Stretching your hips will reduce lower back pain after prolonged sitting, writes Lauren Dobson.
Does your job require long periods of sitting or driving?
Do you sit down to eat dinner and watch TV when you return from work to rest after a hard day?
Maybe you maintain an active lifestyle the majority of the time but when you have to make that one long journey to visit the in-laws at the other side of the country you suffer with lower back pain for days?
Without realising it, a high percentage of the population are ‘chronic sitters’.
When we sit, our hips roll back into flexion. This then leads to a reduced lumbar (lower back) curve, tightening the hip flexors and most importantly, causing lower back pain.
Addressing the hip flexors
There are too many effects of prolonged sitting to list in this one article and it is very much easier said than done for us to advise you to limit the amount of time sitting by taking regular breaks every 20 minutes. For those people who work in office jobs, the chances of having three breaks an hour would just be laughed at.
By addressing one major structure of the body, the hip flexors, this can help reduce your lower back pain and you can start the journey of reducing tightness in the lower back.
Your lower back may be the area of which causes you the most pain, but you need to understand why it could be occurring in the first place and get to the root of the problem to reduce the pain, and the frequency of it returning.
One of the major hip flexor muscles, the psoas, not only flexes the hip, but is also attached to the five lowest vertebra of the spine. When the psoas shortens and tightens due to the sitting position (prolonged hip flexion), it can pull on the lumbar spine, creating a sensation of tightness in the lower back region.
There are a number of different modified hip flexor stretches out there that have been recommended by health care professionals.
So why don’t you try the following exercises (click on each one for the full view) ….
Other key issues caused by long periods of sitting are;
- Weakened abdominal/core muscles
- Thoracic spine and ribs tightness and reduced mobility
- Poor muscle function of the hips, spine and shoulders
Some of these can be treated simply by basic glute and core activation exercises, self-massage techniques using the Active Foam Roller and movement exercises throughout the day.
Why not try adapting your daily routine, involving various stretches and self-massage techniques to get you through your working week with less pain.
For more advice on lower back pain please book in with one of our therapists for an initial assessment at either one of our clinics in Leicester, Loughborough or Melton Mowbray.