While the first thing that often comes to mind when one’s back is tight or sore is to stretch the back itself, this may not be the most efficient or effective way of alleviating those pains. Yes it may seem logical, yet unfortunately, it ain’t that simple people.
As more and more research comes out on the functional anatomy and biomechanics of the core musculature, it becomes strikingly evident that the core cannot be discussed in isolation, and that the distinct muscles of the core are so very interconnected with one another. For this reason, as the lower back muscles are connected to the hips, and the obliques of the abdominals are connected to the shoulders, one mustn’t treat any of these as superior to the rest. If there were a word to describe discrimination and prejudice against certain muscle groups, I would most certainly insert it here – “musclist”? Hmm..no, I don’t believe that will catch on very well.
Because these core muscles work and contract in conjunction with one another, they also elongated and stretch in conjunction with one another. It would be rash to assume that a sore back means the issue lies solely in your back. Your muscles are one, acting together, and unfortunately, failing together. Thus, as the hips, back, abdominals and shoulders are inextricably linked, essentially handcuffed to one another, the smartest and most effective means of dealing with these muscles is to deal with them simultaneously.
Thus, my favorite stretch – the drama queen stretch as I have named it – whether your lower back or your hips or tight, or perhaps your shoulders are lacking a bit of mobility, is sure to relieve some tension within this “core” unit.
Lunge forward with one foot, bending that knee to create a ninety degree angle with the ground, stepping into a lunge position. Push your back hip forward and outstretch the arm opposite the forward knee, over that same knee, while making sure to twist your torso, so as to bring one shoulder forward across your body, and the other shoulder back behind you. This will look as though you are being a “drama queen”, as if pretending to faint, hand on your forehead, leaning over. Really exaggerating the twisting back of the shoulder on the same side of the body as your forward foot will enable you to feel an extremely deep stretch in the opposite back hip (as opposite shoulder and hip are directly related).
She’s not being quite as dramatic as I’d like you to be, so play around, pretend to be a soap opera star, and feel a deep deep stretch to eliminate that back or hip pain that keeps nagging you all day long.