I recently appeared on a TV show in Chicago called “You and Me this Morning.” On the show the host asked me what is the best stretch for back pain? I love this question because knowing the best way to perform an activity ensures very often you can get people to actually do the activity. This is because we like the power of one. Do one thing and get the result is what we are all about in America. Give me the best and I don’t have to fool with the rest and I can get back to living my life.
- There are several reasons this stretch is considered the Best!
As many of you know I suffered with back pain and sciatica for years...… over 10 years to be exact. I as a result know firsthand all the exercises and stretches, this is one of my personal favorites. I wrote an article called the "The 8 Most Important Things You Must Know If You Are Dealing With Sciatica!" In this article I mentioned that the leading cause of sciatica is the dreaded herniated disc, and it’s also one of the leading causes of back pain. This stretch helps both back pain and the cause of sciatica; this is one of the reasons why it qualifies as the best.
This stretch is good for taking the pressure off the disc, and by taking pressure off the disc you ultimately start to take the pressure off the nerve that is being pinched. (The sciatic nerve.) We live in a culture where we spend a large part of our day sitting. The days of working on our feet are mostly gone. So now when we sit, we do 2 things that are bad for our spines, we flex our spine slightly resulting in a flat spine, and we load our discs. It’s because everybody sits that the stretch also qualifies as the best……. it’s good for everybody.
This stretch will eliminate both the flattening of the spine and the overloaded discs.
The exercise is known as the sphinx.
- Start by lying flat on your stomach; put your hands in front of you and your elbows under your shoulders.
- Then lift your head and shoulders up with your forearms on the floor.
- Settle into it for 30 seconds at least. Perform about 5-10 stretches at first.
- After a long day of sitting at work I recommend patients perform these 10 minutes daily at home. It will help.
- When you start to gain some of your flexibility you want to extend higher by pushing your shoulder up and straightening your arms.
This stretch will take some time to start to get the tissues to relax but if you give it some time you will start to feel a little better.
Make sure you have your condition evaluated by a healthcare practitioner.