Whether it’s sitting at a desk for 8 hours or lifting heavy weights at the gym, most of us spend a lot of time compressing our spine every day. These compressive forces conspire to throw our spines out of balance and lead to early spinal degeneration and arthritic changes.
So if you find yourself feeling the need to “open up” your spine, try this band-assisted back stretch to decompress your intervertebral discs at home! And even better — you don’t need to pay for expensive spinal decompression therapy!
This stretch is similar to the “downward dog” pose in yoga, except that it uses resistance bands to put a gentle stretch on the spine and shoulders.
You’ll need two medium-to-heavy resistance bands – buy them on our online store or at Ascent Chiropractic in Brookfield. Take one band and tie it in a loop around an anchor at waist height, then wrap the loop around your hips.
The second band should be also be tied in a loop around an anchor near the floor and hooked around your wrists. Wrapping the second band around your wrists instead of simply grabbing it with your hands allows you to relax better and prevents forearm fatigue while you’re doing the stretch.
Give your body time to ease into the position – this gives your muscles a chance to relax and lets your brain realize that you’re not going to get hurt. Your muscles may spasm a bit in the beginning, but this is natural, especially if you’re not used to stretching.
Feel free to add movement during this stretch to target areas that need attention. If you want to focus the stretch on your vertebrocostal joints, for example, just rotate your upper body until you feel the stretch at your rib heads.
For low back pain relief, shift your hips from side to side until you feel the lower spinal erectors stretching and facet joints opening.
Hold the position for up to 3 minutes.
Don’t do this stretch before your workout or between weightlifting sets. In fact, recent studies suggest you really shouldn’t be doing any static stretching before gym sessions and instead stick to active warm-ups.
Contrary to popular belief, static stretching actually impedes your body’s performance. Runners run more slowly, jumpers jump less high, and weight lifters lift less when they stretch beforehand. Plus, studies show static stretching before exercise really does nothing to prevent injury.
This stretch is great, however, for your post-workout cool down. It can also be added into your daily stretching routine for pain relief or mobility purposes.
Between every one of the vertebrae in your spine are fluid-filled structures called intervertebral discs. Gravity – along with what we do all day – is constantly compressing these discs from the moment you get up in the morning, squeezing out the fluid throughout the day. When you go to bed, that vertical compression on your spine is gone and the discs are able to rehydrate and expand again.
But because these discs don’t contain their own blood supply, it’s not instant, and their ability to rehydrate fully diminishes as we age. This is why it’s beneficial to rehydrate these discs with manual decompression from time to time, allowing oxygen and nutrient-rich fluid to be “sucked” back into the discs.
This spinal decompression stretch is a fantastic way to relieve minor back aches and stiffness, but if you’re struggling with back pain – even if you’ve already being treated by your primary care physician – don’t skip on chiropractic care. Research says it can drastically improve your results.
Looking for a Brookfield chiropractor? We’d love to help you get started with chiropractic care. Make an appointment at Ascent Chiropractic in Brookfield by calling 262-345-4166 or schedule an appointment with our online scheduling app.