Stretching

When it comes to stretching, it is a general guideline to not stretch until it hurts but to breathe deeply and remain relaxed. Achieving the maximum burn humanly possible is an 'all or nothing' approach that is unhelpful and destructive! This is often when muscle or tendon damage occurs.

Don't do the hamstring stretch where you sit on the floor with straight legs and pull yourself forward, or with one leg up on a bar and leaning into you, holding your foot and pulling yourself forward. Any stretch where you touch your toes and pull yourself towards your toes is REALLY bad for your back, whether you are sitting or standing. You invariably curve your whole back forwards and put massive pressure on one side of the lower back vertebrae (the outside or back side, as opposed to the inside or front side). Whenever you do this, the body's reaction is to compensate and stiffen the muscles down the hamstrings and the back, so you are fighting against the body's natural instinctive response. 

You need to isolate the hamstring, and not involve the back, but keeping it straight and happy. Instead, lie on your back and bring your straightened leg back with a towel, or alternatively put your leg out in front of you on the floor, extended, with the foot pointing forward, and lean forwards into it with a straight back of course. If you do the stretch with a towel, then it is clearly possible to hyperextend the knee joint backwards if one exerts too much pressure, so when one is performing more advanced stretches in this fashion, one may wish to put a slight bend in the leg to ensure this does not occur. One wants a ever so slight bend in the knee to avoid stretching a straight leg to hyperextension of the joint.

So in general, try to perform regular and gentle stretches, ensuring that your back is straight throughout, and that you are maintaining the curve in your lower back throughout. Take it gently and focus on your breathing and relaxing into the stretch. Analyze the stretch and think about whether it is stressing your spine or neck or not.  

  • Back Stretching - Back Strengthening And Stretching Exercises For Everyone
     

    Back Stretching - Back Strengthening And Stretching Exercises For Everyone
    Surprisingly there are stretching exercises in this book that not only strengthens your spine but tightens your butt and abdominal muscles at the same time! quotes

    In Back Stretching - Back Strengthening And Stretching Exercises For Everyone, I explain why back pain is so common in modern society. More importantly though, I will show you a series of back stretching and strengthening exercises which can bring you relief.
    Back Stretching - Back Strengthening And Stretching Exercises For Everyone

  • Save Your Lower Back - Release, Strengthen, Stretch with Annette Fletcher
     

    Save Your Lower Back - Release, Strengthen, Stretch with Annette Fletcher
    Along with going to the gym, I'm going to use this DVD regularly, because it really makes me feel fabulous, and you can feel fabulous at any age!   quotes

    In the Save Your Lower Back video program, New York City Pilates instructor and dancer Annette Fletcher focuses on the two major areas affected by a sedentary lifestyle and poor postural and movement habits: The lower back and hips. While chiropractic adjustments and massage therapy are excellent for the temporary relief of pain and discomfort caused by long hours at the desk or driving, the only permanent method of preventing future problems is to strengthen your muscles and train them to support your spine, hip bones, and joints in the alignment necessary to keep your posture straight, and to stretch your muscles to extend your range of motion through simple everyday exercises. So even if you regularly invest in chiropractic adjustments and massage, you need to exercise on your own to strengthen and condition the muscles that keep your core strong, in order to maintain the benefits of these adjustments.
    Save Your Lower Back - Release, Strengthen, Stretch with Annette Fletcher

 

Back Magic Multi-Level Adjustable Back Stretching Device
Back Magic Multi-Level Adjustable Back Stretching Device \

The Back Magic is a small lightweight multi-level back stretching devise that helps you relax and immediately relieves back pain due to tight muscles, excessive flexion, and poor spinal alignment. Just lie down and relax for five minutes twice a day. The Back Magic is recommended and used by Physicians, Chiropractors, and Professional Athletes.

Back Magic Multi-Level Adjustable Back Stretching Device

This helped me relieve pain in my lower back and just feels good to use.

Stretch Mate Orthopedic Back Stretcher
Stretch Mate Orthopedic Back Stretcher

Just lie down, relax and let the Stretch Mate help you maintain a healthy back.   

Stretch Mate Orthopedic Back Stretcher

I have lower back problems and my back gets very tight and this is great to stretch it out and keep me going.

Arched Back Stretcher
Arched Back Stretcher

Gently relieves pressure, helps relieve aches and pains, increases flexibility, improves posture, provide firm, yet comfortable support

North American Healthcare JB4866 Arched Back Stretcher

I highly recommend this device to anyone who suffers from chronic back pain like me.