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Sometimes a few moments of repose can alleviate low back tension.
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Sitting all day work and in the car can make your lower back feel like one giant knot. Although low back tension can be caused by muscle stiffness or nerve compression along the spine or hips, it's also often triggered by stress and emotions. According to psychologist William W. Deardorff, low back tension can be caused by tension myositis syndrome, or TMS, in which stress and negative emotions affect your nervous system. The theory describes changes that can cause a reduced blood flow to your soft tissues, ligaments, tendons and nerves in your back, which leads to tension and pain. Instead of masking your tension with medications, get up and do some exercises to improve blood flow and de-stress your mind.
Basic Sun Salutation1.
Start with Mountain Pose by standing with your feet together with your spine straight and should shoulders down and away from your ears. Put your hands by your sides with your palms facing forward. Inhale and raise your arms out to your sides and over your head. Do not shrug your shoulders.
Exhale as you bend your knees and lower your body like you're sitting on a chair. Keep your arms overhead and your palms facing each other. Maintain the straight back. Inhale deeply and exhale as you bend your torso forward at your hips, bringing your hands down to the floor. Hold this position for one deep breath as you relax your lower back.3.
Inhale and push your feet into the floor with your knees slightly bent as you raise your torso up and your arms overhead to assume Tall Mountain Pose. Exhale as you lower your arms back to Mountain Pose. Repeat the exercise two to three more times.
Flexion and Extension1.
Lie on the floor on the right side of your body, and bring your left knee toward your ribs so that your left hip is bent at about 90 degrees. Keep your right leg straight. Place one firm cushion or a similar object beneath your left knee and one beneath your head. Extend your arms in front of your chest with your right arm on the floor and your left arm resting across your chest.2.
Take a deep breath, and exhale slowly as you turn your torso to your left and lift your left arm over your body. Push against the cushion with your left knee as you rotate your body until your left shoulder is resting on the floor. Reach upward with your right hand, and reach to your left with your left hand and arm on the floor. Hold this position for one deep breath, and return to the starting position. Perform two sets five to six times per side.3.
Kneel on the floor on your hands and knees with your hands beneath your shoulders and your knees below your hip joints. Exhale as you lift your buttocks into the air and straighten your legs as much as you can, pushing against the floor with your hands. Turn your feet slightly toward each other. Hold this position for five to six deep breaths. Bring your ribs slightly closer to your thighs with each breath. Repeat this exercise two to three times.
- Two firm cushions
- Increasing upper spine and hip mobility can also alleviate lower back tension. When these two parts of your body lack adequate mobility, your lower back can compensate by reducing its stability and increasing its own mobility, says physical therapist Gray Cook. The unstable state of your lower back can cause excessive mechanical stress upon the lower spine, which can lead to various types of lower back disorders and pain.
- Take a five-minute movement break by walking or doing these exercises every half hour that you sit at work or at home.
- Treat yourself to a professional therapeutic massage to enhance relaxation and alleviate stress.
- See your physician or health-care provider immediately if you experience extreme low back pain.
- Take a yoga or meditation class with a qualified instructor before you attempt these exercises on your own if you're new to these practices.