sounds like a long-winded time consuming task! But it isn’t. I’ll explain how…
I previously had zero Yoga experience. I have been weight training for years. I am well over 30 years old & have noticed my muscles are getting tighter than they used to be! Some days I felt as stiff as a board with as much flexibility as a frozen piece of toffee!!
Here’s what I did – Got online, went to YouTube, typed in Beginners yoga, chose a lesson & followed it.
I did this for 1 month. After 1 month I had my own routine.
It is a mixture of movements & stretches that I have compiled to bring about the best release of muscle tightness.
I have altered a sun salutation routine to suit my needs. That’s it.
You can also do this.
The routine takes between 12 & 20 minutes depending on how long you wish to hold each stretch. Try it out every day for 1 month & notice the difference.
This has been a contributing factor in the better health of my back & spine.
If only I knew this sooner I would have started Yoga years ago! It is a fantastic past time with so many obvious & even more subtle benefits.
Once you start you just can’t stop!! It’s great & I strongly advise you get involved today. Start where you’re at & build up from there.
4) Sky Dive…
One of the best conditioning exercise for your lower back is the Sky Diver or sometimes known as Prone Cobra.
This movement has 3 major benefits:
1) Improves Your Postural Strength.
Through training these muscles you encourage better posture & reduce excess loading of the discs in your lower back, plus wear & tear of your joints & spine.
2) Improves Your Back Strength & Aesthetics.
It strengthens the muscles in your back, upper arms & back of your shoulders.
All of these muscles are associated with posture.
On top of that the more tone you have in these muscles the better your back will look aesthetically.
3) Improves Postural Endurance & Alignment – Decreases Back Pain.
The training position teaches correct spinal alignment
Back pain is mostly to do with alignment. If everything were aligned then you would not have a back problem.
This exercise encourages better alignment therefore reducing your discomfort & pain.
Click Here to see a video of how to perform the Sky Diver.
There are many reasons for back pain.
Your personal story will highlight the main cause of the issue.
Generally, a lot of stretching to specific muscles will stop the pressure being place on your spine & discs.
This must be accompanied with appropriate postural strength training.
The 5 simple techniques I have presented to you within this article are magical if you want to manage your back pain on a day-to-day basis. They work really well at reducing the pain & stopping the issue from getting worse.
I’ve tried & tested many techniques & talked to hundreds of different people from all walks of life in order to come up with these solutions. It amazes me how many people suffer with back pain & are at their wits end as they don’t know what to do about it!
You will need a thorough strength training & stretching program in order to rid yourself of back pain for good.
You will also need to be aware of your movement & lifting patterns, likely for the rest of your life.
For your immediate benefit take the 5 points from this article & implement them today – you will notice an immediate improvement.
To Your Best Health
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