Facet syndrome is a condition where the joints of the spine wear out over time and compress the soft tissue, leading to inflammation and pain in the nerves. Stretching exercises are part of a treatment program for facet syndrome along with yoga, meditation, ab exercises and exercises to strengthen the back. The exercises target not only the back, but the muscles directly below the back because when these are tight, they pull on the muscle fibers in the back.
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Stretching the back releases tension in the muscles that attach to the spine. The back flexion stretch is an exercise that lengthens the spine from the top to the bottom. To perform this stretching exercise, lie on your back with your legs straight and the back of your head resting on the floor. Then, pull your knees to your chest and lift your head off the floor, dropping your chin to your chest. Tilting your head forward lengthens the spine from the top. Bringing your knees up causes the lumbar spine to lengthen. Hold this stretch for 15 seconds.
The glutues maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus are all muscles of the buttocks. These muscles connect to the pelvis and when tight, they pull on your lower back. To stretch the glutes, lie face-down and bend your right leg up and under your abdomen. Place your hands on the floor in line with your shoulders and then bend your elbows to slowly bring your chest toward the floor. The lower you move, the greater the stretch in your right glutes. Switch legs. Hold this stretch for 15 seconds.
The hamstrings are a group of muscles that start at your pelvis and run down the back of your thigh. Tight hamstrings can affect the back and spine as can tight glutes. An exercise to lengthen the hamstrings is the seated hamstrings stretch. To perform this exercise, sit on the floor, extend your left leg straight and place the sole of your right foot against your left inner thigh. Relax your right leg on the floor. Then, bend forward and reach for the toes of your left foot. Switch legs. Hold this stretch for 15 seconds.
The piriformis is a muscle in the hips that, like the glutes, can pull on the back fibers. The sciatic nerve passes near, and sometimes through, the piriformis so stretching this muscle may also have a beneficial effect on sciatica symptoms. To stretch the piriformis, lie on your back with your legs straight and bring your right knee toward your left shoulder. Pull your right knee across your body and toward the floor, and hold for 15 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.