If everyone has a disease, it is back pain. Although it can appear in different places on our spine in different forms, and for many different reasons, we may all experience some kind of back pain from time to time.
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Although there are various treatments, there are some easy-to-perform movements that can help relieve some tension and pain. Especially one of them is very good: Superman stretching exercises.
In order to better understand back pain, superman stretching and other treatments for back pain, we interviewed Daniel Hass, PT, DPT, a sports physiotherapist.
Common causes of back pain
“Low back pain is very common, and for most people, there is no known specific pathology, such as vertebral fractures, tumors or infections,” Dr. Hass said.
But there are some common and frequent causes of back pain:
- Muscle strain: Whether it’s wrong stretching, weird sleeping posture, or improper posture when trying to lift a heavy object, you may have experienced a back muscle strain at some point.
- Nerve pain: Degenerative changes or disc damage can put pressure on the nerves running down the spine, causing low back pain or leg symptoms. But keep in mind that herniated discs in imaging studies are quite common and may not be related to the back pain you are experiencing.
- Degenerative disc disease: Decreased disc height and other forms of spinal degeneration (often called arthritis) may sound scary, but this may be a normal part of aging. Contrary to popular belief, degenerative disc disease is not the cause of pain, but it may be a factor to consider in your rehabilitation plan.
Even if you do not experience too much back pain, it does not mean that you are not at risk. Dr. Haas said that according to a 2018 study, the biggest risk factors for low back pain are obesity, smoking, physically demanding jobs, and physical and mental comorbidities.
Exercise to help your back
Although this may seem counterintuitive, one way to help relieve low back pain is through continuous activity and exercise. Whether it is a series of exercises and stretching exercises or directed physical therapy, exercise can help relax and strengthen muscles, and sitting for a long time can cause muscles to become stiff.
Of course, all of this makes sense. It’s okay to have a little soreness, but you don’t want to do anything to exacerbate your pain. “The general rule is that if your pain is mild and exercise doesn’t make your symptoms worse, you can give it a try,” Dr. Haas said.
“However, if the symptoms persist or worsen through self-directed exercise,” he added, “it is best to seek the advice of a physical therapist, who can conduct a thorough examination and prescribe a specific rehabilitation plan to meet your needs. “
An autonomous exercise that can help is called “Superman.” Dr. Haas said that Superman exercise is a strengthening and stability exercise, a low-intensity exercise that can be performed every day. It can also strengthen your lower back, thereby preventing pain. Just make sure to make it part of a more comprehensive routine, rather than perform it separately.
- First lie on your back with your legs straight, arms stretched over your head, and your elbows on your ears.
- Next, activate your core muscles and slowly raise your arms and legs vertically upwards, keeping your knees and elbows straight. This position is where this practice gets its name: when he flies, you look like the famous Red Hat superhero.
- Keep your neck in a neutral position, which means you are still looking down on the ground or 6 to 12 inches ahead.
- After reaching the highest position, hold for a few seconds, and then slowly lower your legs and arms to the ground.
However, Dr. Haas added, don’t rest and relax. “Keep the muscles tense, then slowly lift up for another repetition,” he pointed out. “And it’s important to take your time and focus on being in good shape, not to finish your workout in a hurry.”
Perform two sets of 12 to 20 repetitions to complete your training.
What effect does Superman exercise have on your back?
Although it may not allow you to jump over a tall building at once, there are still many benefits to using Superman as part of your daily exercise.
“The Superman Movement aims to strengthen and improve the stability of the waist and hip extensors,” said Dr. Haas. “Because you are also lifting your shoulders in the form of’I’, this is also a useful exercise to improve the strength and stability of the shoulder straps and upper back musculature.”
Because this exercise involves spine stretching, it can strengthen your larger overall extensor musculature, such as the paraspinal muscles (muscles that move up and down along the spine) and the gluteus maximus (the large muscles that make up your hips). “These muscles,” Dr. Haas said, “are important for overall movements such as standing and walking.”
“But you are still activating the smaller and deeper lumbar and pelvic muscles that are important for stability,” he added.
Don’t struggle in pain
the most important is no Do this-and any other exercises-to relieve pain, especially if you have an acute injury.
“Stretching bias exercises like this may exacerbate some injuries,” Dr. Haas said. “This exercise may make your symptoms worse, so start slowly and let the pain be your guide.”
If you have numbness or tingling in your legs or any pain (radical pain), stop and talk to your healthcare provider or physical therapist.
What not to do
Once again, remember to keep your neck in a straight, neutral position. Raising your head may cause severe neck strain. Dr. Hass recommends placing the folded towel on the ground with your forehead resting on it.
Also, don’t go too fast, and don’t use jerky movements. Keep your movements slow, controllable, and steady to make the most of your exercise and avoid injury.
Dr. Haas suggested: “It is best to keep the upward movement of this exercise within a few inches at the beginning to ensure you maintain a good posture and not overwork.” “And you may want to put it under your belly. One or two pillows so you can start from a slightly curved position.”
The bottom line: stay active and healthy
Superman movement is just part of a larger, overall movement picture for you. “The biggest piece of advice I can give to help relieve back pain is to maintain a healthy lifestyle,” Dr. Haas said.
“Stay active,” he added. “Exercise can effectively alleviate low back pain. Although it is not clear which form of exercise is most effective, activity is still the key. Find something active that you like and stick to it.”
And, he said, be sure to consult your healthcare provider or physical therapist to find the method that suits you best.