Pedralta World Fusion®

The Back - Back Pain & Stretches

 

I often have people coming to class with low back pain, so I have decided to publish a series of articles dealing with the anatomy of the back, what you can do to help, and how dance can benefit you. This article follows on from our article on the anatomy of the back and posture.

The Causes of Back pain

Sprains and strains

Sprains and strains in the soft tissues around the back are common everyday events. Sometimes you move suddenly, lift something awkwardly or 'catch' yourself off guard. These sorts of injuries usually heal in a short period of time.

Slipped disc

A slipped disc is where the jelly-like 'shock absorber' between one of the vertebra bulges (prolapses) though its outer 'skin'. It can then press against a nerve and cause pain. This can also give feelings of sciatica (pins and needles in the leg). A slipped disc can last for up to 6 weeks before it settles down.

Slipped Disc

Long term back injuries and conditions

There are many (rarer) long term back conditions that are beyond this article and which require specialist treatment. They include conditions such as bone conditions (e.g., osteoporosis), arthritis.

Persistent pain

Persistent pain is a real problem that can seriously affect people's everyday lives. Persistent pain is also called chronic pain. It is pain that goes on for a lot longer than the original injury.

Chronic pain can sometimes set up an unhealthy cycle of behaviour where someone avoids being active because of the pain, and gradually becomes unfit. As the muscles become weaker, and the joint gets used less, the pain can get worse, causing the person to avoid activity even more.

Persistent pain

Stretches to help

Stretching:

  • Helps improve flexibility
  • Helps improve posture
  • Removes stress and tension
  • Allows blood flow to increase to ligaments and muscles.

Together these help reduce the cramps and spams, helps keep the injury site healthy and can help reduce pain.

You should check with your treating medical people before you start any exercise.

Stretches should never be used as a warm-up. They should be performed when the muscles are warm, after a walk or other exercise.

When stretching:

  1. Don't 'bounce' into and out of a stretch (definitely a No! No!)
  2. Don't push too far - it should feel like a gentle stretch, more flexibility will come with time and practice.
  3. Move slowly and smoothly.
  4. Remember to breath (don't hold your breath).
  5. In a class setting don't try to match yourself with others around you. Everyone is different.

You should check with your treating medical people before you start any exercise.

If the pain gets much worse or you experience any heat or burning in the affected area, stop and get advice.

Some stretches for your back

Back stretches to help with back pain from Pedralta on Vimeo.