04 October, 2011
Lumbar Ligament Stretching
Ligaments are fibrous, thick, connective bands of tissues that offer support for your joints, including those of the lumbar spine. Yoga Journal quotes a Taoist saying, "stretch your bones." That is referring to the deeper, and less immediately felt, effects of stretching your ligaments as opposed to your muscles. Lumbar ligament stretches will help increase your range of motion and your back's flexibility in general.
The lower or lumbar portion of your spine contains a variety of ligaments, including the interspinous and supraspinous ligaments, both of which offer protection, support and strength to the outside portion of your spine along the vertebral column. The anterior and posterior longitudinal ligaments run along the inside and outside length of the lower spine. A number of additional ligaments connect the bone ridges of your spine to the bony points of the vertebrae. Finally, the iliolumbar and posterior sacroiliac ligaments connect the lower portion of the spine and the sacrum to the top and backside of your hipbone.
Stretching the ligaments of your lumbar spine every day may help relieve back pain and stiffness caused by arthritis, and strain caused by lifting or strenuous activities. Maintaining the health of your ligaments helps maintain adequate strength and support for each vertebrae or joint in your lower spine. Stretching your ligaments also enhances range of motion, mobility and relieves compression against irritated or sensitive nerves in the spinal column that may affect physical movement.
Pelvic tilts offer a gently stretch for muscles, tendons and ligaments in your lower spine and hip region. Pelvic tilts are an easy stretching exercise performed while lying down. Lie on your back on the floor, knees bent and hands resting by your sides. Pull in your abdominal muscles and slowly tilt your pelvis upward in a slight scooping motion. Your buttocks only lift off the floor an inch or two. Hold for a second or two and lower your buttocks down to the floor and relax; repeat 10 to 20 times.
Knee to Chest Pull
Motions that elongate the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the lower back may help restore elasticity, flexibility and range of motion in the lower spine. Perform a good stretching exercise for the lower back by pulling your knees toward your chest. Lie down on the floor and bend your knees. Grasp the bottom of your hamstrings with your hands and pull your knees above your hips. Pause for a moment and continue to pull your knees toward your chest, slowly and steadily. You may place your hands just below your knees to help you press them upward toward your chest. Hold the stretch for up to one minute and slowly lower your feet back to the floor. Rest a moment and stretch again.
- Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images