How Stretching Before Physical Activity Can Prevent Back Pain

Kate Keenan blog

Whether you are a fitness novice or a top-tier athlete stretching is a vital part of any fitness routine. If you choose not to stretch before working out, you increase the chance of injury to your knees, shoulders, and back. Learning the benefits and some exercises for lower back pain can go a long way to preventing damage – no matter your fitness level.

Remember, always speak to a healthcare professional before participating in any exercise for back pain.

How Can Stretching Prevent Back Pain?

Stretching has been shown to increase flexibility by retraining the nervous system to a new “normal” allowing you to stretch further. Muscles become more supple, and by stretching you also improve the strength of the muscles in your core, legs, and back.

Stretching the muscles, ligaments, and tendons that support the spine is essential for alleviating any discomfort. By stretching, you can increase flexibility, reduce tension in the muscles around the spine, providing relief from pain, and in the long term, reduce the risk of disability.

Good Stretches to Minimize Back Pain

When it comes to minimizing the risk of back pain, it is crucial for you to be familiar with the good and the bad stretches; otherwise, you run the risk of doing further damage to an already painful area. Here are some exercises for lower back pain that should help you improve muscle strength and provide greater mobility in your back.

  • Hamstring stretches – Stretching the legs is a critical step to avoid injury to your back. Hamstring stretches are a gentle way to begin your physical activity and give you a platform to go on and do more strenuous exercises.
  • Partial crunches – this exercise is a great way to strengthen your stomach and back muscles.
  • Bridging – when done correctly bridging is one of the best ways to stretch the muscles in your back and get the spine moving. Bridging allows you to extend the back to the point you feel most comfortable, and as you do more, you will feel your mobility increase.

Other exercises worth exploring include wall sits, press up back extensions, bird dog, knee to the chest, and pelvic tilts.

Bad Stretches

Often knowing what stretches you shouldn’t do is one of the ways you can prevent back pain. If you begin feeling anything more than “mild” discomfort, you should stop what you are doing.

If you are experiencing back pain, the following exercises can exacerbate the problem.

  • Toe touches – this stretch can put a lot of pressure on your ligaments and discs in your back, potentially causing you to suffer a herniated disc. This exercise is best avoided if you are worried about back pain.
  • Sit-ups – While you may feel sit-ups strengthen your core and abdominal muscles, you are more likely to be putting undue strain on the disks in your back. Avoid doing them as a pre-workout stretch.
  • Leg lifts – Increasing the strength in your lower back is a great way to help relieve back pain. But be careful leg lifts is very demanding of your core muscles, and if they aren’t strong enough, this can make your back pain worse.

Final Thoughts

Stretching before exercise is a vital part of reducing and preventing back pain. However, it is important to listen to your body. If you begin experiencing acute pain in the back, you should stop what you are doing and consult a doctor. Less can be more, and gradual increases in intensity will yield better results in the long term.

Kate's interest in the medical field began with her mother, who worked as a Special Care Nursery nurse for 50 years. Kate began working in the medical field with a mobile X-ray company, where she continued to foster her interest and learn critical information about a variety of diseases and conditions, along with the processes of diagnosing and treating them. Kate has been writing professionally for 12 years, and she is working on her Masters in English. She loves dogs, good food, and the beach.