Stretching and an active lifestyle are often recommended to help reduce back pain and speed the recovery process following an injury. Improving flexibility through stretching is also an excellent way to avoid future injuries. The key is to start slowly and increase the repetitions are you feel stronger.
Passive Stretches: passive stretches help facilitate movement in the affected muscle or joint. Stretches should be held for 15 to 30 seconds, allowing the muscles to gradually relax and lengthen.
Stretches should never cause pain nor should you feel tingling in the extremities. Stop immediately if you experience any discomfort.
Lie on your back with both legs straight. Bend one leg at the knee and extend one leg straight up in the air. Loop a towel over the arch of the lifted foot, and gently pull on the towel as you push against it with your foot; you should feel a stretch in the back of the thigh. Hold 30 seconds. Relax. Repeat 3 times per leg. This stretch may be performed several times per day.
The piriformis muscle runs through the buttock and can contribute to back and leg pain. To stretch this muscle, lie on the back and cross one leg over the other; gently pull the knee toward the chest until a stretch is felt in the buttock area. Hold 30 seconds. Relax. Repeat 3 times. This stretch may be performed several times per day.
Lie on your stomach. Use your arms to push your upper body off the floor. Hold for 30 seconds. Let your back relax and sag. Repeat. This stretch may be performed several times per day.
*warm up your muscles before stretching by walking or doing other gentle movements for 10 to 15 minutes.
*Slowly increase your stretch as you feel your muscles relax. Don’t bounce.
*Stretch slowly and gently only to the point of mild tension, not to the point of pain.
*Don’t hold your breath. Inhale deeply before each stretch and exhale during the stretch.
*Stop immediately if you fell any severe pain.