Editor's Note: This post was originally published in February of 2013 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy.
We human beings are creatures of habit and tend to move in the same patterns and use the same motions repetitively throughout the day. This leads to certain muscles being overused and tightening in ways that can cause pain and discomfort.
Incorporate these two simple stretches for lower back into the end of your workout routine to help alleviate tight muscles that might be causing your back pain.
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Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
Spending even a moderate amount of time working at a desk, or seated behind the wheel of a car during your commute can contribute to tight hip flexors. The result is an inability to relax the pelvis into a truly neutral position, which leaves you walking around with short, tight lower back muscles that ache with fatigue. Stretch this area to help restore full range of motion to the pelvic girdle.
In a kneeling position raise one leg and place that foot on the floor so both of your legs are bent at 90 degrees with the sole of one foot on the floor. With your trunk upright, lean forward pushing out from the hip until you feel a gentle stretch on the inside of the top of your kneeling leg. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds and release. Repeat on the other side.
Your upper back might not be in any pain, but as with most systems in the human body, it’s all connected. Your Latissimus Dorsi swoop around the rear of your rib cage and attach to the top of your pelvis, right at the lower back. Tight Lats can restrict arm movement forcing a compensation of the hips in the form of an anterior tilt. If you can loosen your lats, your hips won’t have to tilt back to allow your arms to move up and down in their intended optimum range of motion.
Find a surface that is about shoulder height. Extend an arm out straight and lay it on top of the surface just above the wrist joint. With your palm facing inward and your thumb facing up, gently lean forward at the hip bringing your head closer to your arm until you feel a stretch along the side by your armpit. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
We all have imbalances in our musculoskeletal system that contribute to aches and pains from time to time. Taking a few minutes out of each day to relieve the tension in these areas can alleviate pain and prevent discomfort.