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#198685 - 06/22/05 04:22 PM A good stretch when your spine feels compressed
PaulaZU Offline
Master_Sergeant_AS_Kicker

Registered: 08/09/04
Posts: 636
Loc: Indiana, U.S.A.
Hi! Does anyone have good stretching ideas for when your spine feels compressed. After I've been at the computer a long time (writing papers) or been on my feet all day cleaning up the clutter my family seems to create, etc., my spine feels like it's all crunched together. I attempt to hit up my hubby or my son for back rubs(in fact, I bribe my son with European chocolate in exchange for back rubs to the chagrin of my husband who is displeased by such currency exchange -- but hey, I think the ancient Incas used to use chocolate for currency, too!!!) but it would be good to have some other options as well.

I've been working on a mess upstairs today after having done some renovation work in our son's room (I'm trying to reorganize the storage closet and guest room in which our son and his bedroom furniture, etc. were stuffed for the 9 months of renovation -- why my hubby started a project just as the academic year was starting when he's a professor and I'm a grad student ) -- it caused quite a lot of mayhem because it was difficult to find anything, put anything away, etc. and things just got stuffed here and there in all the wrong -- really wrong -- places). Anyway, I already owe J some chocolate for a back rub yesterday . . . So, I'm thinking that I need to stretch instead.

Thanks for ideas!

Paula
_________________________
Meanwhile I live and move and I am glad, enjoy this life and all its interweaving. Each given day, as I take up the thread, let love suggest my mode,my mood of living. (Fred Kaan, 1975)

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#198686 - 06/22/05 05:21 PM Re: A good stretch when your spine feels compressed [Re: PaulaZU]
gypsy Offline
Journeyman_AS_Kicker

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 134
Loc: Vancouver, BC
Hey Paula,

I do Yoga, but,--

An ex-boyfriend of mine showed me a great stretch. He was into Kungfu, Jugitsu,(sp?) blah blah, (maybe thatīs why we broke up?) but itīs done in bed. Donīt worry, nothing "Sutra". Just good for mornings, or night.You just lie "across" your bed. On your stomach. Arms are "just" about hanging over the side, but if you extend them, they wonīt fall to the ground, only half way down. The edge of the bed is high in your armpits. Cross your arms and rest your chin on your hands. Like you're at the beach on your stomach. Your head and arms will fall and give a gentle pull throughout your back. Breath, until you feel you can let go of every muscle holding you in. Leave it there until you can fully exhale without tensing anything. (It takes me about 10 minutes) and this is my addition,..when you're relaxed, Skooch up a tad and let your arms hang completely over. Rest your chin on the edge of the bed and then let your head fall over. Trust me,.. it feels great. Normally I get a few pops from my lowerback, but important for you to relax and BREATH. Then SLOWLY get up and move to the floor and lie prone on your back for 15 minutes.
Happy Stretching !!

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#198687 - 06/22/05 06:35 PM Re: A good stretch when your spine feels compressed [Re: gypsy]
PaulaZU Offline
Master_Sergeant_AS_Kicker

Registered: 08/09/04
Posts: 636
Loc: Indiana, U.S.A.
Thanks, Gypsy! I've just printed the instructions out.

I don't know what I'd do without this web site!

Paula
_________________________
Meanwhile I live and move and I am glad, enjoy this life and all its interweaving. Each given day, as I take up the thread, let love suggest my mode,my mood of living. (Fred Kaan, 1975)

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#198688 - 06/22/05 09:22 PM Re: A good stretch when your spine feels compressed [Re: PaulaZU]
overcomer Offline
Steel_AS_Kicker

Registered: 04/15/05
Posts: 1167
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Here's one I do after my workouts. I think they call it the angry cat or something, but you're on hands and knees like a cat, let your stomach/back arch toward the floor with head looking up, then reverse the arch up like an angry cat, and let your head drop toward the floor (don't bend the elbows, more like let your head hang or dangle), and I do that about 5 times each way and hold for 10 or 20 seconds each way. I think this is very good for keeping the spine flexible and I do it with the hope that this may prevent my spine from fusing. I mean, can the spine really fuse if it's a moving target?

