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5 Best Stretches For Low Back Pain In Bed. Do Daily

This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in May of 2023. For the original video go to https://youtu.be/WQHIBf-C-2w


Brad: You ever get up in the morning, you feel a little stiff and sore, maybe 10, 15 years older than you really are? If so, this video is for you.

Mike: We're going to show you five stretches that you can do in bed to help alleviate this pain and start your day out on the right foot.

Brad: Yeah I bet you don't feel this way yet.

Mike: Not yet.

Brad: Give yourself another 20 years. Alright, now this is mostly common in the older population. I'm saying 55 and above. That's when I started to feel it. The big thing about lying down and sleeping all night, typically eight hours, is that the body is non-weight-bearing. There is little movement relatively speaking and the muscles, the tendons, and the facet joints in the back are all starting to tighten up from that. And also a big thing you may not be aware of is the discs in your back actually start to grow. They call it inhibition. It's where fluid imbibes or sucks into the disc. It's a natural part of keeping the disc healthy. Do you want to talk about it more Mike?

Mike: So when you first get up in the morning and start moving, these stiff joints, muscles, and discs filled with fluid aren't necessarily ready to start moving right away. So it can put your body kind of in a shock, that’s what causes that pain you're experiencing. It could be any of these issues. It may be one and maybe all five. So a good thing to do is to do a quick warm-up routine while you're still laying down, to get those muscles moving and it won't be as painful when you finally get up.

Brad: That's right and it only takes a couple minutes. Alright, so I want you to remember this phrase, “motion is lotion”. So you probably don't know what I'm talking about. There is a physical therapist, he's a doctor in PT. He's an expert in pain management and that's a phrase that he uses with his patients. In other words, if you get your body moving, it's going to soothe the pain like putting some lotion on your body. That's going to mitigate and eliminate the pain. So motion is critical, the key is what kind of motion. That's what we're going to show you here with these exercises before getting out of bed. Alright, we're going to show you five exercises in bed. Do all five of them, try them. All of them might be good for you. But there may be one or two that create some aches and pains, particularly if you have a history of low back pain, hip replacement, or something of that nature. They all should feel good. Otherwise, skip the one that does not feel so good.

Mike: So the first exercise is called “hook lying rotation”. So you get to lay on your back like you're in bed still. You're going to bend both knees like this, feet flat on the ground, and you're going to start rotating side to side. One way might feel better than the other. You may not be able to go all the way down to the bed. You may just go partial range. Whatever feels comfortable for your back is the right option for you.

Brad: That’s right. So again these are going to be in bed. Mike mentioned ground. Your feet are going to be in bed and it works best if your feet are close together. If your knees are gently touching, your legs do not separate, and this is really important what Mike is doing here. He's actually letting the hip come over and separate from the bed. That allows that low back to rotate. Now you may find out that going in one direction hurts, so don't go that way. The other direction may feel better. Go that way as far as you tolerate. Do not go into pain. And then after you do this, a few repetitions, you may find that the other side, the painful

side, will ease up and that's what we're looking for. If on the other hand, that painful direction starts to get worse, then avoid it and just go to the pain-free side. It's a critical concept. With time, things should loosen up and you'll be doing full hook-line rotations and very happily.

Mike: The next exercise is called single knee to chest or double knee to chest. That is a progression. So to begin, you're going to be lying flat on your back in bed, not the ground, I got it right this time. You're going to bring one knee up towards your chest. You can put a little pressure on your arms if that feels good for you. If it only feels good part way, just hold it there, that's perfectly fine. Hold it for a couple of seconds and then go back down. Try to do five to ten repetitions on each side.

Mike: Now some people may not be able to reach their legs, so Brad has a towel here. You can also use a belt, bed sheet, or whatever you have handy. You can just wrap it underneath your leg, grab the towel with your hands and then pull it up. It makes it a little easier. Also, you can try it with a stretch strap if you have arthritis, it’s another good option. So after that, if you want to try doing both legs, you simply switch to the other side. Perform it as well, five to ten repetitions, holding for a few seconds on each stretch, and then you can progress to both legs if that is feeling comfortable and good for you.

Mike: So you're going to bring both knees up and hold it just like this for a few seconds and then relax. Now if that becomes easy, you don't feel much of a stretch, you could certainly hold it longer. You can go 20-30 seconds, whatever feels comfortable for your back.

Brad: That's right, this is a great stretch particularly for people if you have stenosis. This is going to separate those facet joints and open up where the nerve exits out of the spine. It should feel very comfortable. We're going to show you a little bit about the stretch strap so that there's no confusion.

Mike: Now if you have arthritic hands and you can't grip well, l a stretch strap would work out nicely like I talked about earlier. They have a bunch of different loops. You can just feed your hand through the loop, and make sure it's underneath your leg. Then you're just going to pull up with your wrists and arms to save the pressure on your hands if you're having any pain there. Again hold it for a few seconds and repeat five to ten times.



