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Stop Stretching Your Lower Back - Why Your Low Back Actually Feels ‘Tight’

backpain exerciseprogramming physicaltherapy strengthtraining Mar 24, 2021

Many people believe when their muscles feel ‘tight’ they should stretch. It seems intuitive, but when muscles have been ‘tight’ for years on end and the stretching doesn’t seem to have any lasting effect, it’s time to try a new approach.

Albert Einstein said it best, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.”

So, why should you stop stretching your lower back?  As mentioned above if your low back has consistently  felt ‘tight’ especially after certain exercises or activities and stretching only provides temporary relief it might be time to try  something else.

Our bodies are designed in such a remarkable way that every other joint is a stable or mobile joint to provide optimal function and mobility. As we build habits, routines and live an active or sedentary lifestyle we see some joints adapt and shift to be more mobile or less stable working in opposite of their true design. 

For example let’s focus on the low back. The lumbar spine (spine of the low back) is meant to be stable, while looking at the main joints above and below, thoracic spine and hips, are designed to be mobile. When the areas originally designed to be stable are lacking the muscles and ligaments surrounding them will overtime compensate to provide false stability through increased tone or ‘tightness’ in these areas and hypomobile (less mobile) joints above and below. At Inside Out when we take our clients through our evaluation and movement and mobility assessment it’s common to see one if not both the thoracic spine and hips lacking mobility while the lumbar spine is ‘tight’ and has increased mobility but lacks stability and strength. 

So, what do we recommend you do instead of stretching your lower back?  Check out our top 6 exercises to try instead and get you started on the road to sanity for your lower back. 

Quadruped Thoracic Extension/Rotation Mobility

90/90 Hip Internal/External Rotation Mobility

Core Strength - Hollow Hold: Progression 1

 Dead Bug: Core Stabilization

Tall Kneel Pallof Press

 Quadruped Plank

 Try out these 6 exercises daily with consistency for the next week and see how you feel and tune into how your lower back feels throughout the day.

Most people don’t know how to stay healthy and fit without getting hurt. At Inside Out Strength and Performance we provide a clear plan to get you in the best shape of your life, without getting injured, so that you can be active and confident that you’ll feel your best for years to come.

We help North County San Diego’s active moms dealing with pain or injury get back to living a pain-free, strong, and confident life.

We are the Strength Docs who help active adults and runners live a strong, confident, and pain-free life. Fill out our contact form here to get a clear plan and get started.

Follow the Bulletproof Body Exercise Program - A total fitness program that can be performed anywhere, designed by doctors, to help improve mobility, joint health, and strengthen key postural muscles to help you stay active with less pain or injury

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