Pain is a problem that all of us experience from time to time but the most common type of pain is going to affect the hip and lower back. In fact, more than 30 million people around the world suffer from this type of pain at some point between the ages of 20 and 64. It is a serious concern, not only because it makes us uncomfortable but because it causes us to lose out on our quality of life.
Hip and back pain have always been a problem but they are becoming even more of a problem because of our sedentary lifestyle. We tend to sit more often than not and we can get tight between the shoulders, weakening the back and causing a weakness in the glutes and abdominals as well. Without that supporting muscle strength in place, it can lead to pain in the lower back and hip.
If you suffer from this type of pain, you will be happy to know that there are things you can do to relieve it efficiently.
The Mayo Clinic lists the benefits of stretching:
Increased joint range of motion and flexibility: when you have flexible muscles, it can help you in many areas of life. This would include everything from tying your shoes to rushing to make an appointment. We tend to be less flexible as we get older but you can regain your flexibility.
Improved circulation: when you stretch, it increases blood flow to the muscles. That provides additional nourishment and carries the waste away from the muscle tissue. You can experience shortened recovery time if you have improved circulation.
Stress relief: when you stretch, it helps to relieve tense muscles that go along with stress.
Enhanced coordination: when you move throughout a full range of motion in your joints, it gives you better balance. This will help you to be more mobile and prevent injury.
Here are some stretching exercises to consider:
1. Child’s pose
Start on all fours, with the toes together and the knees open wide towards the outside.
Sit back on the heels, walk with the hands towards outside, and try to touch the floor with the forehead while the hands are stretched.
Start walking with the hands even further, but keep the arms straight. Relax, and hold for half a minute.
2. Sublime figure
Lying on the ground on the back, bend the knees and place the feet on the floor.
Bend the left knee and put the left ankle over the right knee. Then, put the hand between the legs and grab the other one behind the right leg.
Hold the shoulders and head on the floor, and draw the right thigh towards you. Hold for a minute and repeat with the other leg.
3. Happy baby
Lay down on the back, bend the knees and bring them to your chest. Try to reach and grab the toes or ankles with the arms, while pressing the floor with the back. Hold for half a minute.
4. Seated twist
While sitting on the floor with the knees bent and the feet on the ground, place the right heel close to the left sit bone and cross the other leg over it.
Place a hand on the floor for support, and the elbow of the other hand on the top knee, and push in order to twist the upper body.
Be gentle and breathe deeply. The back should be straight. Hold for half a minute, and repeat with the other leg.
5. Runners’ lunge
Start on all fours, step the left foot outside of the left hand, with the toe a bit further upfront from the knee.
The right knee should be on the floor and both hands inside of the left hand. Start pressing towards the floor with the hips, hold for half a minute, and repeat with the other leg.
6. Figure twist
Lay down on the back, with the feet on the ground, hip-width apart, and the knees bent. Bend the left knee and place the left one above it, and place the arms on the sides in order to form a cactus-like shape.
The feet should be flexed, the knees slightly falling to the left, and the left ankle over the right thigh, in order to be able to twist your body. Hold for 30 seconds, and repeat on the other side.
7. Abductor opener
Stand tall with the feet wider than hip-width, the heels are in and the toes facing outwards, making a 45-degree angle.
Go down a bit like when doing a squat, put the hands on the thighs right above the knees, and add pressure on your thighs to open up your muscles. Hold for 30 seconds.
8. Wide legged forward fold
Stand tall with the feet wider than the hips and the toes pointed straight. Bend the knees as you go down with the torso in order to bring the hands on the ground.
The knees should be slightly bent, and the head hanging freely. Let the weight of your body stretch your lower back, hamstrings, and glutes.
Hold for half a minute, and then use the arms to come back straight.
9. Cow face legs
Sit down on the floor, bend one knee and place it on top of the other bend knee, and press the ground with the sit bones on the butt. Straighten the back while breathing deeply, place the hands on the side, and hold for 30 seconds.
Consider the following tips to help stretch properly:
Warm-up – don’t stretch muscles cold or you run the risk of a pulled muscle.
Hold the stretch – it takes time to effectively strengthen and lengthen the tissue. Make sure you hold each stretch for 30 to 60 seconds.
Don’t bounce – you can cause small tears in your muscle when you bounce. Do a nice, gentle stretch and you will reap the benefits.