Brad: Right, they work very well and they're not that expensive so it may be an option for you. Number three is for the shoulder and the upper back. It's great for posture and breathing. I'm going to start out lying on your back. Hands will be down and simply reach up and over your head. Now watch as Mike goes back. He's going to arch his back just below the shoulder blades and then come forward. You can do five to ten of these.

Brad: Now there are going to be some people that are going to say one or both of the shoulders are stiff. What you'll do is use the strong arm to help the weak one. So grab together there and go up and allow the stiff shoulder to stretch. Do not push it. Do not get a painful range of motion. Just go up to the point where you feel the pain a little bit, bump into it, and then come back down. And Mike is doing an excellent job of relaxing and when you come back up, breathe in, and as you come back down exhale. How you breathe in relationship to your body motion can really make a big difference in how you relax and the effectiveness of the exercise.

Mike: For the recommended time, just do what feels good. This stretch, I like to hold it longer. Some people might just want to hold it back here for five seconds and then come back. Just do what feels good for you.

Brad: That's right. Again five to ten repetitions in general will be good particularly to start with. How are you feeling, Mike?

Mike: Good, I like this stretch.

Brad: Yep, it's a wonderful one. Alright number four, this is for the upper back, the thoracic spine. We want to get some gentle rotation in that area to get you moving. Simply as Mike is lying on his back, think about keeping the pelvis stationary, the feet stationary. He's going to come up with his right hand and kind of like reaching for his coffee mug in the morning or cooler and going back down. Now go the other direction. He's reaching the other way. Go through a couple of these.

Mike: You just kind of reach, you don't have to hold it like I was doing for demonstration purposes, but the whole point is to lift your upper back off the mat and get some rotation up there. And I wish someone handed me my coffee in the morning when I woke up like that.

Brad: This is also great for the abdominal muscles, that's going to get those stronger, which is always a benefit. So let's go on the number five. This last one really focuses on the shoulders and the scapula of the shoulders to get things moving which is critical for posture, breathing, and just pain reduction. One side you can do first is simply think about the shoulder to the ear without moving your head. So we're not bringing your ear to your shoulder, you are bringing your shoulder to your ear. We're doing this five times on the right, five times on the left, and then you can do the complete shrug and it's optional if you just want to go right to the complete double shrug go ahead it's up to you. Go ahead and show them lying down Mike.

Mike: So the important thing is to keep your head in the same place and bring your shoulders up and down. You're not bringing your neck down, so shrug up and then shrug down. You can hold it, you can go in a circle if you want, or just straight up and down, whatever feels good for you.

Brad: That’s right. This is one of those things that a lot of people are not aware that their shoulders and shoulder blades actually move across their rib cage and once you get that sensation it's going to make a big difference in the quality of motion and pain-free movement in the shoulder complex. It's really an important stretch that's forgotten. Alright, now this last is not an exercise. This last technique is for those of you who have back pain, particularly a history of back pain. How to get out of bed in the morning to protect your back so you don't wrench it or irritate it right away in the morning. So lying on your back, the first thing you want to do is to bring your legs up into the hook line position. Tighten up your core muscles, and all your stomach muscles, go ahead Mike. Can you feel them with your fingertips? That's what I tell patients. Push it in there. Push your fingertips in there. Some people got a little more chubbiness here and they need to get through that and feel those muscles tighten. At that point, you need to know how did you explain this, Mike? Roll like a log?

Mike: You roll on your side like a log. It's almost like you're stuck in a turtle shell. The whole body has to move together. You don't want your feet to move separately. Keep that back nice and tight so the core is engaged. And then you're going to rotate over to your side. Then after you're in this position, you're going to bring your feet down while pushing up with your right arm and left elbow. So I'm keeping my spine in one continuous line. Then get in a good seated position. Get your orientation. Make sure you're not lightheaded. Make sure your back's okay. Scoot to the edge of the bed and then when you stand up don't flex over. Try to keep a nice straight back and push up, keeping your spine aligned the whole time. Not flexing too much will help protect it and prevent aches and pains from happening.

Brad: Now this is one that can make a big difference that people forget. Bob always talks about the story with a gentleman, he had a patient and he taught him this. He had severe back pain and this alone made a tremendous difference in reducing his pain. Instead of getting up in the morning irritating it, you got it properly and allowed the back to heal on a day-to-day basis. Very critical point, that's a bonus! We didn't say that we were going to do that before, did we?

Mike: It was a secret.

Brad: Alright good luck with those stretches before you get out of bed and how you get out of bed. Mike, what say you?

Mike: Let us know in the comment section down below what exercises you preferred or what works for you in case we forgot.

Brad: That’s right. Feel Good.

Bob: And cut!

Brad: It's a wrap.

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