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Self-Care – Mid Back Pain that May Stiffen the Low Back

Self-Care includes
– Activities to avoid and change,
– Strategies for quick relief,
– Stretching for longer-lasting relief,
– Corrective Exercises, Yoga, and more…

Mid-back pain that extends extends upward, forward and stiffens the lower back requires some focused self-care.

Activities To Avoid or Change:

The trigger point for mid-back pain is easily aggravated when cycling. This is especially true when you bend over the handlebars with your head low. Consider changing up your cycling routine by using a recumbent for a while.

OK. I’ve treated a lot of cyclists and know that many are hard-core and not-gonna-stop. I’m not expecting you to give it up. But, look at the exercises below.

If you got this pain from a coughing jag, take a look at this post. Utilize the strategies to reduce coughing and to relieve body pain while you are coughing. Also, you should see your physician to know exactly why you are coughing. After all, CoVid is out there.

Determined to maintain that 6-pack? Overdeveloped abdominals can really perpetuate this problem. They pull down on the ribs and keep tension on this spinal erector. Several of my clients with this pain had this athletic posture with a closed abdomen. Make sure your lower back workouts are balanced to your abdominal workout.

For Temporary Relief:

A vapo-coolant, like the medium-sized SalonPas patches, are very helpful when this pain pattern is nagging you. The patch will offer relief if you put it just about anywhere near the pain. However, it will be most effective in the spot indicated in the illustration. A patch in that area covers the trigger point as well as the joints that are perpetuating the pattern. A larger patch that covers more of the spine, up to the bottom of the shoulder blade works even better. You can find vapo-coolant patches on Amazon.

These self-care activities, like over-the-counter drugs, are not intended to replace appropriate medical attention. If you have concerns about these self-care activities, get help from a professional. Use these suggestions and strategies with discretion and at your own risk. See your doctor when your pain is severe, persistent, or doesn’t respond to these simple suggestions.

Stretches and Exercises for Longer-Lasting Relief:

Here are two different ways to approach longer-lasting relief.

For the Less Active person

Combine the supine twist with bridges.

– Do 5 sets of bridges with a set of twists in between.

– Do the supine twist on both sides, but adjust the lower foot position to be closer to your hips. This will target the structures closer to the pain. There are instructions about that in this post.

For the More Active Person

Start rebuilding your lower back with exercises like deadlifts, bridges, Supermans, hyperextensions, and lunges. My favorite is lunges. They are better at so much more than building legs and lower back muscle.

Rebuilding this muscle will bother the spot for the first week or two. Go ahead and get one of the yoga wheels from Amazon. They’re inexpensive and easy for the athletic body to use. They do a lot to get rid of stiffness in the low back after a workout, long bike ride, or afternoon of rowing. Get the set of 3. It is likely you’ll use the smallest one most, but they’re all handy at different stages.

I’d love your feedback on how this works for you
and any suggestions you might have.
Email me at [email protected].

Yoga Corner

Starting Easy

Bridges are a great standard but some people need something less intense like cobra and others can open with more intense backbends like the Tiger pose. Look to your yoga instructor for guidance or posts like this on backbends for beginners.

Upping Your Game

Yoga wheels are a great way to loosen the fixations in the mid-back and release this trigger point. They aren’t for everyone, especially if you have balance problems. I recommended this to my workout partner for this problem. It restored his lumbar curve and got rid of his low back pain. Get a set with 3 sizes. Also, avoid the ones that are too wide to roll between your shoulder blades. There is an amazing selection of them on Amazon.

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Tony Preston has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia, where he sees clients. He has written and taught about anatomy, trigger points, and cranial therapies since the mid-90s.

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*This site is undergoing significant changes. We are reformatting and expanding the posts to make them easier to read. The result will also be more accessible and will include more patterns with better self-care. In the meanwhile, there may be inconsistencies in formatting, content presentation, and readability. Until we get older posts updated, please excuse our mess.

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