Nerve tension in your spine can occur in any part of your back. Bulging or degenerative discs that affect the spinal canal are the most common causes of nerve tension, and can cause significant discomfort, numbness and loss of function. Depending on the severity of the damage that is causing nerve tension, surgery may be necessary. However, in some cases nerve tension can be relieved through flexibility exercise. Always consult your physician to determine which treatment is right for you.
Lying Hamstring Stretch
Increasing flexibility in your hamstrings can help pull your pelvis into its proper alignment, which can take tremendous pressure off of your lower vertebrae. Lie flat on your back on the floor with a cushion for your head. Raise one leg up in the air and hold on to the back of your lower thigh just above your knee. Keep your leg as straight as possible as you gently pull it towards you. Hold for 25 to 30 seconds and switch legs.
Lumbar Extension Stretch
This stretch will relieve pressure off of your lumbar vertebrae as well as your lower thoracic vertebrae. Lie on your stomach flat on the floor with your legs out straight and your toes pointed down. Place the palms of your hands underneath your shoulders with your elbows pointed out. Slowly extend your arms so that your head, chest, and upper abdomen lift off the floor. Once your arms are fully extended at your elbows, hold for 25 to 30 seconds before slowly lowering yourself back to the floor.
This stretch helps relieve tension in the thoracolumbar junction and improves flexibility in your pelvic region. Lie flat on your back on the floor with your legs out straight. Cross your right leg over your left knee and place your right foot flat on the floor. Next, grab the back of your left thigh and gently pull your knee close to your chest so that both feet raise up off the floor. Hold this position for 25 to 30 seconds, relax, and then switch sides.
Swiss Ball Stretch
This stretch will open up the vertebrae in your lower, middle and upper back. Lie on top of a Swiss ball with the middle of your spine on the very top of the ball. Hold your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Slowly lean backwards so that your entire back curves around the ball. Raise your arms up over your head and let your upper body drape over the backside of the ball. Hold for 25 to 30 seconds and slowly raise yourself back up to the top of the ball.
- "Stretching Scientifically: A Guide to Flexibility Training (Fourth Edition)"; Thomas Kurz; 2003
- "Therapeutic Exercise: Foundations and Techniques (5th edition)"; Carolyn Kisner and Lynn Colby; 2007