Back Pain

Hi, I'm Doctor Jo, a licensed Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy. I hope you enjoy my video demos of stretches & exercises for common injuries and syndromes. Be safe. Have fun. And I hope you feel better soon.

Erector Spinae Muscles Stretches

Your erector spinae muscles, or your extensor muscles, help extend and rotate your back. So the best way to stretch them is to curl your body forward and do rotational movements.

The first stretch is the cat/camel stretch. Get on all fours in a quadruped position. Arch your back upwards while you are tucking in your chin. You can hold the stretch for 30 seconds and do three, or you can hold them for 3 seconds and do ten of them. Make sure you are tucking in your chin to get the best stretch.

The next stretch is a double knee to chest on your back. Lie down and bring both knees up to your chest by grabbing either around your knees if you don’t have any knee issues, or underneath if you do have some knee issues. Then tuck in your chin and hold the stretch for 30 seconds, three times. Some people like to rock in this position to get an extra stretch.

Finally, sit on the ground with your feet straight out in front of you. Take the leg of the side you want to stretch, and cross it over the other leg. Then twist your body toward that side, and place your opposite elbow on the outside of that knee for the stretch. You can push on your elbow to get a better stretch. Hold this for 30 seconds and do it three times.

Herniated Disc Exercises & Stretches

For a herniated disc, to relieve the back pain, you want to do extension exercises and stretches to help push the disc back into the space in your spine

To start off, lie down in a prone position on your stomach. You will prop up on your elbows for a prone prop. Try to keep your hips down on the ground while your stomach and chest come off the ground. If the elbows are too much, you can come down slightly to where it is comfortable. Hold this for 30 seconds and do three.

Then if that becomes easy, still in the same position, now come up into a push up position on your hands. Still try to keep your hips down on the ground if possible. This one is a little more stressful on the arms, so you might want to start off with 10-15 seconds, and work your way up from there.

Now turn over onto your back and prop you knees up with your feet flat on the ground. You will do a bridge by pushing your bottom up off the ground, but try to do this slowly, and do one segment of your back at a time curling upward. Then slowly go down the same way, one segment at a time. You can start off with 10 of these, and then work your way up.

Finally, you will do a figure four stretch. Cross your foot over onto the thigh of your other leg into a figure four position. Grab the leg on the ground underneath the thigh, and pull your leg toward your chest. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, and do three on each side.

Spinal Stenosis Stretches

Spinal Stenosis is caused by the narrowing of the spaces in the spine which puts pressure on the nerves and causes pain. These are my top three stretches to help relieve the pain caused by spinal stenosis.

With spinal stenosis, when you bend backwards, it puts pressure on the nerves and causes pain. So the stretches you will be doing to relieve the pain with be bending the spine forward to open up the spaces where the nerves come out of the spine.

For the first exercise, lie down on your back with your knees propped up. You are going to do a simple knee to chest. Bring one knee towards your chest by grabbing underneath your knee and pulling up to you. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. You shouldn’t feel any pain, just a stretch through your lower back. You will stretch each leg three times. You can alternate back and forth or do them all on one side before switching.

The next stretch is a double knee to chest. Now you will bring both knees up towards you. Some people will grab up around the top of their knees, which is fine, but if you have knee issues, you might want to grab underneath your knees so you don’t put extra pressure on them. Again, you will hold these for 30 seconds and do them three times.

The last stretch is a child’s pose. Turn over onto your knees and sit back onto your feet. Put your arms out in front of you on the ground and stretch them forward reaching in front of you. Hold for 30 seconds and do them three times. If it is comfortable, you can hold them longer than 30 seconds.

Quadratus Lumborum (QL) Stretches

The Quadratus Lumborum (QL) is a deep lower back muscle that sits over the kidneys. It can be hard to stretch since it is underneath larger muscles. Here are some stretches for your QL.

For the first stretch, you are going to sit on the ground with your legs crossed or out in front of you at an angle. Take your arm of the opposite side you want to stretch, and place your hand underneath and push out and away. At the same time, take the arm of the side you want to stretch, and take it up and over your head to the other side. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, and do it three times.

For the next stretch, you are going to lie down on your back. Prop your knees up, and then rotate your legs to the opposite you want to stretch. Then take the leg closest to the ground, and hook it over the other leg on the side you want to stretch to help pull your leg over and down. Try to keep your hips on the floor and not rotate your back when you stretch. Hold it for 30 seconds and repeat it three times.

For the last stretch, you want to roll over onto your side. This time the side you want to stretch will be on the ground. Put your legs on top of each other in a perpendicular position to the floor. Push up with your arms so your upper body is off the ground. Then roll your hips forward until you feel a stretch. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then repeat three times.

 

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