Many conditions can cause back pain. Stretching the muscles of your lower back can often ease -- or even eliminate -- the problem. Stretching helps to increase movement in tight muscles, which can relieve pain. If you’re suffering more pain following stretching exercises, however, analyze your routine to determine the cause.
Stretching can aggravate existing problems in your back, such as degenerative disk disease or a herniated disk. Your pain could also be the result of a spinal injury that places pressure on your nerves or spinal cord. If you think that your pain is the result of a mechanical or structural problem, stop stretching and immediately see a doctor. If your condition is the result of a misalignment in your back that is throwing your vertebrae out of line, you may be prescribed exercises to help stabilize your back muscles.
Another problem that can cause an aggravation in your back pain following stretching is an imbalance between your abdominal and back muscles. If your abs are stronger than your back muscles, you may be trying to force weaker muscles to hold back stronger muscles. Stretching these weaker muscles can cause pain because of the force of the stronger muscles pulling on them. Perform muscular balancing and core exercises to help correct this imbalance.
Stretching the Proper Muscles
Often, your back pain can be the result of impulses traveling down your nerves from another area in your body. While stretching exercises are generally known to be effective at easing back pain, stretching the wrong muscles can be the cause of additional pain. Check with your doctor to determine the exact cause of your back pain. He may be able to show you some exercises to target the proper muscles and get your back pain under control.
Pushing Too Hard, Too Fast
If you’ve lived a sedentary lifestyle for years and have just recently decided to get in shape, you may be pushing your back muscles past their ability to stretch. When stretching your back, go as far as you can without feeling serious pain. Going past this point can cause micro-tears and muscle strains. Try stretching to the point that you’re feeling a lengthening of the muscle and hold it for 20 to 30 seconds. This will give your muscles time to get used to this lengthening and adapt to the additional stresses placed on it.