Acute low back pain: Supported stretches you can do at your desk

Acute pain, Back pain, Low back pain, Stretching (Active Isolated method) / Friday, May 8th, 2009

When low back pain is too severe to exercise and you can’t stay in bed, here are some simple stretches you can do at your desk to keep the muscles moving and the blood pumping. Movement of any kind helps. Even random movements increase blood flow which brings the repair and rebuilding cells, nutrients and oxygen necessary for healing, but these simple supported stretches target painful low back muscles.

1) Hip hikes: With your back supported by a chair, raise one hip up to get your sitting bone off the chair seat. Hold it up for one second then lower it and raise the other hip. Alternate back and forth ten times.

2) Pelvic tilts: Rock your pelvis back and forth, tucking it under first by tightening your stomach muscles and pressing your low back against the chair, then arching your back by tilting your pelvis so your stomach comes forward. Hold each position for one second and alternate ten times.

3) Crossed leg hip and butt stretch: Cross your left leg over the right with your ankle resting on your knee. Exhale and pull your knee with both hands toward your right shoulder. Hold for one second, then lower the knee with the ankle remaining on your thigh. Repeat ten times then switch to the other side.

4) Spinal twists: Sit up straight and put your left hand on the outside of your right knee or thigh. Put your right arm over the back of the chair or around the arm of the chair. Exhale and twist to the right for one second, pulling and pushing with your arms to assist. If you have a high back chair or no arms, put your right hand on the seat behind your right hip and push to assist. Release to your original position. Repeat ten times on each side or alternate back and forth.

5) Supported forward bend: Sit up straight with your feet apart on the floor and place both hands on your knees. Exhale and lower your upper body down with your arms as far as you can until you feel a gentle stretch. Hold for one or two seconds, then push yourself back up straight with your arms. Repeat ten times.

(As your pain subsides you can gradually use your back muscles more and your arms less until you can grasp your ankles and pull your body between your knees.)

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