Low back pain (LBP), as previously stated, will affect most (if not all) of us at some point in time. Knowing what to do when the warning signs occur is essential to avoiding a disabling level of LBP. Last month, we started the discussion about offering ways to manage the LBP using exercises with the objective of stopping and reversing a potentially serious level of LBP. We offered ways of stretching from a sitting position that can be done in public. Here are some standing exercise options.
1. EXERCISE C: THE HAMSTRING & GROIN STRETCH:
1) Place your foot up onto a seat, bench, chair, pipe of a railing, or anything about knee level (it doesn’t have to be very high). If your balance isn’t very good, make sure to hold onto a wall or counter to keep your balance.
2) Keep your knee bent 20-30 degrees and arch your lower back by sticking out the buttocks until you feel the pull or stretch in the hamstrings (back of the leg).
3) Slowly straighten your knee (keep the buttocks poked out and the low back arched) and you will feel the hamstrings gradually get tighter.
4) Change the angle of the knee and/or the amount of low back arch/pelvic tilt to modify the pulling intensity in the hamstrings. Continue this stretch for 15-30 seconds or until you feel the muscles loosening up.
5) Stay in that EXACT SAME POSITION and rotate your torso inwards (towards the leg you’re standing on) until you will feel the pull change from the hamstrings to the groin (inside thigh) muscles. You can also go back and forth between the hamstrings and the groin (adductor) muscles and continue the exercise until the back of the leg and groin feel adequately stretched (usually 5 to 15 seconds/leg).
2. EXERCISE D: THE HIP FLEXOR STRETCH:
1) Step forwards with one leg and stand in a semi-long, stride position (one foot ahead of the other).
2) On the back leg side, rotate the pelvis forwards until the hip lines up with the forward leg hip (or, the pelvis is square).
3) Add a posterior pelvic tilt (tuck in your buttock/pelvis or, flatten your low back). 4) Lean backwards (extend the low back) holding the above position. As you extend back, feel for the pull deep inside the upper front part of the thigh/groin area. You can alter between the third and fourth steps to release and re-stretch the hip flexor. Continue the stretch for 5-15 seconds or until you feel it’s stretched out and repeat on the opposite side. This one takes a little work but once you feel it, you will see why it’s so good!
3. EXERCISE E: THE ADDUCTOR STRETCH:
As an alternative to the second part of EXERCISE C (step 5 of the standing hamstring stretch), stand with your legs spread apart fairly wide. Shift your pelvis from side to side (left then right) and feel for the stretch on the inner thigh/groin region. You can increase the stretch by adding a lean to the side you’re shifting the pelvis. Try holding the stretch for 5-15 seconds, alternating between sides 5-10 times.
These exercises are meant to be done in public WHEN you need to stretch. Stop the vicious cycle from getting out of control by STOPPING, STRETCHING, and then resuming your activity if you can!