As a chiropractor I am quite often asked about what stretches would benefit the body, especially the lower back. I often see many people who complain of low back stiffness or tightness, usually during a state of extreme pain and discomfort. Usually it is a case of not taking care of their body and spine.
As a chiropractor, I adjust the spine to restore function back into the nervous system. The nervous system governs every other system of the body, hence, it is no surprise how powerful one adjustment can affect the rest of the body.
Everyday we are faced with stresses – physical, emotional and chemical. Our bodies are able to compensate and respond to these stresses that can cause tightness, weakness, and over time, degeneration, but do need help to keep functioning healthily.
A good way to avoid problems is to look after yourself and I find stretching a great proactive way of staying healthy.
How to stretch your lower back
A stretch that will facilitate flexibility and mobility within the lower back – which is often prone to tightness – is called ‘wind removing pose’ or Pavanamuktasana. It is a great stretch to do before you get out of bed.
Lying on your back, bring one knee to your chest, interlock your fingers just below your knee. Lower your chin down, so the neck is in a neutral position, and push your tailbone and lower back into the ground or mattress. You should feel the stretch along the length of your body, your back, hip joint and spine. Inhale and exhale three times. Release the leg down, and proceed with the opposite leg.
This posture massages the organs of the abdomen, stimulating the digestive system, and the reproductive system. It improves the integrity of the hip acetabulum, and increases the hip flexor flexibility. It alleviates sluggishness, by releasing toxins from the body, and opening up the solar plexus.
Spend a few minutes each morning doing this stretch and see what a difference it will make to your low back pain. You can also drink a glass of warm water with lemon prior to doing this stretch, and your bowels will also benefit.
Combine the stretch above with some effective breathing. Most people are chest breathers, that is to say, they breathe only a third of their lungs! There is a muscle in the body called the diaphragm, which is just below the lungs, and contracts and expands during breathing.
Deep breathing triggers relaxation, by causing blood vessels to expand, thus allowing more oxygen to travel to locations throughout the body where it is needed. This is just an easy way to reduce stress, quiet the mind, and reconnect to the inner self.
When Dr Belinda Owen was 14 she knew she wanted to become a chiropractor. After visiting a family chiropractor she became hooked on the philosophy and power of chiropractic. She set up Passion Chiropractic in Elwood, Melbourne and practices gentle techniques such as SOT, Activator, Cranial and is Webster certified. Belinda has a special interest in pregnancy, babies and family health.
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