5 Back Stretches To Improve Your Bones and Decrease Injury

  Two young women on yoga mats doing child's pose.

 

 

 

Your spine, or back bone, is really amazing!

 

It is as the same time strong and flexible. It stabilizes

your entire body, yet is able to to bend, move, and rotate.

We we lose this stability or mobility, back problems

occur.  These are usually related to the discs or muscles

surrounding the spine.

 

What about the bone itself?  Outside of a trauma, like a

car accident, the most common injury to your vertebrae

(back bone) is a compression fracture.

 

Vertebral compression fractures are a collapse of the bone,

most commonly due to osteoprosois.   Typically, the force

required to break the bones of the spine would need to be

quite substantial.  However, when bone becomes fragile a

simple task such as picking an object off the floor, or even

sneezing can cause a fracture.

 

The result is pain, limited movement, loss of independence,

as well as shortened height and forward curve of the spine.

 

It is important to take steps to strengthen bone to prevent

osteoporosis.  However, there are also ways to specifically

help keep your back and bones supple decreasing your risk

of fracture.

 

While you are at it, you will decrease back pain, stiffness,

and chance of other back injuries.  Just a few simple

exercises will help keep your vertebrae aligned and the

muscles of your back strong and supple.

 

Stretching your spine has significant benefits:

  • Reduce back pain
  • Reduce muscle tension
  • Improve circulation
  • Improve posture
  • Decrease inflammation
  • Decrease stress

 

Stretching creates space between the vertebrae and aligns

the body. Strong, aligned vertebrae are better able to

absorb shock and less likely to fracture.  In addition, tight,

contracted muscles tend to pull vertebrae out of alignment.

This contribute to back pain and sets the stage for a break.

 

We need to focus on positions that allow the muscles and

connecting tissues in the pelvis, back, and ribs to relax.  By

lengthening the muscles in these areas we will improve

spinal flexibility and mobility.  Holding the stretches as you

would a yoga pose also tones your core muscles, inner thigh,

and buttocks to improve your overall posture and well being.

 

5 Best Spine Stretches:

 

 1. Lunge Stretch

 

This stretch offsets the stiffness that occurs with long bouts

of sitting.  Get on the floor in a half kneeling position. Keep

your back straight while you push your knee into the

ground and let your hip sink down into the stretch.

 

2. Legs Up the Wall

 

Lie on your back close to a wall.  Walk your feet up the wall

and scoot forward until your bottom is against the wall with

legs straight up.  Hold this position with feet facing the

ceiling. You can also spread legs slowly outward into a V.

 

3. Child's pose

 

Kneel down and sit down on your heels.  Lean forward with

your hands on the floor in front of you  walk your hands out

forward until you feel a stretch along your upper back,

letting  your head drop down naturally to the floor.

 

4. Full back stretch Hold onto the back of a chair with your feet shoulder width

apart. Keeping your back straight, move your body forward

at the hips until you feel a stretch in your shoulders and

back.  You want your back to end up parallel with the ground.

 

5. Upper spine and shoulder stress

 

This corrects and prevents a hunched over posture. Clasp

your hands behind your back, straighten your arms, and

slowly raise them up toward the ceiling.  You'll feel a stretch

across your chest and the front of your shoulders.

 

For those already diagnosed with low bone mass (called

osteopenia) or osteoporosis, care must be taken not to

stretch into compromising positions. Certain movements,

like those that require twisting of the spine or bending

forward from the waist (like sit-ups or toe touches), can

increase risk for fracture and should be avoided.

 

If you have low bone density or back pain in general, an

individually designed home exercise program is your safest

option.  When designed by a physical therapist, your efforts

will yield the most beneficial results.

 

For everyone, it's important to understand that little and

often is more beneficial than doing a lot occasionally. Progress

with this type of stretching program can be slow. You may not

feel or see any difference for months – but it will be working.

 

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