Get a Handle on Your Back Pain with Stretching

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- article submitted by independent contributor

Chances are that at some point in your life, you’ll experience back pain. And probably the first thing you’ll do is reach for some pain killers. But medication, although frequently useful, can also have some drawbacks. Medication is certainly needed if you’re in a lot of pain. Muscle relaxants can be effective at calming muscle spasms in your back.

But the drawback to using these kinds of medication is that they don’t actually heal the condition. It just masks your discomfort sufficiently to help you get through the day. If you don’t truly fix the problem, your back pain could continue to cause you problems for some time to come.

The good news is that there’s another way to manage your back pain. It can be much more effective than pills. The key is that you must be dedicated to using it on an ongoing basis. Also, you have to give it some time before you start seeing results. So what exactly is this magic cure? It’s a simple thing known as stretching exercises.

There are lots of good reasons to use stretching exercises to manage your back pain. First of all, it’s an all natural way to deal with the problem. You won’t have the need for continuous medication or various treatments to ease your pain. Because it’s all natural, you won’t experience any harmful side effects. This can certainly happen with some medications. Just make sure you’re doing the stretches properly or you’ll end up with further injuries.

Another advantage of using stretching exercises to treat your back pain is it can help prevent future problems. It’s unlikely that any medication can make that claim. Your core muscles are strengthened through regular stretching. So you’re ensuring that your body can handle the demands you place on it every day.

Your muscle flexibility will be greatly improved. So they will be prepared to perform well whenever you need them. Limber muscles are particularly important when you trip or lose your balance, because they’ll help to stabilize you.

It’s not just your back that benefits from stretching. The benefits extend throughout your body. By incorporating a stretching routine into your day, you improve your fitness. This gives your cardiovascular system a health boost. It also strengthens your immune system, so you won’t catch every bug that goes around.

It’s to your benefit to regularly perform stretching exercises. They not only help your back, they can keep your entire body healthy and fit.

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Stretching for Flexibility, Fitness and Quality of Life

- by Joey Atlas, Author of Amazon Bestseller – ‘Fatness to Fitness’
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Stretching for Flexibility, Fitness and Quality of Life

I came across this article recently and thought it would be good to share with you for 2 reasons.

1 – It makes some very points that are in line with my philosophy on stretching and fitness.

2 – There are some points that I would approach and advise people on in a different manner. I will address those in the next article…

Here it is – as printed from The Oregonian – ‘Fitness on a Budget’, June 18th:

The most neglected component of fitness is stretching. As you learned in today’s cover story, meditation offers huge benefits, and during stretching it’s really easy to get into a meditative state.

Unfortunately, most people either don’t stretch correctly and long enough, or they skip it altogether. For people who are tight, stretching can be painful — their muscles shake, and they usually can’t wait to release the stretch. It’s easy to see why they eliminate stretching from their workout.

After working in the fitness industry and training clients for more than 20 years, we’ve come up with a system that has even our most rigid, tight, “can’t touch their toes” clients enjoying their stretching segments. We’ve found that if we can make a stretch comfortable enough that clients don’t even realize they’re stretching, they will often hold it long enough to allow the muscles to lengthen.

For this reason, we’ve found wall stretches to be most successful. While clients stretch, their back is in its neutral position, which is comfortable, and they don’t have to use their muscles to support it. Instead, they can relax and focus into the stretch. Or read or watch TV, which can increase the length of time they hold any stretch.

Our clients find these stretching segments so enjoyable that they hold stretches longer than they ever have and now stretch every day. They would have never dreamed of stretching this much before!

Sample wall stretches

Hamstring: Lie on your back with your legs against the wall, heels toward the ceiling. Find a position where you feel a light stretch in the back of your thighs. To make the stretch more intense, move your buttocks closer to the wall; to make it less intense, move your buttocks farther from the wall. Hold for as long as you feel comfortable. Try to relax and breathe into the stretch. Feel free to read or watch TV.

Hips and back: Start with your legs in the hamstring stretch position. Slowly let both legs fall to one side until they are resting comfortably on the floor. (If you’re tight, it’s OK to have the legs suspended above the floor.) Bend the bottom leg and keep the top leg straight. Try to feel this stretch through your hips and lightly through your back.

Adductors: Start with your legs in the hamstring stretch position. Slowly separate your legs into a V-position until you feel a light stretch through your groin area.

Glutes: Move about a foot from the wall. Position one leg so the bottom of the foot is in contact with the wall and the knee is at 90 degrees. Cross the other leg over so the ankle is resting on the thigh. To make the stretch less intense, move your buttocks farther from the wall. To make the stretch more intense, move your buttocks closer to the wall, or lightly press the crossed leg away.

Remember to hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds. This is when the real stretching begins, so holding a stretch for anything less than 30 seconds will not increase flexibility. And remember that light stretching is much better than deep, painful stretching.
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Not a bad article – but again there are some points I will address a bit differently in the next article – stay tuned…

Your trainer,

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