Here are Sarah Key's three most important stretching exercises for back pain. They are all decompressing for the spine. Just doing these exercises each day will make your life worth living again.
For a more in-depth understanding of why the back might be painful, how the skeleton benefits from stretching and what you can do yourself with spinal decompression exercises, see Sarah's Complete Back Pain video package.
Squatting is a something primitive; we used to do it all the time without giving it a second thought. It's not only Nature's way of resting and pulling out compression of the spinal base, it's one of the best exercises you can for back pain (knees permitting, even though it's SO GOOD for the knees, but that's another story). You can do a free-standing squat, although it is better to hold on so that you can get the heels down and feel the traction of a stretching pull throughout the spine, the side ribs and the armpits. If done properly, pulling the tummy in hard, it will give you almost instant back pain relief. Make sure to bounce your bottom minutely towards the floor, trying to lengthen the lower end of the spine.
The lumbar BackBlock is the ultimate of the stretching exercises for back pain. It provides passive hyper-extension of both lumbar spine and hips by putting the body into the anti-sitting posture. The weight of the legs also provides an agreeable lower back stretching exercise that helps restore a lumbar lordosis (arch in the low back). After 60 seconds and a butt lift to slide the block away, this exercise should always be followed by gentle 'knees rocking' for 30 seconds, otherwise the lower back will be sore. Verbal cue: letting the legs roll out and the butt relax, go heavy so the weight of the legs can pull the spine long. (To get the best from the BackBlock routine and to see Steps 2 and 3 demonstrated, it's strongly recommended to watch Sarah Key's 'Back Pain Videos' package).
Bending forward like this is one of the best things you can do for your lower back: it gives the discs a drink. The human spine's penalty for being an upright stack is that it must bend properly to keep the lumbar discs fully hydrated. Hanging at the bottom of the bend momentarily creates a negative pressure that draws water into the discs. Verbal cue: if you are unaccustomed to bending you may need to place a retaining hand on the front of the abdomen, and then moving hands on the thighs, walk down your legs until you can hang. Switch on the butt muscles (gluteals) and pull the tummy in hard to 'unfurl' back to vertical, head coming up last.
For al full understanding of what spinal decompression is and why you need it , read Spinal Decompression Exercises
You lots of back treatment is pure mumbo-jumbo. To fully understand what decompression does at a macro and micro-level read the Scientific Evidence Base for Spinal Decompression
Using the BackBlock for spinal decompression is a central tenet of the Sarah Key method - and knowing you are getting it right makes all the difference. Read here How to Do the BackBlock
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