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What do I avoid when doing the sitting or standing spine extension stretch?

Rick Olderman
Physical Therapy
The extension stretch exercise helps improve lower spine extension, thereby decreasing pain associated with excessive flexion. While sitting in a chair or standing, bring both hands to the base of your lumbar spine to support your back. Gently arch your spine into extension by equally tilting your pelvis forward. Repeat as often as necessary.

Common mistakes when doing the sitting or standing extension stretch exercise include:
  • Exclusively using your spinal muscles to achieve the extension can initially increase pain. Begin gently and passively first, and decide to use the back extensor muscles only after you have determined that this exercise doesn't increase your pain.
  • Extending your head too far back while extending your spine can cause neck pain. If you're doing this, you may be trying too hard.
Fixing You: Back Pain: Self-Treatment for Sciatica, Bulging and Herniated Disks, Stenosis, Degenerative Disks, and other diagnoses.

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Fixing You: Back Pain: Self-Treatment for Sciatica, Bulging and Herniated Disks, Stenosis, Degenerative Disks, and other diagnoses.

Back pain is often due to larger problems, such as poor walking habits or pelvic muscle tightness , that create vulnerabilities in the spine. This is why most people have trouble fixing their...

When performing this stretch avoid excessively hyper extending your spine. Additionally stop the exercise if you feel pain. You should feel a slight stretch in your abdominals, not spinal pain. Lastly, make sure you breathe normally and avoid holding your breath.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.