So what makes for a stiff back?
– Prolonged sitting/ slouching, not limited to long commutes, hunched over a computer, and sitting on the couch!
– Improper lifting techniques, so many people say “lift with your legs” but do not really know that it means squatting down to pick something up.
– Poor exercise techniques, you have to move for the discs in your spine to be provided with nutrients, so just sitting still is usually not a great idea unless you have an actual injury or event that requires rest.
– Arched back while planking or performing squats and deadlifts. The spine should always be in a neutral position, this even includes the neck!
– Too much focus on working out the chest and arms. If the pecs and biceps muscles are overly developed without proper development of the posterior muscles that oppose those groups, this usually results in the shoulders, lower neck, and upper back becoming over worked.
– – -What are some things I can do at home to help this stiff back? – – –
Cat / Camel: The cat/ camel is a floor based exercise done out of the quadruped position and allows for the entire thoracic spine to be worked at once.
– Start positioned on the ground on your hands and knees with your chin retracted
– Hands should be at shoulder width apart, and knees at hip width apart
– Take a deep breath in and arch your back, and hold this position for a count of 5 seconds to start and add time as your ability to hold the position without pain increases
– Slowly exhale and allow your mid back to sag, hold this position for a count of 5 seconds to start and add time as your ability to hold the position without pain increases, make sure to maintain chin retraction and do not go into neck extension
– This counts as one rep, each set should include between 8-12 reps
Child’s pose: Child’s pose is good stretch that ties in the thoracic spine with the upper extremities.
– We prefer to use a yoga ball (aka Swiss ball) to get a better stretch, and it helps you to avoid lumbar flexion (ie the low back flexing forward towards the thighs).
– If you don’t have a yoga ball you can use a chair or couch, or use the floor. If at any time you experience any shoulder or low back pain stop the exercise.
– Start by kneeling with your hands on the stability ball
– Allow your mid back to relax and slightly sag while maintaining chin retraction and a neutral cervical spine (keep your neck in a comfortable, straight position).
– Hold this position for as little as 5 – 10 seconds when you are starting out, but with some practice, it is common to hold this position for 30 – 40 seconds.
These are simply tips for a stiff back and should NOT be considered to be medical advice. If you are having back pain and need some help getting yourself back to normal, please feel free to give the office us a call!
Dr Mark Kemenosh and Associates – South Jersey Chiropractors – 856-228-3100
All of our Chiropractors are certified in Active Release Technique!