Let’s talk about simple stretching. Most insidious low back injuries can be avoided simply by incorporating a ten minutes stretch routine into your daily rhythms. Our muscles tighten as we sleep, so this makes, for most of us, mornings the best time. The muscles most often involved are tight erector spinae, and quadratus lumborum muscles (low back muscles), and weak abdominal muscles. Along with these, when radiating pain is involved, the gluteus maximus, biceps femoris, and semitendinosus muscles (glutes and hamstrings) can play a part. A simple daily stretching and strengthening routine can help to prevent those debilitating flare-ups.
You should start by warming up those muscles. The easiest way is to do about 30 seconds of jumping jacks. This will gently warm the muscles up, and begin the stretching process.
Next stretch the hamstrings: a simple toe touch can help get you started, and will also begin stretching the low back as well. If this is too easy, try crossing your right leg over your left to target the left leg, and the leftover right to target the right leg. Once this becomes too easy, you can try it seated while you attempt to touch your nose to your knees. As you become more limber, you’ll need to challenge yourself with higher-level stretches.
Once your hammies are good and lose, let’s move to the low back muscles. Lying flat on your back while pulling the right knee to your chest is a good start. Do the opposite for the left. Once you’ve done 3 sets on each side for 30 seconds, try pulling both knees to your chest and hold for 30 seconds 3 times.
For easy gluteal muscle stretching; you can sit with your right leg crossed over your left thigh, as you pull your right knee to your chest, begin to rotate the left shoulder towards that right knee. You should feel a good stretch I the right glute. Perform the opposite for the left. Remember to do each side 3 times for approximately 30 seconds.
Now that you’re loosened up, let’s target the abs. Abdominal crunches are effective if done correctly. You can also try doing planks, but be careful not to put too much stress on your low back. The number of crunches or time of plank you do will depend entirely on your current state. If it’s been a while since you’ve performed any abdominal workout, you may want to start with doing only 3 sets of ten, or 3 30 second planks. Leg lifts can also help to strengthen the abs, but be careful since they can also strain the low back.
This simple protocol should help reduce those annoying flare-ups in the low back that seem to occur while doing the simplest of tasks.