Hardiman Performance Blog

Optimising Human Performance through movement

back pain series

The Back Pain Series

By: | Tags: | Comments: 2 | October 15th, 2015

BACK PAIN SERIES

My top 5 all time favourite stretches for back health.

Get stuck in. Have a play with them and find one that works for you. Once you have found it, double down on it and master it.

Then reap the pain relief benefits.

Enjoy kidos!

SUPINE PSOAS STRETCH

Sitting all day ultimately leads to tight hips. Tight hips can lead to a painful back. More detail about how this can happen is contained is this previous post.

This particular stretch works wonders for those who are desk based, drive for a living or spend lots of time at the gym doing leg raises.

You can do this stretch in bed, or on the kitchen table if you require the extra height. If you choose the table option make sure you use a cushion under your buttocks and back to prevent anny discomfort.

Simply let your leg hang off the edge of your base and let gravity do the work! My favourite stretch of all time. Amazing when done well.

NOTE : Do not allow lower back to arch when doing stretch. Your lower back should be in a neutral position, flat against the surface you are lying on.

SUPINE KNEE HUGS

This exercise is a life saver. Such a basic exercise and can be done fairly comfortably with most types of back pain. I would struggle to count the amount of times this stretch has saved me after I have been laid up on the floor in agony with my back after a hard training session.

This stretch is gentle and may just give you enough muscular and joint relaxation and pain relief to get up off the floor if your back goes when you are not expecting it. No longer will you have to rely on others to peel you from the floor.

This stretch is maninly focussed on the lower back but like shown in the video, can be used to stetch out other areas slightly higher with a small tweak.

JEFFERSON CURL

A slightly more advanced back exercise which is designed to restore full range of motion and function in both flexion (forward bending) and extension (back bending) in the spine.

Now you don’t want to be doing this exercise if you are in a lot of pain with your back or if you are suffering from sciatica type symptoms. These symptoms are discussed here.

If however you are in the recovery phase of your pain, this exercise might be a good one to introduce to start to restore full function. Getting your back, back to a healthy state with full movement is vital to prevent future episodes of pain.

This is an exercise I use every single day. Make it a habit and you will really start to notice some serious improvements in the way your back feels, moves and even looks.

THORACIC REACH THROUGHS

The thoracic spine (mid to upper back) is an interesting area. Although not uncommon to have pain in this area it certainly does not give patients as many issues as the lower back and neck. Well not directly anyways.

This part of your back, just like other areas is designed to move. Unfortunately modern lifestyle had led to a significant decrease in our abilities to use this area to full function. Sitting, texting, lifting weights can all lead to a tightening and stiffening of this part of our backs.

As this area stiffens we overstrain other areas (lower back and neck) as we attempt to produce the movements in those areas that we are lacking in the mid part of our back. Rotation is one of the most important functions of the thorax. Golfers, Boxers, MMA athletes pay attention. Restoring rotation through this part of your back (if restricted) should increase your power output. Better drive, Harder Punch etc etc.

Restore your rotation through this area and you may also be pleasantly suprised how much your lower back and neck pain also improve.

HINGED THORACIC EXTENSION

Yet another exercise with a huge focus on improving function in the mid to upper part of your back but this time with a focus on increasing extension. Being hunched over our smart phones all day can really takes its toll.

If you suffer with a build up of gradual mid back pain throughout the day at work then this exercise will be highly benefical. This exercise is simple and highly effective. In the video I use a foam roller but a rolled up towel can be equally as effective.

I have a natural iffinity for being hunched over. Even looking back at videos and photos from my youth this is fairly clear. Now I still stand slightly rounded through the upper part of my back but thanks to my mobility work through the area I am now able to produce full extension. Something I lacked up until a few years ago. On a side note, the pain I used to have in that area is also a distant memory.

Good extension through this area will also protect your lower back and neck.

And thats a wrap!

If you enjoyed this post make sure you give it a little share and help others to benefit from what you have been learning today.

TAKE HOME MESSAGE

We have covered a lot in todays post and I am sure some of you may be feeling a little overwhelmed.

Well don’t!

Introduce an exercise and see how you get on with it. Do it morning and night for a week. Assess your movement and pain on day 1 and day 8. See how you feel. If it helps, keep it. If it don’t, bin in and move onto the next one.

I have purposely covered a wide area here and for that reason I can almost guarantee that there will be at least 1 exercise (if not much more) that can help you with your back pain!

Have a nice day.

Catch you soon…..

Comments

2 thoughts on “The Back Pain Series

  1. Jordan Shinn

    Great post, Dale!

    The Jefferson Curl is definitely controversial. Many professionals say that since most people are subject to excessive spinal flexion already, the lift is a redundancy. For athletes that need tons of flexion like gymnasts, there may be no way around it.

    Reply

    • Dale Hardiman

      Hey Jordan, Thanks for the comment.

      I’m from a Martial Arts background and work with many MMA and BJJ guys. Tolerance to loaded spinal flexion (and just about every other position and range) really couldn’t be more important. No redundant movements or lifts in my opinion. Just different lifts for different needs.

      I like to encourage all to be strong in a loaded and flexed position. There is so much fear around this position for the average person. If we can decrease the perceived threat of flexion and build load tolerance in this position also, I would say that most may benefit from the lift.

      Reply

Leave a Reply