By WIN Contributor: Jennifer Lepere, PT, DPT
Winter is around the corner in the Niagara area and that means snow is also on its way. With snow comes shovelling. The combination of the activity of shovelling and the frigid cold weather puts you at risk for potential back pain/soreness or even injury. At WIN Health Solutions Niagara, we promote a healthy lifestyle which includes prevention. One of the best ways to prevent back injury is daily stretching. A few minutes of stretching before and after shovelling your driveway or any activity during this time of year can make quite a difference to the overall health of your back.
Here are the Top Ten stretches to prevent back pain or injury:
1. Pelvic Tilt
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Draw your belly button towards your spine and gentle flatten your back in a pain-free range.
2. Lumbar Rotations
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Gently rock from side to side in a pain-free range.
3. Knee to Chest
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Gently bring one knee towards your chest until a stretch is felt in your buttock. Hold 5-10 seconds and return to starting position.
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Gently bring your belly towards your spine and then lift your buttock up from the bed in a pain-free range. Hold 3-5 seconds and return to starting position.
5. Piriformis Stretch
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Place one ankle on the opposite knee and bring that knee towards your chest until a stretch is felt in your buttocks. Hold 5-10 seconds.
6. Hamstring Stretch
Lie on your back with a towel or belt around one foot. Keeping your knee straight, lift your leg up until a stretch is felt in the back of your leg. Hold 10-15 seconds. Repeat on opposite leg.
7. Prone Press Up
Lie on our stomach and gently extend your arms until you feel a stretch in your back. If you are unable to get into this position without pain, try propping up on your elbows. Hold 3-5 seconds.
8. Bird Dog
Start on all fours as shown in top picture. Draw your belly button towards your spine and extend one arm and opposite leg. May sure not to arch your back or turn your hips. Hold 3-5 seconds and return to starting position. Repeat on opposite side.
9. Standing Back Extensions
Start with your hands place in the small of your back. Keeping your knees straight, gently and slowly lean back until a stretch is felt in your low back in a pain-free range. Hold 3-5 seconds.
10. Deep Squat
Start in a standing position, keeping the weight on your heels and your feet flat, try to squat as far down as you can without falling, staying in a pain-free range.
Try these top ten stretches before and after going out in the snow to prevent low back pain. Come into to WIN Health Solutions Niagara to see one of our therapists for more ways to keep your back healthy this coming winter season.