Ending Back Pain, Part III: “Why Aren’t My Usual Stretching Exercises Helping My Back Pain Anymore?”

People with chronic lower back pain are familiar with the sensation: you may have had days, weeks, or even months of normalcy, and then — a twinge.  A wince, and it’s back. The only question is, how long is it going to plague you this time around?

Back pain affects a person off and on for years, and unfortunately, the only real ‘solution’ that you get without professional help is to not exert yourself or put any strain on your back — which is almost impossible. Your back is built to take strain; its whole purpose is to hold up your body, after all.

One of the most common suggestions for people who have lower back pain is that they stretch it out. This isn’t a bad suggestion in most circumstances; stretching really can be quite helpful for a stiff or sore back. But for many people who have chronic back pain, a simple stretch doesn’t even begin to touch it. So what do you suggest after that?

First releasing the trigger points, or “landmine knots” that keep your muscles locked up, actually allows your muscles to effectively stretch. You may have tried to stretch your way out of pain, yet scientific research proves that it’s actually your trigger points that lock up your muscles and cause over 80% of chronic muscle pain. Stretching does nothing to relieve trigger points. The only way to release and de-activate trigger points is by self-treatment or seeing a qualified Neuromuscular Therapist.

Stretching may also actually do more harm than good. Stretching is great for preventing problems, but not so much for treating them once they’ve cropped up already.

That’s because stretching your lower back inherently lengthens the muscles and connective tissue in and around your spine. Stretching an already strained muscle or lightly sprained tendon or ligament can weaken the tissue and lead to greater instability or balance problems, which leads to even more back pain.

If you stretch a pained back and find that your pain increases either immediately or the next day, you need to seek the counsel of a neuromuscular therapist. Such an expert is highly qualified to release your trigger points, and tell you about the exercises you need to do in order to overcome your back pain without causing more stress on already-injured muscles.

Generally, a great first step is to add a powerful anti-inflammatory to your regimen. Inflammation is a natural reaction the body has to even minor muscle strains or ligament sprains, and it causes amazing discomfort, especially if it happens near the spine.

Ultimately the best solution is to consult a qualified Neuromuscular Massage Therapist!

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