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Spinal Mobility


Low back problems are often caused by other areas above or below not moving properly, mainly your hips and/or thoracic spine (upper back).  When your hips and/or thoracic spine do not have the mobility they need to get into extension, which often they do not due to our poor postures and habits we tend to maintain, the lumbar spine needs to more move and work harder to achieve spinal extension.  This causes the muscles in the low back to fatigue, which if continued for a long time or under a significant load (weight) causes a muscle strain or more severe back injury.

A daily focus of yours needs to be mobility of the upper back and stretching of the hip flexors.

Samson (lunge) stretch: Position your legs in a large lunge, with the front leg position with hip and knee both at 90 degrees, the knee of the back leg should be on the floor.  Extend arms overhead and shift your weight forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your hip in your back leg.  Hold for 1-2 minutes.  Perform on both legs.

Foam roll spinal mobility: Lie on a foam roll with the roll perpendicular to your spine just below the shoulder blades, hands behind your head with elbows up toward the ceiling.  Rather than rolling up and down like you see most people do, keep the roller at one level and extend/arch your back over the roll.  Perform a couple repetitions and then roll slightly so the roll is 1-2 inches higher on your back.  Think about making your spine segmentally shift at each level.

Open book: Lie on your side with knees bent and arms both outstretched in front of you.  Rotate the top hand around, trying to get your keep your knees and non moving arm on the floor while you attempt to get both shoulders and moving arm to the floor.  Your head/eyes should follow your moving arm.

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