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The world we live in is changing.
We currently live in a fast-paced world with a go-go-go mentality fuelled by the WWW (not wrestling) and 24/7 connectivity. Technology is advancing at an unprecedented level, and the previous loading icons and dial-up noises are in the past. We are now finding ourselves physically unable to keep up with the relentless sea of emails and never-ending work tasks. Skynet is winning.
We are finding ourselves sleeping less, driving more and stuck to our screens. There is no wonder why the prevalence of back pain is through the roof with 70 – 90% of Australians estimated to suffer from back pain at some point.
Fortunately we have the cure – movement ! The ability to move, stretch and frolic at our convenience is the strongest evidence to prevent and manage back pain. However, even this convenience has been taken from us. Often I find myself and others brushing through the warm-up and rushing to the main-course of huffing and grunting, only to regret few moments later.
Here are my favourite recommended stretches for general back pain:
- Cobra – We spend so much time flexed and slouched a day, it’s important to reciprocate
- Hip flexor stretch – Give those hips a nice long stride
- Gluteal stretch – The muscle group you sit and compress on
- Hamstring stretch – Often neural-sensitive, be gentle
- Upper back stretch – your mother was right !
Research for optimal stretching times are confusing and often inconclusive. Here are my recommendations:
- Aim for a strong stretch feeling that is not painful
- Breathing to relax the neuro-muscular system
- Hold for 20secs before a work-out or heavier training, as longer holds may impair strength
- Hold stretches for 1 – 2 minutes to improve flexibility after work-outs
- Avoid long and intense stretch routines 24 hours before a big game
After stretching make sure to use that new range of motion to control and ingrain it !