My practice is in an area that is filled with people that sit at their computer all day. They don’t have the best posture in the world, and they don’t always have the best ergonomic set up for their desks. They are also under a lot of stress. However, usually bad posture, stress, and poor ergonomics will lead to frequent headaches, neck and upper back pain… not low back pain.
Low back pain is usually reserved for those employees doing physical work, a lot of lifting, bending, and stooping. During the times that I’ve seen patients with more physical jobs, most of them presented to my office with low back pain. Now, the top half of their body provides the more abundant symptom.
So if you don’t do physical work all day, why are you getting low back pain? I noticed the same two major muscle groups being tight and stressed over and over again. By stretching these two major areas, a lot of very common symptoms, including low back pain and sciatica seemed to get quick relief. Doing the stretches also seemed to make a difference long term in my patients’ ability to get longer lasting results from their chiropractic care.
The first muscles you should stretch are your hamstrings. You sit all day and the seated position puts them in their shortest position. Standing up means your hamstrings are pulling on your pelvis and pulling things out of place. Keeping this muscle more flexible is key in helping your back pain.
People have the most trouble because they can’t quite get it stretched. First step would be to get off the floor. That’s usually too much! Stand up or sit in a chair and put your leg straight out on a chair. Slowly try to touch your toes. Just go slow and only as far as you can reasonably go without pain. Hold the stretch for at least thirty seconds. Repeat on each side twice. Usually people just don’t hold their stretches long enough to do much good. Consistency will make the difference in getting more flexible.
The next muscles to stretch are your hip rotators. Relieving the muscles here takes a lot of strain off the sciatica problem. For this one, you can even do it while lying in bed or on the floor. Keep one leg straight while you pull your other leg up to your chest. You should feel a pull. You can further stretch this area by pulling your knee across your body to get better results. Again, hold the stretch for at least thirty seconds.
Chances are, you’re not going to stop working on your computer any time soon. Taking a few minutes each day to do some stretching will make a world of difference. Seeing a chiropractor on a regular basis is also a huge help.