While you're still in this position, gently lower your derriere upon your feet and keep your arms outstretched on the floor in front of you and just feel that spine gently stretch. Ummmm. Sometimes I'll grab the sides of the mat to stretch out the muscle at the rear of the armpits, the lats, I think they're called. Hold that for maybe 20 seconds or so, longer if it feels good.

When you're ready to stand up, try this. Crouch on floor with both feet and both hands on the floor, kind of like a little ball, keeping head down. Slowly raise your derriere up, keeping hands on floor, but not necessarily straightening your knees. Most likely you'll be on your toes, so you can try to alternate pushing left heel to floor for few secs, then alt with the right heel, then the other about 5 times. Should feel a nice stretch in your calves. Then when you're able (sometimes I can't if pain in SI's acute, so use your best judgment here), slowly lift your hands off the floor and imagine you are stacking one vertebra upon the other and uncurl into an upright position til your head is erect (careful if prone to dizziness), then do 3 shoulder rolls forward, 3 back.

You can then stretch out your neck by using right hand and gently place on left side of head and pull head forward and down to right as if you were trying to sniff your armpit, hold 20 secs, then the other way, twice. I'll sometimes put my head in whichever position does the best stretch for the particular moment, like looking forward instead of toward the armpit. I've actually stopped a tension headache by doing this stretch. This exercise I learned from a Sports Therapist and I'll share that one with you at no charge.

Nevertheless, teaching your son about the laying on of hands is always a good thing for his future ministry and the reward of chocolate, well, I'll come rub your back for that one too.
_________________________
Blessings, Sigrid

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#198689 - 06/23/05 08:48 AM Re: A good stretch when your spine feels compressed [Re: overcomer]
PaulaZU Offline
Master_Sergeant_AS_Kicker

Registered: 08/09/04
Posts: 636
Loc: Indiana, U.S.A.
Thanks, Sigrid,

I've printed out your post, too.

Yes, there is healing in them thar young hands! His backrubs are so much better than my husband's because he uses his fingers to dig into the muscles, and knows just the right pressure needed to loosen up my shoulder blades, etc. Hubby . . . just doesn't get it. And he thinks my bribery/payment system is scandalous. Granted, I wish my 15 year old would just give me backrubs out of the generosity of his heart . . . but that's asking a bit much!

Paula
_________________________
Meanwhile I live and move and I am glad, enjoy this life and all its interweaving. Each given day, as I take up the thread, let love suggest my mode,my mood of living. (Fred Kaan, 1975)

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#198690 - 06/23/05 10:18 AM Re: A good stretch when your spine feels compressed [Re: PaulaZU]
Inanna Offline
Very_Addicted_to_AS_Kickin

Registered: 11/15/01
Posts: 18060
Loc: UK
Just to add to the input (Sigrid the angry cat thing you describe is actually dog pose when you look up and extend your tummy toward the floor and cat pose when you arch your back and curl your head down so you're looking at the floor), the yoga pose Downward Dog is extremely good. In yoga they insist that your legs be perfectly straight, but in pilates the knees can be slightly bent.

You bend at the waist and put your hands on the floor a few feet infront of your feet. If you can straighten your legs do so, but don't worry about perfectly straight legs, it's the back stretch part of this that we're going for. While you are in this position, don't let your head dangle, keep it parallel to your arms and lengthen through the neck and base of the skull. Think of your sit bones as headlights on a car and focus on pointing them toward the ceiling (OK, I know it'll be a diagonal point, but this is hard to describe). When you do that, you should feel the pressure come off your shoulder sockets and you lengthen through your back. You will actually feel your arm pull slightly out of the shoulder socket. This is good. Keep your hands fully flexed on the floor so that you are using every muscle in them to bear your weight and do the same with your feet. Your weight should be balanced between the two and the focus on pointing with your sit bones and lengthening through your shoulder sockets will create a lovely stretch. Hold it only as long as you can and keep breathing deeply throughout.

To come out of it the easiest way is to gently lower your knees to the floor, but you can also 'walk' your hands to your feet so that you are dangling from the hips and roll up extremely slowly, one vertebrae at a time with your head dangling until the very last moments.

Hope that helps.

Personally, I want gravity boots.

