Are you suffering from lower back pain and stiffness? Since many of us have experienced tightness in our lower backs at some point in our lives, it’s important to know how to combat it. Have you felt stiffness in your lower back first thing in the morning after waking up or at different times throughout the day like after a long car ride or prolonged sitting? In our PTtip video, Dr. Alex Tan, PT, DPT, demonstrates three simple stretches that can be performed to help loosen up your lower back:
- Begin on all fours.
- Sit back on your heels; you’ll be seated on your heels throughout the entire exercise.
- Walk your hands forward and drop your head, until you feel a stretch in your lower back
- Hold this position for about 30 seconds.
- To stretch the right side of your lower back, walk your hands out to the left and hold for 30 seconds.
- To stretch the left side, walk your hands out to the right and hold for 30 seconds.
Single Knee to Chest Stretch
- Lie down flat on your back.
- Gently pull your left knee to your chest until you feel a stretch in your lower back.
- Hold for 30 seconds.
- Switch legs and repeat by gently bringing your right knee to your chest and hold for 30 seconds.
- Try to keep your opposite leg flat on the ground during each stretch.
- Repeat this stretch 3 times on each side.
Lower Trunk Rotation Stretch
- Lie down flat on your back.
- Raise your right knee up and lay your right arm straight out to the side.
- Gently pull your right knee over to the left until you feel a stretch in your right lower back.
- Try to maintain contact between your right shoulder and the floor throughout the stretch (looking toward your right hand may help to keep this position)
- Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on your opposite side.
- Repeat 3 times on each side, holding for 30 seconds for each stretch.
Busy schedules can make it hard to find time to prepare healthy, nutritious meals. To help save time, consider meal planning and prepping! For example, taking a few minutes at the start of the week or before your next grocery trip to plan out a few meals can be an easy way to ensure healthy food options on busy nights.
Chopping up fresh fruits and vegetables at the start of the week is another easy way to ensure having nutritious ingredients on hand for meals and snacks. Lastly, another way to plan ahead is to prepare extra quantities to either freeze for another meal option the following week or for lunch or dinner the next day. Many types of prepped food like meats/protein sources can be used in various simple, yet healthy meals like stir-frys, salads, wraps/sandwiches, or homemade casseroles, which will help to ensure variety and reduce boredom within your meals!
Make sure you watch our PTtip video to learn how to properly perform the above stretches! If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment with one of our physical therapists or are interested in attending one of our healthy back classes, give our office a call today at 1-855-PT-FIRST!
*As a reminder, always discuss any questions or concerns with your physician regarding your own health and dietary needs, as the information written should not replace any medical advice.
USDA. (2015). Kitchen timesavers. Retrieved from http://www.choosemyplate.gov/budget-time-savers