Back pain has become a fairly common event for many of us. It is estimated that 60 to 80 percent of us will experience back pain at some time in our lives. (1)
“In 2007, approximately 27 million adults, or 11.9 percent of adults age 18 and older, reported having back problems and approximately 19 million adults reported receiving treatment for the back problems,” said the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
That means that about 70 percent of adults have had back pain severe enough to seek some type of medical help. Looking for ways to help relax your back and strengthen it before you have a problem is a good plan.
As a longtime sufferer of back pain, I cannot emphasize enough that if you already have back issues, you should not start doing exercises or stretches that are advertised on the cover of popular magazines or that your neighbor swears by for her back pain. Her back problems and yours may not be the same.
If you are a regular back pain sufferer, then seeing a physical therapist who can evaluate you is the best way to start. Many states allow you to see a PT without a doctor’s prescription for one month, though you should check with your insurance to see if they will reimburse visits without one.
However, for a single personal evaluation visit, it may be worth the visit, even if you have to pay out of your pocket.
Check out the American Physical Therapy Association website and go to the "Find a PT" tab where you can locate the one closest to you according to specialty. Select Musculoskeletal and/or Fitness and Wellness boxes.
Below are stretches to help keep the back loose which are often on the menus of any person who has back pain.
1) Lie on your back on the floor
Elevate your legs on chair or on a bolster. Stay in this position for 15-20 min.
On her blog , Alexander Technique instructor Imogen Ragone discusses how helpful this stretch can be.
1) Back Pain Statistics. About.com. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
2) Back Problems: Use and Expenditures for the U.S. Adult Population, 2007. MEPS AHRQ.gov. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
3) Lying Down for Back Pain Relief. Imogen Ragone.com.
4) Yoga for Back Pain - Child's Pose. By Anne Asher, CPT Back & Neck Pain Expert. About.com. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
5) Lying Piriformis Stretch. By Elizabeth Quinn Sports Medicine Expert. About.com. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
6) Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation for Piriformis Syndrome. Medscape.com. Retrieved April 20, 2016.