Sunday, August 16, 2009

Does Stretching Help or Hurt My Aching Back?


If you are suffering from an aching back, stretching may not cure your back pain and in fact may only make it worst! Now I know what you are thinking - You are saying to yourself wait a minute I thought stretching was great for a bad back. Doesn't stretching relax and strengthen my muscles? Doesn't it relieve pain? Aren't stretching exercises the first thing all athletes do before beginning and event like running, swimming, etc.?

The answer is yes. But consider is: Are these types of stretches the ones I should be doing to stop my pain? The answer is no. I know this is frustrating and probably makes you angry. If, like me you have suffered from pain caused by a herniated disc or other back problems you are probably going through a treatment program for your back pain. Right now you are working with a chiropractor or physical therapist, or trying your own exercise program (Yoga, Pilates, pumping iron at the gym, etc.), and not getting relief. Like me you want relief from your pain now! Let me share with you a widely known "secret."

The secret is "Knowledge is Power". Understanding your situation and the condition of your back will enable you to get better care and faster results. The second part of the secret is you have to be your own advocate. By doing this you have more control.The problem is the person working with you may be a caring dedicated professional but they simply don't have the time to share with you everything they know. I realized this myself when I started physical therapy after my back surgery. After a few sessions I began to realize that everyone else at the clinic was doing the same exercises. Regardless of age, sex, health, etc, we all started with the same stretching exercises!

Being a Little more assertive than some I started asking questions. The therapist was patient and explained that these exercises were shown to be effective in most cases and designing custom programs for each patient would be too time consuming. Here's the problem with most stretching movements - they generally work one muscle group against another. For example: The therapist may tell you that your hamstrings are tight and begins to stretch them. But what he/she fails to do is to take other body imbalances into consideration. Failure to consider these imbalances may cause you more harm than good. Click Here For More back Pain relief Tips!

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