Relieving lower back pain should not be approached using the “band-aid” method: focusing on the exact site of the chronic pain as the source of the problem. Here are three ways to kill lower back pain that you may not have thought of before.
1. Foam Roll Your Hip Flexors
Tight hip flexors can be the culprit of back pain because when they’re short and tight, they can pull the spine into an overarched position and cause unwanted forward flexion. To really increase hip range of motion, you’ll need a foam roller.
According to this recent Journal of Sport Rehabilitation study, foam rolling followed by static stretching provides maximal passive hip flexion range of motion compared to stretching alone. Also, add spiderman walks to your warmup routine. It’s a great way to mobilize and open the hips up at the same time.
2. Look at Your Shoulder Mobility
It sounds strange, but improving the range of motion you can achieve at the shoulder joint can actually reduce low back stress. Whenever you press something overhead or reach above the body to pull something down from above, you’re extending the shoulder joint through a long range of motion. A person with poor mobility may try to compensate for limited ROM by placing their back into extension. This can cause spinal compression, pull the hips forward and cause back pain.
Opening up the shoulders through shoulder dislocates can serve as a quick mobilization strategy pre-workout.
3. Engage Your Glutes
The gluteal muscles contract downwards so they actually decompress the spine. That can get rid of a lot of back stress. Focus on exercises that activate the glutes, and work on keeping a relatively neutral spine while doing them.
Source: www.muscleandfitness.com; Lee Boyce; December 12, 2014.