Back pain is a scourge of our modern lifestyle. Hours spent sedentary at the office, combined with sitting in the car or train for long periods and slumping on the sofa in front of the TV or phone after a hard day can lead to the onset of back problems.
Postural changes along with a lack of movement can reduce mobility of the spine and lead to atrophy of the muscles.
One key contributor is a shortening of the muscles in the hips and legs. In a seated position, your Psoas muscle at the front of your hip is in a shortened state.
Over time, this prolonged position can cause the muscles to adaptively shorten, meaning you lose flexibility and range of movement in your hips.
Because the muscle attaches to your spine – this shortening and tightening can cause an imbalance and result in a tilting of your pelvis which in turn changes the position of your spine, causing pressure on the discs and low back muscles.
Stretching the tightened muscles can help release them and improve flexibility to ease the pressure on your back.
Try these simple stretches at the end of the day, holding each for around a minute and making sure you repeat the stretch on both sides.
Put one leg in front of the other and lean into the stretch, feeling it along the front of your hip. Lift your arm, rotate slightly and increase the stretch by gently leaning away
Sit with your back straight and cross one leg over the other. Use your arms to pull your knee up towards your chest and your other hand to angle your leg until you feel the stretch in your buttock.
Use a band or rolled-up towel in the arch of your foot (not the ball of your foot) and keeping your leg straight, gently pull in towards you until you feel the stretch in the back of your thigh.
Lying with one leg bent, extend the arm out to the side, keeping your head looking in the opposite direction. Use the other hand to gently push into the floor and extend the stretch so you feel it in your chest.
If you’ve ever had back pain, you may be familiar with that ‘rusty hinge’ feeling. You know when you feel as if your muscles are conspiring against you to stiffen you up and not let you bend Further than a few degrees? Or when the thought of being stretched on one of those medieval racks becomes ...Reading Time: 2 minutes >
If you spend long periods of time with your legs flexed at the hip (such as when sitting or cycling) and are experiencing stiffness or aching in your back, there is a chance that a tightening of your Psoas muscle (right) could be a contributing factor. The muscle attaches the leg to the back and ...Reading Time: < 1 minute >
Not just for sadists (if you’ve used one, you’ll know what I mean), our cylindrical, sometimes knobbly little friends which you find in the stretching area of the gym are fast becoming a firm favourite of ours. We first came across them at a fitness convention way back in 2013 when we were subject to ...Reading Time: 2 minutes >