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Prevent Immobility & Low Back Pain All Year

Posted on 2/9/2017 to Basic Body Mechanics & Posture
Prevent Immobility & Low Back Pain All Year
"Fabulous 5" Stretches 5 Stretches & Exercises to Prevent Immobility & Low Back Pain All Year!
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Face it ... Unless you've avoided the last 500 years of advancement in civilization and technology ...Your back is taking abuse from your modern lifestyle.

This abuse comes primarily in the form of ... SITTING!

Specifically, it is the immobility caused by a life spent in continuous hours of daily sitting that causes so much harm to our low backs.

It wasn't always understood how important movement is for our bodies... Bed rest used to be the most common prescription for back injuries at one time.

Now we know that movement and mobility are the "kiss of life" for muscles, ligaments, bone and joints, whereas lack of motion causes deterioration of all the above, as well as our brains, nervous systems, stress handling organs, and more!

The area of the body most at risk for lack of motion is the low back.

Our low backs hardly move in the average modern lifestyle, due to what some have called "Olympic Sitting". This term is used because the average modern human spends more time every day sitting than an Olympic athlete spends training!

When we are seated, our low backs are in a fixed position and hardly move at all. The muscles of the hip and low back develop taut bands/knots called Trigger Points that cause referred pain and a host of other problems.

From the bed to the breakfast table, to the car, to the desk, back to the car, to the dinner table to the couch and back to bed, it is no wonder that almost no one makes it through the year without some form of back pain. Low back pain continues to be the number one cause of disability worldwide.

The good news is that it doesn't take a lot of time or effort to turn this situation around. In fact, this year can be the year that you resolve to have no low back pain caused by lack of movement at all!

To support this goal, Muscle News is starting off 2017 with the "Fabulous 5" Stretches / Range of Motion Exercises to counteract immobility and low back pain.

Try these "Fab 5" below. They only take a couple minutes, and if performed once every 1-2 hours of sitting (or lying down), you can counteract immobility and help prevent low back pain all year!

*The information in this article is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and does not substitute for a thorough evaluation by a medical professional. Please consult your physician to determine whether these self-care tips are appropriate for you.

"Fab 5" - Simple Stretches / Exercises for a Year of No Back Pain!

Whenever your low back is immobile for an hour or more, you can perform these quick and easy techniques to keep your back healthy, flexible and strong. After sleeping, driving in a car, sitting in a chair, at a desk, etc., every hour that passes (or when you wake up from sleep), take 5 minutes to do these Fab 5. You will be helping to undo the effects of that hour of immobility and put your back on the health track again.

1. Leg Back Stretch: When we are seated, our hips are half contracted and half extended. With Olympic Sitting, they become frozen that way, putting a lot of strain on our low backs. Some call this condition "Sittosis" and the main muscle that freezes up is named the Psoas. (click here to read a full article on Sittosis and the Psoas)

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So, the first key to undoing this condition is to fully extend/stretch the hip. To do this, place your left hand on a wall or counter or both hands on your left knee (or you can even sit your left butt cheek on a chair) for stability. Then, bring the right leg back as far as possible and bend the left knee forward with torso upright, as shown. Lean as deeply as comfortable. You should feel the stretch in the front of your left hip. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat 2 times per each leg. 2. Knee to Chest Stretch: Next, we want to fully flex the hip to shorten/contract the Psoas muscle to its full range of motion. Replacement Insoles

Start either leaning back against a wall standing or lying on your back on a comfortable surface. Use both hands to draw the knee up toward the chest and armpit as far as possible, as shown. Hold for 20-30 seconds while breathing slowly and deeply. Repeat 2 times per each leg. (Note: You can also draw the leg up to the opposite arm pit also for additional stretch to the Gluteal muscles.)

3. Single Hamstring Stretch: Next, we want to fully extend the Hamstring muscles, as well. Stand or sit on a chair and bring the leg out in front of you and rest your heel on a chair or other elevated platform, as shown. Lean forward over your knee, reaching your fingers toward your toes..

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If you can reach your toes, then bend your chest and head down toward your knee as far as comfortable. Hold for 20-30 seconds while breathing slowly and deeply. Repeat 2 times per each leg. 4. Pelvic Pendulum: Now, we want to activate the muscles in the core of your abdomen and also the tiny intersegmental muscles that move each individual vertebra of your Lumbar Spine.

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Start standing with knees slightly bent. Using only your abdominal muscles and low back muscles, slowly curve your pelvis into a forward tilt then backward tilt. Focus on going as slowly as necessary to have smooth motion with each segment of your spine individually moving one vertebrae at a time. It should take a count of 4-5 seconds to form the tilt in each direction. Repeat 15 cycles forward and back, breathing regularly. Then do the same with the sideways tilt, using only your core abdominal and low back muscles. Keep your rib cage and upper back straight the whole time, as you draw one hip up toward your shoulder and then back down to raise the opposite hip. It should take a count of 4-5 seconds to form the tilt in each direction. Repeat 15 cycles forward and back. Don't forget to breath throughout.

5. Giant Steps & Pigeon/Duck Steps Last, we want to activate and stretch our walking muscles by exaggerated stepping. When we sit, our hips not only become frozen in flexion and extension, but also in outward/inward rotation. Specifically, our hips and legs tend to get frozen in partial outward rotation, causing us to stand and walk with our toes turned outward like ducks. So, we must contradict this external rotation in this final Fab 5 exercise.

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For Giant Steps, simply step forward as far as comfortable without losing balance and descend into the lunge as deeply as comfortable before coming up and bringing the opposite leg forward into a lunge. Repeat 15 steps on each leg.

For Pigeon Steps, simply turn your toes, knees and hips inward as far as comfortable, as shown, and walk with the feet maintaining that inward rotation. Walk 20 steps Pigeon Toed. Then rotate the toes, knees and hips outward as far as comfortable, as shown, and walk forward with the feet maintaining that outward rotation. Walk 20 steps Duck Footed.

And that's the Fab 5! Repeat after each period of immobility. When sitting on a chair or in a car, perform every 1 - 2 hours of being seated. Also perform after sleeping in the morning or after a nap.

Make this a year of mobility with the Fab 5, and you may very well avoid back pain for all of 2017!

Happy Pain Free New Year!

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