Back pain is incredibly common. In fact, statistics indicate that almost 65 million Americans deal with back pain at some point in their lives. And, an estimated 16 million Americans live with chronic back pain.
That type of pain is often more than a nuisance. It can reduce mobility, infringe upon normal activities and negatively impact the quality of someone’s life in a significant way. For some, surgery is an option, as are prescription painkillers and alternative therapies — from acupuncture to physical therapy.
Sometimes, a set of simple stretches can offer relief for those living with chronic back pain, eliminating or minimizing the need for surgery or medication. As a team of experienced naturopathic doctors, we at Ethos always prefer to source the original root cause of any given ailment as opposed to treating the symptoms associated with the issue.
That means, in general, we like to defer to natural remedies that have offered patients relief. Here are a few stretches that may help. And if you look closely, you may recognize a few from yoga class.
Stretches that are done on the floor may be more comfortable with a mat underneath, but it isn’t required.
Trunk twist. Lay on your back on the floor and bring one bent leg across the opposite side of your body. The arm corresponding to that leg should be outstretched, straight to your side with its palm facing down. Hold that position for up to 20 seconds, alternate legs and do three sets each.
Knee to chest. While laying on your back, bring one knee into your chest, using your hands to hug it as an assist. Then, switch legs. Alternate for three sets, making sure to keep the straight leg touching the floor.
Towel stretch. Using a hand towel, sit on the floor with one leg out and hook the towel behind your foot — towards the heel. Gently pull yourself toward your leg using the towel as leverage. Pull until you feel it in your back and legs. Hold the position for up to 10 seconds, alternate legs and repeat three times.
Cat arch. On all fours, with your knees and hands at hip-width apart, arch your back and hold the position — in an arch — for up to 10 seconds (although 5 seconds is fine). Then, drop your pelvis and curve your back downward. Hold that position for 5 to 10 seconds, also. Repeat this alternating stretch up to 20 times.
Pelvic raises. While lying on your back with your knees bent, and your arms behind your head or at your side on the floor, lift your pelvis toward the ceiling while tightening your abdominal muscles and your buttocks. Hold that position for up to 10 seconds and repeat. Begin with 15 reps and build up to 30 a day.
At Ethos Integrative Medicine, we hosted a webinar that discussed three common causes of low back pain and alternative treatments compared to the conventional approach to care for those conditions. To learn about our approach, which includes therapy, activity modification, and focused nutrition, watch the webinar here.
At Ethos Integrative Medicine in Scottsdale, our team of specialists takes a novel approach to healthcare to achieve the results patients deserve. Learn more about our team at https://ethosscottsdale.com/.
Interested in how we can help you? Get your questions answered by scheduling an introductory call.
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