Fitness: ‘Big three’ stretches after workout – ease back pain in a matter of minutes

Doctor Oz demonstrates how stretching reduces heart disease

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Thousands of people suffer with lower back pain after a tough upper body workout or from day to day stresses. Sometimes it can be it’s hard to find a relief that works best to curb that irritating niggle. In some cases, there could be a symptom of an underlying condition, but most often it’s down to tension on the muscles due to bad posture, repetitive motions in the gym or a sedentary lifestyle.

And as many get back to work following the numerous UK lockdowns, some may still not be used to sitting at a desk again for eight hours a day.

In most cases, discomfort or stiffness in the lower back can be remedied quite easily through stretching out the muscles and building strength in a controlled manner.

While stretching can be good to ease and relieve pain in the lower back, it isn’t always a permanent cure.

There are many stretches out there that can work the lower back muscles, but here are three that Professor Emeritus of Spine Biomechanics Dr Stuart McGill, has found work the best.

These stretches can be done once or twice a day, but always take safety and care with the lower back extensions.

Curl up

Number one, is the curl up.

For this stretch, lie down on your back and extend one leg and bend the knee of the other.

Place hands under the lower back to maintain the natural arch of the spine, while pulling the head, shoulders and chest off the floor.

Lift up as one unit and keep your back in neutral position.

Hold for 10 seconds before slowly lowering yourself back down.

Stretchers can complete three sets, making sure the repetitions are spread evenly for each leg.

Side bridge

Next up, is the side bridge, a great way to strengthen the muscles that keep the spine stable.

For this, lie on the side, with your forearm on the floor and elbow underneath the shoulder.

Place your hand on the other shoulder to stabilise the torso.

Pull the feet back so the knees are at a 90-degree angle.

While lifting the hips off of the floor, hold for 10 seconds and try to maintain a straight line from the head down to the knees.

The hips should be in line with the rest of the body.

Repeat three times, completing 10-8-6 reps per set – for an added challenge, keep the legs straight instead of bent.

Bird dog

Finally, the bird dog, which focuses on strengthening the muscles that surround your spine.

Assume a hands-and-knees position on the floor.

Raise the left arm forward while simultaneously kicking the right leg back.

Make sure that the hips are in line with the torso; try to avoid tilting to one side.

Hold for 10 seconds before repeating on the other side.

These stretches can be done at the end of an upper body session or if experiencing general lower back pain.

If you have any type of injury or health concern, always be gentle and cautious when stretching.

It is best to conduct with your doctor first before beginning any new types of exercise.

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