Using Your Total Gym To Ease A Sore Back
As a therapist and trainer, I am amazed about how many individuals have low back pain. Even when the diagnosis is another body part or a person comes to work out and I ask about previous or current injuries, the response is usually low back is sore, but that is constant. Sometimes low back pain has been so constant that it no longer considered an issue, rather a part of everyday life. Typically, people have naturally started to alter their life to prevent soreness and before one knows it, life’s restrictions lead to less movement and greater tightness. Then the cycle begins. Increase in tightness leads to greater stress, altered biomechanics and pain.
Treatment of low back pain is multifactorial. It involves lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise, as well as, commitment. It can feel like a daunting task; but, small steps and adjustments can lead to great improvements. Here are some steps you can take. Remember it takes at least 21 days to create a habit, so start small and stay positive.
3 Essential Habits To Remember Before Starting These Stretches
If you are a side sleeper a pillow between the knees and possibly under the ribcage can assist with improved alignment. Change sides of the bed to do your best to “balance” out poor positions, like sleeping on your belly with one knee up.
Poor diet can affect back pain for multiple reasons. Consumption of sodas, juice, teas and coffees as your main liquid can contribute to dehydration, as well as increased weight. Dehydration can contribute to lack of muscular flexibility, as well as greater stress to the spinal disc. Poor diet can also irritate the gut and lead to poor digestion. Did you know part of the intestines attach to the lower spine? Over time, chronic digestive issues can lead to stress to the spine. Lastly, increased weight can lead to greater stress to the body’s joints, including the spine. A weight loss of 4 pounds can lead to 16 pounds of less weight to the spine.
Strengthening and stretching the body and core can improve back pain. There are lots of theories on strengthening and core conditioning, but most agree stretching is key. The Total Gym is a great machine to make stretching enjoyable. Here are some simple stretches to incorporate into your routine. They can be done all at once, or throughout the day. You will see that some of the stretches can be more dynamic and rely upon movement, while others are more static. These stretches should be performed at least once per day. When holding the stretch, take an opportunity to focus your breathing into the belly, sides, and back of the rib cage, allowing the chest to be the last to rise.
1. Facing Tower (Hip Flexor Stretch)
Hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds.
Alternative: Lunge stretch facing the squat stand or free standing. Move into the lunge back and forth 5-10 times. On the last repetition, hold for stretch.
2. Facing Tower: Hamstring Stretch with Cables (Row To Hamstring Stretch)
Row 5-10 times and hold the last repetition reaching forward for a stretch.
Alternative: Place one or both feet on the ground.
3. Adductor stretch (Seated Low Squat on the Glideboard)
Hold for static stretching slowly moving down the glideboard to progress the stretch.
4. Figure 4 Stretch Squatting
Squat with one leg crossed over the other 5-10 times each time increasing the stretch and then hold the last repetition.
5. Lat Stretch
Low kneeling reaching for the rail or pull-up bar. Hold for a static stretch.
Alternative: performed sitting forward bent.
Add an arm reach in varying directions, high and low. Move 5-10 times and hold the last repetition.
Alternative: perform sitting with feet on the floor.