Category: Back Stretches

Entegra Health | Remedial Massage Melbourne

Lower Back Stretch

lower back stretch

At Entegra Health, Parkville, a common area of muscular concern is lower back pain. Whilst lower back pain often involves a variety of factors and muscles contributing to dysfunction; the primary muscles commonly involved are: the Quadratus Lumborum (QL), Piriformis (Gluteus muscles), Iliopsoas (Hip Flexors), Hamstrings and Adductors.

What Is the Main Lower Back Muscle?

lower back stretchThe QLs are the primary lower back muscles, and deepest abdominal muscles. They are located between the lower back, above the sacrum (tail bone) and the final rib. The QLs originate in the lower back/sacrum and insert into the anterior (front) of the pelvis.

What Are the Functions of the QLs?

The QL muscles function in association with the Hip Flexor muscles in the front of the pelvis, the spine and ribs, to support actions involving lateral (side to side) extension and flexion of the torso. The QL muscles are also considered pelvic stabilizers, actively involved in an anterior (front), or posterior (back) tilt. In contrast, the Hip Flexors act as antagonists, functionally alternating between lengthening, or stretching, and contraction.

Due to the attachment of the QL muscles to the lower ribs, the QL muscles also support respiration (breathing) to an extent, in conjunction with the upper thoracic (Rhomboid and Pectoral) and intercostal muscles (muscles between the ribs).

What Tension Related Problems Can Occur in the QLs? | Lower Back Stretch

At Entegra Health Parkville, common conditions of the QL muscles include standard lower back tension related conditions, to persistent (chronic) inflammatory conditions. More severe although common conditions associated with the QL muscles include Bulging Disc (herniated spine), and Sciatica, involving inflammation of the sciatic nerve located between the vertebrae in the lumbar spine.

Symptoms commonly present with QL tension may include pain in the lower back, and/or reduced range of motion in side-to-side actions. Other common symptoms associated with acute QL tension and/or pain may include difficulty with basic daily tasks including standing from a sitting position, putting on shoes, or getting dressed.

Common aggravating factors associated with general tension or soft tissue injuries, may include:

  • Repeated use causing strain, or overuse of lower back (QL) muscles
  • Weak abdominal muscles
  • Increase in lower back weight bearing loads (i.e weighted squats)

How Can I Reduce Lower Back Muscular Tension?

At Entegra Health, we highly recommend consulting your Remedial Massage therapist during your treatment (or through a Telehealth Consultation), to determine the most appropriate treatment management plan for you. Common management plans may include a combination of regular Remedial Massage treatments, and self care options including stretching and/or strengthening programs, to effectively reduce general muscular tension of the QL muscles between Remedial Massage treatments.

Lower Back Stretch

Many simple stretches exist to effectively lengthen and reduce tension in the QL muscles of the lower back (see Entegra Health stretch library). Stretching the QL muscles may also assist the reduction of tension in the knees and ankles, therefore also reducing the potential for soft tissue related conditions such as plantar fasciitus.

Strengthening

Strengthening the QL and abdominal muscles is important to effectively support stabilization of the pelvis and lower back. Exercises to strengthen the QL muscles include free weights to strengthen the lower back, and the abdominal muscles. Examples of supportive exercises include crunches/sit-ups and weighted squats.

Enquiries

For further information regarding Remedial Massage, or treatment options, please contact us via email. Access to free online resources including stretch and exercise video resources can also be found on our website.

Enterga Health
Lower Back Stretch
Remedial Massage Melbourne

Glute & Lower Back Stretch (Piriformis)

Glute & Lower Back Stretch

Glute & Lower Back StretchLower back pain is a common area of muscular complaint at Entegra Health. Whilst lower back pain often involves a variety of contributing factors to muscular discomfort; the primary muscles commonly involved are: the Piriformis (Gluteus muscles), Iliopsoas (Hip Flexors), Quadriceps (large muscles in the front of the legs), Hamstrings (large muscles behind the leg and Adductors (muscles located along the inner thigh).

Where Are the Piriformis Muscles?

The Piriformis muscles are one of the deepest Gluteal muscles, located beneath the largest Gluteal muscle; the Gluteus Maximus. The Piriformis muscle is shaped like a pear, and therefore named after the fruit (piri). The Piriformis originates in the sacrum in the lower back, and attaches (inserts) at the head of the femur and lateral (side) hip.

What Are the Functions of the Piriformis Muscle?

The Piriformis muscles are responsible for lateral rotation of the hip, in conjunction with the major hip rotators (Glute Major, Minor; Quadriceps Femoris). The Piriformis is also responsible for ensuring smooth extension of the legs such as when walking.

What Tension Related Problems Can Occur in the Piriformis?

