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Stretch it out! Relieve Low Back Pain, Hip Pain, and Sciatica Symptoms

PIRIFORMIS STRETCH

PIRIFORMIS STRETCH

Here are some of Dr. B’s favorite muscles to target to relieve Low Back Pain, Hip Pain and Sciatica Symptoms:

Hamstring Stretch

From a wider-leg standing position, hinge forward at your hips without rounding your spine. Breath deep, engage your core muscles while bending forward as if to touch your toes. You should feel a great stretch along the back of your thighs without putting too much strain on your lower back. Alternatively, lay on your back with your butt up against a wall. Slowly walk your feet up the wall and make the knee as straight as you can. It is important to stretch gradually and not push so hard you strain the muscle.

Gluteal Stretch

Your gluteal muscles might be super tight from standing all day long or perhaps they have stopped working from sitting all day long. Either way, they need a good stretch. Stretch and relax these muscles by lying on your back with both knees bent and your lower back flattened to the floor. Draw one knee to your chest, while you keep the other foot on the floor. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat with your other leg.

Piriformis Stretch

The piriformis muscle is located deeper behind the gluteal muscles. When it spasms it can cause pain your buttocks and irritate the sciatic nerve, triggering radiating pain down your leg. Lie on your back with both feet flat to the floor and knees bent. Place your right ankle on your left knee. Grab your left thigh and pull the left leg toward your chest while pushing your right knee slightly away from you. Release and repeat on the other side.

Hip Flexor Stretch

Your hip flexors are a group of muscles that connect your pelvis, thigh and deep abdomen at your lumbar spine. These are some of the most powerful muscles in your body, responsible for flexing your hip and raising your leg in front of you when you climb stairs. Sitting for long periods of time cause these hip flexor muscles to tighten and affect your lower back.

Kneel with one leg so that your left knee is touching the ground with your left foot behind you. Keep the right leg/knee in front of you with the right foot flat on the floor and a 90 degree bend in the right knee. (Classic wedding proposal kneeling or “genuflecting”) Now reach your left arm up above your head while slightly extending your full spine backwards. You should feel the stretch deep in your left lower abdomen and left upper thigh. Breath deep and repeat with the opposite side.

Quadriceps Stretch

If you have tight quads, they will affect the tilt of your pelvis and therefore your lower back. Stand on just your left leg and bend your right knee until your heel touches your right buttocks. Keep your knees together and stand tall to feel a great quad stretch along the front and top of your thigh and lap area. Repeat with the opposite side.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Diaphragmatic breathing techniques are a good way to stabilize your back and naturally add traction to your spine. Sit at the edge of your chair and find length in your spine, sitting tall. Count to four slowly as you inhale, pause for four seconds, and exhale for a count of four. When you inhale, allow your lower belly to hang forward and try to expand your lower abdomen in all four directions around you. Imaging air filling your lungs as if it were water filling a pitcher from the bottom to the top. When you exhale, imagine pushing the energy from your lungs into the lower abdomen about four fingers below the navel and about 2 inches deep into your core.

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