If you have tight back muscles there is no need to sit in pain anymore. You can help yourself at home, and feel free and loose in no time. A lot of us suffer from upper and lower back pain. They are both common and both very painful conditions, but often have a simple cause and an even easier cure. Posture, lifestyle and what we do every single day affects our body a lot, knowing what you can do to counteract the bad stuff, and what you need to cut out can help you get rid of your back pain quickly.
A small disclaimer, lower back pain is serious business and if you are in debilitating pain make sure you head to a medical practitioner to check it out. This stuff will help you after your have a diagnosis and are able to move a little. You need to know if you have suffered from something more serious like a bulging disc, or if you simply have super tight muscles.
Use these six tips on how to relieve tight back muscles and find yourself pain free and mobile in no time.
Use a Tennis Ball
A tennis ball is a great way to help relieve tight back muscles. If you are having upper back issues you should work through your upper back muscles, and try to find trigger points and sore spots that are giving your problems. A tennis ball is a great tool to get rid of trigger points and help loosen your muscles, it’s like a deep tissue massage at home. Here is a picture from my latest book The Ultimate Self Massage Guide. It shows you how to release your body with a foam roller and tennis ball, gives you full pictures and step by step instructions on all the important muscles in the body.
If you have lower back pain you should work your glute med with the tennis ball, as well as your hip flexors. These are really common places that cause and affect back pain. Upper glute trigger points can refer pain into the lower back. If you glutes are tight and not working well, your lower back will compensate. Likewise with your hip flexors, when they are tight they stop the glutes working, and you back has to take up the slack. Work on these two areas and get relief. Check out my ebook for more information on how to get rid of lower back pain with a tennis ball.
Foam Roll Your Upper Back and Glutes
You can relieve tight back muscles with a foam roller. If you have upper back pain, you can do some thoracic extensions which will also work the muscles in the area. You can do some foam rolling work on your trapezius as well as your lats. All of these muscles can contribute to upper back pain and need to be taking care of. Once again, you should check out my ebook, The Ultimate Self Massage Guide for more information on how to help your own pain at home.
If you suffer from lower back pain, make sure you attack the glutes with your foam roller. the same reason as the tennis ball, you need them at optimal function to help your lower back take a load off. Tight and stressed glutes mean a lower back that is working pretty hard. Foam roll the area and make sure that you are getting some relief.
Stretch Your Pecs and Hip Flexors
If you suffer from upper back pain it is very important that you stretch your pecs. Although your first instinct is to go straight for your upper back and stretch that area, sometimes this can do more good than harm. Check out your posture and analyze what you do in the day. If you have slightly rounded shoulders or you sit at a desk all day, it is possible that you suffer from tight pecs. The tight pecs will then pull your shoulder blade around and your upper back muscles will be on constant stretch. They will act to try to pull the shoulders back an be working eccentrically, which is doubly tough on the muscle. Stretching them can exacerbate this problem and make it worse. Focus on the pecs and try to loosen them and help your posture.
If lower back pain is your problem you need to work on your hip flexor. Your hip flexors can cause you a lot of lower back pain if they are tight and not functioning well. They attach onto your lower back and pull your lower back forward. This pressure creates an extra anterior tilt, and can often be a leading and hidden cause of back pain. Do a hip flexor stretch regularly and see if this can help your lower back pain. Make sure you don’t stretch the lower back, this area is not for mobility.
Getting strong can help you get tight back muscle relief. If you are suffering from upper back pain because of your rounded shoulders and tight pecs, then doing some upper back strength work can help a lot. Try this exercise at home. Get a towel and place it around a door handle, or a pole if you happen to have one installed in your house….. and do some rows. These are a great upper back exercise and can help you a lot with upper back pain. Weak muscles can cause you more problems than you think.
Likewise if you suffer from lower back pain, I suggest you start working out your glutes. As we have already discussed good functioning glutes are imperative to lower back health and function. Do these bridges at home and get those glutes firing.
Planks are great for lower back pain. Being able to do one for two minutes has been associated with a decrease in lower back pain occurrence. Check out this video on how to do different kinds of planks.
Being strong can really help you get rid of your tight back muscles, taking pressure off the area or making sure they are postural correct is imperative to good back health.
Get More Mobile
Being more mobile can help you relieve tight back muscles. Similar to getting strong it can help take the pressure off the area. The trick is to know where to be mobile and where to be stable. If you suffer from upper back tight muscles, then you should do some thoracic extensions. This is a really important area to be mobile in. grab the foam roller and roll over the upper back area, put your hands behind your head and extend your back over the roller. As discussed before this is shown in more detail using a roller and a tennis ball in my ebook The Ultimate Self Massage Guide.
If you have lower back tight muscles, you should try to get more mobility around your hips. Your hips flexors have a lot to do with back pain, as we already discussed, but you also need to have good mobility in the hip so your lower back doesn’t compensate and try to be mobile. You need to have good lower back stability, and good flexibility in the hips. Try doing the hip flexor stretch, some leg swings and some deep squats to make sure those hips are functioning correctly.
Move Around more Often
It goes without saying…at least I think it does, that you shouldn’t sit down for a long time. Both for the upper and lower back muscles, you will be placing a ton of stress on the area and just making yourself more tight and aggravated. If you have a desk job, try not to sit down for long lengths of time. Stand up, move around and do some basic stretches…any stretches. Your muscles are smart and they like to stay int whatever position you like to keep them in. Stop etching them bad habits, fix your posture and make sure you are moving around enough.
Follow these tips and you can help relieve tight back muscles at home, by yourself.