A stiff back is more easily injured than a flexible one. Dr Warrick Botha, a Chiropractor in Sandton, has some fantastic exercises to improve your spinal flexibility. The main focus of spinal flexibility should be extension (backward bending) because of the constant repetitive flexion (forward bending) that is done on a daily basis. With this in mind, you should never overstretch your back, so when doing these exercises, only go as far as your body allows. If there is any pain or discomfort when performing these stretches, stop immediately.
The Beginner Lumbar Extension Stretch:
Lie on your stomach with your forearms down and your elbows on the ground next to your shoulders. Keep your hips on the floor at all times, but lift your upper back, shoulders and head towards the ceiling. Hold this position for a few seconds, then lower your body back to the floor and repeat 10 times. Only when this movement can be easily performed and pain free do you move on to the exercises below.
The Full Lumbar Extension Stretch:
Lie on your stomach with your hands on the ground next to your shoulders. Straighten your arms slowly, keeping your hips on the floor at all times, but lift your upper back, shoulders and head towards the ceiling. Hold this position for a few seconds, then lower your body back to the floor and repeat 10 times.
The Advanced Lumbar Extension Stretch:
If you can easily perform the full lumbar extension stretch described above, then the advanced version of this stretch can be attempted. While lying on your stomach with your knees bent, reach backwards and grab your ankles. Gently pull on your ankles and lift your chest off of the floor. If possible, also lift your knees. Hold the position for 30 seconds and then relax.
Repetition of these exercises over a period of time will increase the extension flexibility of your back and counteract all the flexion (forward bending) done by our bodies on a daily basis. Warrick Botha, the best chiropractor Sandton has to offer recommends doing at least one of these exercises daily.