Spine Release Stretch
A healthy spine is often overlooked.
The spine release stretch eases spinal tension and stretches the back and shoulder muscles.
Stretching patients' spines gently with a noninvasive, computer-controlled traction device relieved back pain in a small study, a researcher said here. But why wait until you need a machine? Start stretching your spine on a regular basis and keep it flexible and healthy.
Did you know?
Approximately 80 to 90 percent of the population suffers from spinal pain at some point. (Source: American Chiropractic Association)
A "beer belly" is likely one of the worst culprits for the spine, as it puts unwanted pressure on the muscles, ligaments and tendons in your low back.
How to perform The Spine Release Stretch:
- Lie back on a mat with feet flat on the floor, knees bent, and arms extended straight out to sides.
- Slowly lower knees to right while gently turning head to the left. Allow knees and side of thighs to touch floor if you can, and keep your right shoulder pressed firmly to the floor. Hold for 10 seconds, then contract abs to pull knees to starting position.
- Repeat on right side, alternating sides for six slow repetitions.
Daily Tips for the Spine
- When standing, keep one foot slightly in front of the other, with your knees slightly bent. This position helps to take the pressure off your low back.
- Do not stand bent forward at the waist for prolonged periods of time. The muscles in your low back become deconditioned in this position, which may lead to pain.
- At all times, avoid twisting while lifting. Twisting is one of the most dangerous movements for your spine, especially while lifting.
- If the item is too heavy to lift, pushing it is easier on your back than pulling it. Whenever possible, use your legs, not your back or upper body, to push the item.
- If you must lift a heavy item, get someone to help you.
- Keep your knees slightly higher than your hips, with your head up and back straight.
- Avoid rolling your shoulders forward (slouching).>
- Try to maintain the natural curve in your low back.
Reaching and Bending
- When reaching for something above shoulder level, stand on a stool. Straining to reach such objects may not only hurt your mid-back and neck, but it can also bring on shoulder problems.
- Do not bend over at the waist to pick up items from the floor or a table.
- Instead, kneel down on one knee, as close as possible to the item you are lifting, with the other foot flat on the floor and pick the item up.
- Or bend at the knees, keep the item close to your body, and lift with your legs, not your back.
- When carrying objects, particularly if they are heavy, keep them as close to your body as possible.
- Carrying two small objects—one in each hand—is often easier to handle than one large one.
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