Facet joints in your spine are the ones that help make your back more flexible. They are the small joints that help you bend and twist. When they are inflamed or not working correctly, you can have a lot of back pain. These stretches and exercises will hopefully help. See Doctor Jo’s blog post about this at:
First, lie on your back with your knees bent. Starting with a single knee to chest stretch, bend one knee and bring your leg up to your chest as far as you comfortably can. Hold this for 30 seconds and do it three times on each side.
The next stretch is called the pelvic tilt. You will roll back onto your back with your knees bent. You want to imagine pushing your belly button into the ground, or push your back flat onto the ground like you are squishing something. You can put your hand under the curve of your back, and try to push your back into your hand. Hold these for about 3-5 seconds.
Now you will do bridging. Push your bottom up off the ground, but try to do this slowly, and do one segment of your back at a time curling upward. Then slowly go down the same way, one segment at a time.
Turn over onto all fours, and then go into the child’s pose. You want to sit down onto your feet. Bow down to the ground and stretch your arms as far forward as you can. This is a great stretch for your mid back and shoulders. You can hold it for 30 seconds up to a minute.
Come back up on your hands and knees in a quadruped position or all fours. Try to keep your back straight like a tabletop, and try to keep your neck in a neutral position so you don’t strain anything. Now lift one arm up and bring in straight forward. Alternate your arms, doing 10 on each side. If that is easy, then do the same thing with your legs, and alternate each side 10 times. If it is still easy, then lift your opposite arm and leg and the same time.
The last stretch will be a cat stretch. The cat stretch is performed by tucking your chin in and arching your back. You can hold this for 30 seconds and do it three times.
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Doctor Jo is a Doctor of Physical Therapy.
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