The most common scenario for the onset of mechanical low back pain along the belt line is standing for long periods – whether you’re at a kid’s soccer game or standing around the kitchen chatting with friends. A very simple way to go about changing things and alleviating pressure is to engage in the following simple stretches.
For this first stretch, start by internally rotating your toes and creating a force laterally outward with both feet as though you’re trying to slide your feet along the carpet. You’re not going to move your feet, but in doing so you’ll feel more tone through the glutes and rotate the pelvis back. In addition, drive your sternum forward slightly and point your thumbs forward. That will pull you back into more of a neutral position. So we’re changing foot position just a little bit, engaging the glutes, and putting the lower lumbar spine in a position where there’s less bone-on-bone impact.
Another simple way to modify this position is by stepping up on a footstool. This motion rolls the pelvis back. It’s a very passive scenario that works great at the lunch counter, sink, etc. where you can effectively diminish functional loading on the lumbar spine.
From a flexibility standpoint a couple easy stretches that can be implemented on a daily basis are as follows. Keeping the spine relatively straight, drop back as shown, let the head go down. Hold for 20-30 seconds.
As symptoms continue to stabilize we can get a bit more aggressive as far as moving or stretching soft tissues via a gentle stretch like the following, which one can do over the edge of the bed. Tip forward as pictured. If there are more left-sided symptoms, this stretch opens the facet joints up a little bit more as well as putting a greater tug on involved soft tissues which are classically sore around the region.
A slight modification of this stretch could be done in a seated pattern (you can do this seated at work for example). Again gapping open those last lumbar segments, giving yourself a bit of a break, and then tipping forward. When a person is seated you double or triple the mechanical load on the lumbar spine. So those symptoms in conjunction with prolong sitting is not advised.
95% of adults will have some type of mechanical lower back pain in their lifetime. The vast majority of times it’s treatable with conservative methods. By doing these simple stretches on a daily basis and modifying how you’re standing for long period, you can alleviate the vast majority of lower back pain in a conservative fashion.
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