Can stretching help prevent and treat lower back pain?

If you have suffered from lower back pain in the past, you know that it has a way of slowing you down. Depending on the cause, it may even keep you in bed for quite a bit of time.

Stretching can help prevent and treat lower back pain, so this is something you may want to work into your life as soon as possible. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you start:

  • Spread it out: Rather than cram all your stretching into one long session, tackle your stretches two to three times per day in small spurts.
  • Don't make it worse: As you perform stretches, you may feel that some are making your pain worse. For example, this may happen if you stretch while standing or sitting. Make note of this. Then, avoid these stretches in the future.
  • Don't tough it out: There's nothing wrong with stopping dead in your tracks if you experience pain. Toughing out the pain won't do you any good, so don't take this approach.
  • Combine stretching and exercise: For example, a simple walk after stretching can help strengthen your back muscles and restore you to normal faster.

There are times when stretching can help prevent and treat lower back pain. There are also times when your injury is so severe that stretching will make your pain worse.

If you suffer a back injury on the job, don't assume you can treat it at home. Report the incident to your employer, receive treatment and follow the direction of your medical team. If they suggest time away from work, you may want to find out if you're in a position to collect workers' compensation benefits until you recover.

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