Cure Low Back Pain: Contract and Press for Hip Alignment
What is Hip Flexor Stretches?
Hip flexors are muscle groups located at the front of your thigh bone (femur) that control movement of your leg during walking or running. They include the gluteus maximus, semimembranosus, biceps femoris, psoas major and iliacus. These muscles act together with other muscles such as hamstrings, quadriceps and gastrocnemius to provide balance when standing up from sitting.
How Does it Help Lower Back Pain?
When these hip flexor muscles become tight they cause strain on the discs in your spine. When the stress increases, the discs can begin to bulge outwards causing pressure on surrounding nerves and blood vessels.
Stretching the Hip Flexors
There are several ways to stretch your hip flexors. You could do them while lying down or standing up. Here’s how to perform hip flexor stretches:
Lie face down on a mat or cushion. Place one hand behind your head and pull it towards yourself until your shoulder blades touch each other. Hold for 15 seconds then repeat 10 times with each arm.
While standing upright, bend over to one side as if you are about to touch your ankle. Hold for 15 seconds then repeat 10 times on each side.
To stretch the iliopsoas, lie face down and raise one leg in the air until your foot is flat on the ground. Gently push up with your arms until you feel a stretch in your hip area. Hold for 15 seconds then repeat 10 times with each leg.
Another exercise you can do is the “crab walk.” Start by standing with your feet together and keeping your back straight. Slowly lift one foot off the ground and move it sideways, dragging the rest of your body behind it. Aim to get your hip as far as possible from the foot that is on the ground.
Repeat 10 times with each leg.
Whether you’re suffering from lower back pain or you just want to prevent it, taking time out to perform these hip flexor stretches will help keep your back free of pain.
Why is Stretching Important?
Stretching is very important for everyone. It increases your range of motion, flexibility and keeps the muscles pliable and less prone to injury. It also keeps your joints in good condition. The exercises above are good for lower back pain and hip pain. They have been proven to be very helpful.
Tomorrow is World Arthritis Day and although it isn’t widely known, arthritis can cause lower back pain. To learn more about this connection please read Arthritis & Back Pain.
Stretches for Lower Back Pain
Lying on your back, place both hands against the wall in a push up like position. While keeping your legs straight and crossed, raise the upper leg as high as you can. Then lower and repeat. You can also do this exercise without crossing your legs.
Hip Adduction & Abduction
Lie on your side with your body straight. Raise the upper leg as high as you can and then lower it. Then do the same with the other leg. This can be a very small movement or a larger one depending on how much flexibility you have.
Stretches for the Lower Back
All of these exercises can be done while sitting or lying down. While sitting, lean forward until you feel a good stretch in your lower back. Lean as far forward as you can without pain. Hold the stretch for 10-15 seconds and repeat 3 times.
While lying on your back, raise one leg in the air until your foot is flat on the ground and perpendicular to the floor. Slowly lower your leg as far down as you can without pain and hold for 10-15 seconds. Do this 10 times for each leg.
While lying on your stomach, raise both legs and arms up as high as you can. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 5 times.
While sitting, cross one leg over the other and pull it as close to your body as you can. Hold for 10-15 seconds and then switch legs.
Lower Back Pain Relief
There are over the counter medicines that can help with lower back pain. Ibuprofen (like Advil) is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID) that can help ease pain caused by arthritis, muscle aches, menstruation and other causes. Be sure to read the warning label and take as directed. I also suggest taking it with food.
This medication has side effects such as increased bleeding, ulcers and nausea.
Acetaminophen (like Tylenol) is another non-prescription that can help with pain and reduce a fever. Again, be sure to read the warning label and take as directed. You can also find a combination of these two medications together in one pill.
These over the counter medicines can be very helpful but do not rely on them as your only treatment. Be sure you are also performing stretches and exercises for the lower back.
Also, check out How to Sleep With Lower Back Pain for tips on getting a good nights sleep!
If your back pain is caused by an injury and the pain has lasted more than 6 weeks, you may benefit from a steroid shot. This is a very effective way to reduce inflammation and pain. The shot is given directly into the painful area and can provide immediate relief. It is important to remember that this is a short-term solution and will only last for a few months.
If pain persists or your day-to-day functioning has been severely limited due to this condition, you may need surgery. There are several different types of surgeries that can help relieve pressure on the nerves in your lower back. One common surgery is Lumbar Discectomy.
In this procedure, the surgeon will make a small incision in your lower back and remove the herniated disc that is putting pressure on the nerves. Sometimes the entire disc may not be removed and this can lead to further problems.
Another type of surgery is Lumbar Fusion. In this procedure, the surgeon will remove the entire disc along with some of the surrounding bone so that the bones are no longer pushing against the nerves. A metal plate and screws are used to stabilize the spine. Since this procedure takes bone out of your body, there is a risk that the bone will not grow back together and you can be left with more instability in the spine.
There are other types of Lumbar Fusion procedures using artificial material instead of bone. The problem with these surgeries is that it can cause the vertebrae to grow together so tightly that it can cause more instability and pain in the area. You should consult with your surgeon to determine which procedure is best for you.
Your surgeon will closely monitor you to make sure the fusion has been successful. You will also need to use proper back care and continue to be physically active to make sure the bone regrows and stabilizes in the correct position.
Regardless of which surgery you ultimately decide on, it is important that you receive proper information and advice from an expert in this field. Do not try to self-diagnose or self-treat your back pain. Make sure you see a medical professional that can properly assess your condition and provide you with the proper treatment option.
Get the Right Information with Expert Orthopedic Surgeons
At the Spine Institute of Fort Worth, we are dedicated to providing you with expert advice to help with your lower back pain. We provide non-surgical and surgical options for your condition. If you have any questions about your condition, contact our office today.
To learn more about lower back pain and the latest treatment options, please review our informational website or give us a call at (817) 440-2777.
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Sources & references used in this article:
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Reliability of physical examination items used for classification of patients with low back pain by LR Van Dillen, SA Sahrmann, BJ Norton… – … Therapy, 1998 – academic.oup.com
Classification of sagittal thoraco-lumbo-pelvic alignment of the adolescent spine in standing and its relationship to low back pain by A Smith, P O’Sullivan, L Straker – Spine, 2008 – journals.lww.com
A comparison of physical therapy, chiropractic manipulation, and provision of an educational booklet for the treatment of patients with low back pain by DC Cherkin, RA Deyo, M Battié, J Street… – … England Journal of …, 1998 – Mass Medical Soc
Prediction of success from a multidisciplinary treatment program for chronic low back pain by J Hildebrandt, M Pfingsten, P Saur, J Jansen – Spine, 1997 – journals.lww.com
Therapeutic application of Iyengar yoga for healing chronic low back pain by K Williams, L Steinberg… – … Journal of Yoga Therapy, 2003 – meridian.allenpress.com