At Entegra Health Parkville, common conditions of the Piriformis muscles include general mild to moderate lower back tension related conditions, to persistent (chronic) inflammatory conditions. More severe although common conditions associated with the Piriformis muscles include Bulging Disc (herniated spine), and Sciatica, involving inflammation of the sciatic nerve located between the vertebrae in the lumbar spine.

Symptoms commonly present with Piriformis tension may include pain in the lower back and glutes, and reduced range of motion in bending and lifting actions of the torso. Other common symptoms associated with acute Piriformis tension and/or pain may include difficulty getting out of bed, standing from a sitting position, or getting dressed.

Common aggravating factors associated with general Piriformis tension may include:

  • Repeated use causing strain, or overuse of Piriformis muscles
  • Weak Gluteal muscles
  • Tight hip flexors due to sitting at a desk based position for prolonged periods
  • Increase in lower back/gluteal weight bearing loads (i.e weighted squats)

How Can I Reduce Lower Back Muscular Tension? | Glute & Lower Back Stretch

At Entegra Health, we highly recommend consulting your Remedial Massage therapist during your treatment (or through a Telehealth appointment), to determine the most appropriate treatment management plan for you. Common management plans may include a combination of regular Remedial Massage treatments, and self-care options including stretches and/or strengthening programs, to effectively reduce general muscular tension of the Piriformis muscles between Remedial Massage treatments.

Stretches | Glute & Lower Back Stretch

Many simple stretches exist to effectively lengthen and reduce tension in the Piriformis muscles of the lower back (see Entegra Health stretch library). Stretching the Piriformis muscles may also assist the reduction of tension in the lower back.

Strengthening | Glute & Lower Back Stretch

Strengthening the Gluteal, QL and Abdominal muscles is important to effectively support stabilization of the pelvis and lower back. Exercises to strengthen the Piriformis muscles include squats to strengthen the Gluteal and lower back muscles, and resistance training including lateral (side) leg extensions, leg lifts, and clam exercises.

Enquiries | Glute & Lower Back Stretch

For further information regarding Remedial Massage, or treatment options, please contact us via email. Access to free online resources including stretch and exercise video resources can also be found on our website.

Entegra Health
Massage Melbourne

Cat Cow | Upper and Lower Back Stretch

cat cow stretch

cat cow stretchAt Entegra Health Parkville, we highly recommend gentle stretching techniques between Remedial Massage treatments to effectively manage and prevent muscular tension. Stretching, breath and strength based exercises, also assists the reduction of stress, and facilitates necessary strength required to support the skeletal framework.

Benefits of Cat Cow Stretch

Cat Cow is an excellent full body stretch that effectively releases multiple muscle groups, in two fluid movements. In particular, Cat Cow is an excellent stretch for upper back, neck and shoulder tension; the abdominals, lower back and hips, and mid-thoracic tension. It’s also an excellent warm-up for the entire spine and associated muscles. As a result, Cat Cow stretch often features in various body movement classes.

How To Perform Cat Cow Stretch

Start on your hands and knees (all fours) on the floor, with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips, approximately shoulder width apart. Aim to keep your wrists in line with your shoulders, and your knees directly underneath your hips to ensure correct alignment, and an even distribution of weight loading across the joints.

Position 1 (Cow): Begin by curling your sacrum (tail bone) up towards the sky as high as possible. This requires an anterior (forward) tilt in the pelvis. Drop your lower back, soften the abdominals and begin rolling the spine down along the length of your spine. Continue sequentially rolling the spine down, dropping down between the shoulder blades. Finally, slowly raise the neck and head and extend your gaze towards the sky.

Position 2 (Cat): Imagine a cat curling it’s head and tail down, and arching it’s mid-back up. Starting again from the tailbone, curl it around and down, tucking your ‘tail’, and begin rolling your low to mid-spine upwards, arching your upper back as high as possible and extending your rib cage. Finally, drop your head and neck towards your chest, directing your gaze towards your stomach, making sure to keep your stomach curled in, activating the abdominal muscles.

Continue alternating between each movement slowly, holding each pose for approximately 30 seconds before rolling into the next, approximately three times each. It’s a good idea to rest into a neutral spine; either Tabletop or Child’s Pose afterwards.

Things to Keep In Mind

If you are experiencing neck pain, it is best to avoid overextending the neck throughout this stretch, and instead keep a neutral neck when extending into cow stretch, and avoid dropping the head and neck low in cat pose.

Pregnancy may also make this stretch difficult. It is best not to over-extend beyond your comfort zone, and stop at any point if you experience pain whilst performing the stretch.

Enquiries

If you have any questions regarding this stretch, including its suitability for you, please don’t hesitate to contact us via email; Telehealth consultation or phone. Access to additional free online resources, including our stretch and exercise videos, can be accessed via our website.

Entegra Health
Remedial Massage Melbourne
info@entegrahealth.com.au