This video is for back flexion exercises. If you are having some stiffness in your lower back, or if you have been diagnosed with spinal stenosis or degenerative disc disease (DDD), these stretches will help relieve some pain. These will also help if you are having some numbness or tingling down one of your legs. Sometimes pain in the hips, knees, and even feet can actually be coming from your back. First, lie on your back with your knees bent. Starting with a single knee to chest stretch, bend one knee and bring your leg up to your chest as far as you comfortably can. Hold this for 30 seconds and do it three times on each side. Next, bring both knees to your chest, and hold it for 30 seconds doing it three times. This is called a double knee to chest stretch.
Next, you want to stretch your hamstrings. It is very important to use correct technique when stretching. If you don’t you will not be getting the desired stretch, and even worse you could hurt yourself more than help. The first stretch will be on your back again. Grab the back of your thigh, and bring your hip to about 90 degrees. Slowly start to straighten your leg until you feel a good stretch as seen in the video. Not everyone will be able to straighten their knee completely. Do three sets of 30 seconds on each side. If your legs starts to shake and it is too hard to hold up, try using a belt or dog leash to help hold the stretch. This time you want to keep your leg straight the whole time. Try not to bend your knee, and gently pull your leg towards your head until you feel a good stretch.
Now you will see some stretches sitting up. The most important part of this stretch is to keep your back straight. Many people try to curl their backs to be able to touch their toes. Your hamstrings are attached to what is called the ischial tuberosity, or your butt bone. So if you bend at your back, you are not going to get a good hamstring stretch. Try to bend at your hips.
These stretches you will turn over onto all fours, or quadruped. The cat stretch is performed by tucking your chin in and arching your back. You can hold this for 30 seconds and do it three times. Then you will go into the prayer stretch position. Bring your butt back onto your heels, and keep your arms straight out. Relax your head down to the ground.
The last stretch is called the pelvic tilt. You will roll back onto your back with your knees bent. You want to imagine pushing your belly button into the ground, or push your back flat onto the ground like you are squishing something. You can put your hand under the curve of your back, and try to push your back into your hand. Make sure you are breathing and not holding your breath while doing these exercises!