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We are often asked for stretches which will help alleviate lower back pain. As with most of or stretches, you should find that they target multiple areas in one go which is why some of our stretches feature in several categories. We love the side bend stretch and they can target the whole back.
What causes lower back pain?
As with any pain, there are an endless number of causes but as massage therapists we tend to see the same aggravating causes again and again.
Leaning to one side whilst sitting at the desk can cause tightness in one side of the lower back which will be relieved by this stretch. Carrying a heavy bag over one shoulder often causes a similar tightness. Crossing the legs tilts the pelvis and scrunched up one side of the lower back. Over-arching the lower back in an effort to sit up straight requires the lower back muscles to work too hard without effective support of the core muscles of the trunk and regularly leads to lower back pain. Tight hips and poor body awareness also results in a tight lower back.
How to stretch the lower back
The side bend stretch is a great stretch for the whole side of the body including the arm, shoulder, back and the side of the hip.
Hold onto something for balance if required.
Extend your arm up over your head and think about lengthening along that side of your body from your fingertips right down along the length of the arm, side of the ribcage, waist, hip and even down into your legs as you lean over towards the other side.
Take care to bend ever so slightly forward of the body so that you don’t pinch in the lower back.
To stretch more along side side of the hip you may like to cross the leg on the side you are stretching over to the other side. Cross this leg in front of the stance or supporting leg.
To stretch more through the big broad latissimus dorsi (commonly referred to as the lats)
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