Cure What 90% of Us Have…

Dear Reader,

Do you have pain picking up your groceries, getting out of the car or bending over? 90% of Americans have some back pain at some time in their lives.

It’s one of the most common complaints I hear from patients. In fact, it’s the number two reason people visit the doctor – second only to upper-respiratory infections.

As you age, your flexibility decreases. Certain muscles shorten and your joints lose their range of motion, and this can trigger a number of back problems. But there is a lot you can do to regain and maintain youthful flexibility. It doesn’t require more than a 2-minute daily commitment.

Stretching has become a bona fide sport all on its own in recent years. And stretching the right muscles is one of the best solutions for chronic back pain. But you don’t need to spend an hour a day doing boring stretching exercises to be flexible or ease your nagging back. Today, I’ll show you two easy stretches that target two common types of back pain: Your lower back, and neck and shoulders.

Losing flexibility as we age is the rule, particularly if you never stretch. You accelerate the loss if you sit at a desk all day. However, regular exercise and proper stretching can slow the decline dramatically. Maintaining youthful flexibility can ward off the aches and pains associated with aging and inactivity.

Tendons attach your muscles to your bones. Ligaments attach bones to bones. Healthy stretching helps lengthen muscles and strengthens tendons. However, many of the stretches routinely recommended put stress on the ligaments connecting the bones of a joint.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t want loose joints. The tighter they are, the more stable and stronger they are. The stronger they are, the less likely they are to suffer injury and the less pain you will feel. What you want is long and relaxed muscles that can lengthen without resistance on demand. This is critical in a couple of key muscle groups.

An intelligent stretching regimen can prevent or even reverse stiffness and loss of range of motion. Done properly, these movements can ease your back pain and provide long-term relief. This solution is simple, pleasant and takes only a couple of minutes.

The two parts of your body that you should stretch daily (or every other day) are the front of your shoulders and the front of your hips.

• Shoulder Stretch: You need to stretch and develop these muscles because they are very susceptible to injury. And tight shoulder muscles contribute to back and neck pain, especially if your head and shoulders droop forward.

How To: Stand in an open doorway. Raising your arm to a 90-degree angle with palm facing out, press your hand and shoulder against the wall and doorjamb. You should feel the wall against your armpit. Slowly increase the tension as you push forward. Hold for a 10 count. Then repeat with the other arm.

• Hip Flexors: 90% of American adults experience lower back pain at some point in their life. You need to do this stretch, particularly if you sit all day at work. Sitting all day puts pressure on the hip flexor muscles. This is a major cause of minor low back pain. Stretching your hip flexors muscles several times a week will prevent this kind of lower back pain.

How To: Stand in a modified runner stance, with right foot forward and left foot back, feet flat on floor. Put your hands on your hips and keep your back and hips in straight alignment. Push forward with your hips, while maintaining your erect posture. Slowly, push your hips forward only until you feel a comfortable level of tension. Hold for a 10 count. Switch sides by reversing your leg stance and repeat.

If you have back pain, I have an excellent tool for you. It has a great self-assessment tool that enables you to find out exactly where your pain is coming from and how to deal with it. What’s more, it gives you simple exercises that provide relief within days.

I have been using this system from The Healthy Back Institute with great results. To find out more, click HERE.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD