Four ways to loosen up a stiff back


A massage is a good way to loosen tight muscles, including for a stiff back. — dpa

There it is again – your pesky backache.

It’s a common complaint of many people.

Fortunately, a serious illness is rarely the cause, says orthopaedist Dr David Kubosch.

The culprit is usually tense muscles from sitting for long periods, or from excessive mechanical stress on them.

He has four tips for relief from the pain:

1. Heat

Applying heat stimulates blood flow and helps loosen stiffness.

Heat can come, for example, from a heat patch with cayenne pepper extract, deep heat rub cream or infrared heat lamp.

The lamp, as with a good old hot water bottle or cherry-pit pillow, restricts your mobility while in use though.

2. Exercise

This also helps to counter back tension.

Suggestions from Dr Kubosch include Nordic walking, swimming or the cat-cow stretch familiar to yoga buffs.

ALSO READ: Nordic walking is good exercise even if you have joint or bone issues

To do the stretch, get down on your hands and knees, with your hands directly below your shoulders, your knees directly below your hips, and your back straight.

Then go into the cat pose: “Round your back as much as you can, your head hanging down loosely,” he explains.

Next, go into the cow pose: Lower your belly, giving yourself a hollow back, and at the same time, raise your head and look straight in front of you.

Dr Kubosch recommends repeating the cat-cow stretch 10 times.

3. Massage

This is another good way to loosen tight muscles.

What if you have no one at home to knead your aching back though?

In that case, Dr Kubosch says, you could use a massage gun, but only if you’ve been given the green light by your doctor.

You can also use a foam roller to get a massage, he adds, but says its effectiveness in relieving back pain hasn’t been scientifically proven.

4. Stress reduction

Does it sometimes feel like you’re wearing a heavy backpack filled with worries, anxieties and stress?

This, too, can lead to muscle tension, Dr Kubosch says, noting that “back pain is among the most frequent psychosomatic symptoms”.

So it can help to decelerate your daily routine where possible, and do something good for yourself.

A good start would be learning relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, or doing yoga, for instance. – dpa

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Back pain , pain , treatment


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