Osteoporosis and poor range of motion(ROM) are two major causes of low back pain in the older, and also the less active individuals. However, back stretching devices along with proper back stretching techniques can help to strengthen the back muscles and increase the overall range of motion of the back.
Osteoporosis is characterized by a loss in bone mineral density or bone mass.
Although it is particularly seen in postmenopausal women, you will also see several cases of osteoporosis in men and is genetically influenced. Common sites include the hip, wrist, and vertebrae. In the spine osteoporosis can lead to an actual compression of vertebrae. A person afflicted with this condition may show extreme curves in the spine as well as loss of flexibility or range of motion(ROM). Thus, osteoporosis can reduce spine range of motion by damaging vertebrae.
Poor ROM (Range of Motion)
Although ROM is a major factor in cases of low back pain, however, there can more than cause for your low back pain. It should be noted, however, that individuals with chronic low-back pain can perform therapeutic stretching exercises to improve trunk and hip-joint ROM. There are also several back pain relief products or back stretching devices available on the market to help with lower back pain exercises. However, caution should be exercised when using these back stretching devices! Always follow product manual instructions.
A very important concept to understand is that the flexion movement between the rib cage and the sacrum is in essence a straightening of one’s “normal” Lordotic curve.
Although there may be a progressive decline in spinal mobility in all planes with aging, there are sport medicine specialists who believe that there is a greater decline in extension movement because this movement is used less as a person ages.
There are others who argue that extension of the spine is an issue often ignored or misinterpreted in exercise programs. Although ballistic extension movements of the spine and ballistic rotation movements are totally inappropriate, however, slow-sustained stretching or “slow and controlled” extension movements to strengthen the erector spinae muscles of the back(they help keep the body erect) are appropriate for inclusion in exercise programs; as long as active back extension does not exceed the upper limit of normal lumbar lordosis (the natural curve of the lumbar region/lower back).
Back Stretching Exercises Techniques
1. Ballistic stretching
2. Slow-sustained stretching
Note:Each of the above stretching exercise technique has certain advantages.
Ballistic or dynamic stretching exercises are done with jerky, rapid, and bouncy movements that provide the necessary force to lengthen the muscles. This method of stretching helps to develop flexibility. However, the jerky, rapid and bouncy movements may cause muscle soreness and injury from small tears to the soft tissue.
Slow- sustained stretching
With slow- sustained stretching technique, muscles are lengthened gradually through a joint’s complete range of motion, and the final position is held for a few seconds. This stretching approach helps the muscle to relax and thereby achieve greater length. Slow-sustained stretching causes little to no pain, and there is also a low risk for injury. These stretching exercises are the most frequently used and recommended for flexibility-development programs.
Due to the fact that there are several causes of low back pain, the recommended correct approach to lower back pain treatment is to first consult a back pain specialist for a correct diagnosis, followed by pharmacological intervention if necessary, and exercise regimen. However, since poor ROM is known to be one major cause of low back pain, one should frequently engage in low back exercises aimed at stretching and strengthening the back muscles to improve flexibility and overall ROM of the back. Maintaining the correct posture, when sitting, standing,driving, and sleeping is also extremely helpful in reducing risk of low back pain.