“Lower Back Pain and Sitting, The 21st Century Killer!”

Brett Fischer, PT,ATC,CSCS,CERT DN

Lower back pain (LBP), is one of the most common ailments and most painful that we see at the Fischer Institute. In fact, we have seen an increase over the past 5 years in the amount of patients who are suffering with LBP. I believe that most of this can be attributed to our culture change. Yes, that’s right, cultural change! With the advent of the computer and smartphones people are sitting for longer periods of time than ever before. “Sitting is the new smoking” is the term now used by many health care analysts.

Prolonged sitting shortens so many of the hips muscles which then in turn pull onto your lower back vertebrae because they attach there.  This alone can cause lower back pain. Furthermore the hip muscles were designed to be flexible and absorb much of human movement. But when these hip muscles shorten due to the excessive sitting, motion in the hips are lost. Then the motion and its stresses are then placed on the next joint up, the lower back. But the lower back was not designed to handle all of these forces. Injury and pain then occurs.

So this month, I want to show you 3 quick and easy stretches for your hips to help alleviate LBP.

1. Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

In this stretch, simply bend the front knee until you feel a stretch on the kneeling side hip. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times on each hip.

2. Opposite knee to chest stretch

This stretch will loosen up the hip rotators in your hip ( located in the back part of your hips).
Lie on your back and pull your knee toward your opposite shoulder (i.e. right knee pulled toward left shoulder). Make sure you get the knee to go past the midline of your torso.
Your other hand is under the right lower leg and pulls upward toward the right shoulder. Perform this stretch for 30 seconds for 3 repetitions.

3. Hip Internal Rotation stretch

Lie on your back and gently place your left ankle on top of your right knee. Place your right foot out to the side so it is resting on the inside of you right foot. Then gently push the right knee downward with your left ankle. Make sure you keep your lower back flat on the floor. Feel this stretch in your right buttock region and NOT in your knee. (If you feel knee pain, change the amount of bend in the knee and try again). Once again, attempt 3 sets of 30 seconds on both hips.

You can perform these on a daily basis so you are counteracting your daily sitting time!

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