Lucky you – I want to share two great ways to relieve low back pain, and I don’t see them listed on the web yet (or at least my quick search didn’t find them).
First, a funny exercise stretching the spine and rotating the pelvis. Quadruped, down on all fours. Place your hands and feet on the floor in this pattern. One hand and knee are relatively close together. On your other side, place hand and knee farther apart from each other.
As you lean your body straight forward and back, with your gaze on the floor and your head/spine moving in this straight line, your hips will rotate gently. It may feel odd.
Simply pay attention to the fact that your head is moving forward over your hands and back again – as seen in these photos. The first time you do it, it may feel awkward, but it really opens up space inside. It can bring quick relief to the tight muscles and sinews, the stuck places in your low back and pelvis.
Let yourself glide back-and-forth gently about 20 times on one side. Then adjust hand and knee placement accordingly for 20 stretches on the other side.
I don’t know why we don’t see this lumbar stretch mentioned more often, but it can ease pain.
Secondly here’s a passive way to adjust the pelvic bones. The pelvis is like a bowl with two halves. When these get torqued out of alignment, one leg may be pulled up slightly shorter than the other. This misalignment might cause pain in the low back or hips.
First find out whether one heel is shorter than the other. It might be a difference of only a few millimeters. You may need a friend to look at your heels. Align your body well, try to be straight, and then check.
If you do have one leg shorter, this is the leg where you will place a wedge under the thigh – the very top of the thigh, nearly under the butt cheek, as shown. The other wedge will go directly across from it under the top edge (iliac crest) of the opposite hip. So this straight line of wedges looks like a diagonal line running underneath your hips, as shown.
You can use upside down sneakers for this method; they will do the job fine.
Relax, breathe deeply into your belly, and allow your bones to gently reset with this assistance. Stay in this position for 5 to 10 minutes. See how you feel. (Muscle test it, if you like to do that.) Then gently release these supports and check your leg length again. Hopefully your heels will be equalized or somewhat more equal than they were before. You can try it again for a longer time if you like. Oftentimes this passive method brings great relief and alignment.
(I learned both of these approaches from chiropractors.)
Our back has many thin sheets of muscle which can get stronger with consistent exercise. One of my favorite back strengtheners is portrayed this simplified superman pose, gentle enough to do if you are coping with pain. Start on all fours. Extend your right arm and left leg, then back to all fours, then extend them again, 10-20 times. Repeat on the other side, with your left arm and right leg, for another 10-20 times.
Meanwhile, if you want to stretch your mind, find out if there’s a stressor in your life that may relate to your back pain. Fears or restrictions of some kind? What’s bothersome? If you don’t want to look at this, no worries. (Pack it in ice, the great anti-inflammatory.)
In my life, I often find an emotional reason for my crimped spine. If I can face it and let it go, the back feels better 🙂 Is my spine asking me to make some sort of adjustment in my life? Some alignment in my overall approach to things? Who knows? I’m just saying . . .
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