Hugs,
_________________________
Kat

A life lived in fear is a life half lived.
"Strictly Ballroom"


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#198691 - 06/23/05 05:57 PM Re: A good stretch when your spine feels compressed [Re: Inanna]
overcomer Offline
Steel_AS_Kicker

Registered: 04/15/05
Posts: 1167
Loc: Ontario, Canada
An inversion table ain't so bad either

Ahhh, thanks for the clarification. I wish I could have learned more Pilates moves but the ones I've learned have saved my life I'm sure. This yoga exercise sounds like a real challenge in terms of strength. Some of the poses the experts do requires tremendous flexibility and strength. I know as you do it, it comes. There are things I can do now I never could do before and it almost becomes easier as you get stronger. I'll have to try your version-I'm sure you could teach us a lot-but I must confess, I still do my push ups with my knees-not strong enough yet.

As I was going through all the diagnostics before the final Dx, I kept in touch with the head PT at the gym. We discussed various exercises I should do and should avoid. He said back extensions would be bad for the type of AS damage I've got (Sacroliliitis @ SI joints). I asked him specifically about an exercise he called lazy push ups, while on your tummy, arch back up while pushing up on elbows off the floor (tummy still on the floor) and head looking forward or up if possible, and he asked me why I would want to do these, since this was a type of extension/flexion of the spine in an unnatural, reverse position.

If I'd had my wits about me at the time as I do now, I would have told him I want to do this to keep vertebrae flexible in all directions and because the fusing tendency is down and forward, so this would counterbalance that inclination.
_________________________
Blessings, Sigrid

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#198692 - 06/24/05 12:27 PM Re: A good stretch when your spine feels compressed [Re: overcomer]
Inanna Offline
Very_Addicted_to_AS_Kickin

Registered: 11/15/01
Posts: 18060
Loc: UK
Sigrid, if you do the Swan, or the Baby Swan, in pilates (equivalent to the Cobra in yoga) you should make sure that your tail bone is pointed to the floor, your pelvic floor is lifted and your core is activated. That will give your lower back the support it needs for this move. Also, in pilates the pelvis can lift off the floor in this move, as opposed to yoga, where the pelvis is supposed to stay on the floor.

Also, make sure that as you do the exhale, you slide your shoulder blade down your back and make a V where they meet at your spine. That will activate your bra bulge muscle, which will ensure that your upper back is properly supported.

Also, you know the roll? Don't do that. It's far too hard on our AS ridden spines. Just get into the prep position for it and use your core to balance you there. It's a really good strengthener for the area.

The way my rheumy put it was, if it hurts consistently when you do a move, don't do that move. Extension of the upper back, as long as the lower back is properly supported should be all right. Of course, I'm not a PT or a doc, but I've never had a problem. Your idea about keeping the mobility in all directions is dead on, in my not so humble opinion.

As for the push ups, my teacher can do pilates push ups military style with very little problem. After almost four years, I still can't do more than one. I do the knee supported ones, but when I come back down, I use my knees as a fulcrum, so that my upper body is taking almost my entire body weight. It's an amazing workout. I can only do three or four of these before I have to go into child pose.

Cat and dog poses are amazing for working our mobility. Downward dog is, as you know, a different move altogether and I love it for the stretch after my pilates workout.

Hugs,
_________________________
Kat

A life lived in fear is a life half lived.
"Strictly Ballroom"


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#198693 - 06/24/05 01:07 PM Re: A good stretch when your spine feels compressed [Re: Inanna]
overcomer Offline
Steel_AS_Kicker

Registered: 04/15/05
Posts: 1167
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Gotta smile, since you're teaching me the names here. You're the obvious pro when it comes to this.

Yes, the roll-I could never do it. I would stabilize on the sit bones and hold it there.

I'm quite proud to say I can do the V pose (my name), on the sit bones with legs up so I'm shaped like a V, and when I do my push ups on knees (oh-you're going to be so proud of me), I do 12 most of time, unless my shoulders are involved in a flare. Yes, using knees as a fulcrum is a good way to describe it.

My hat's off to you for being able to do even 1 military push-up-you rule!

It's amazing how yoga and pilates cross over into each other. So I was describing a Baby Swan? I'll have to remember to engage my core, usually I try to work the muscles in the low back with this move.

Thank you for the tips-they are always welcomed...
_________________________
Blessings, Sigrid

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#198694 - 06/28/05 09:15 AM Re: A good stretch when your spine feels compressed [Re: PaulaZU]
roseofsharon Offline
New_Member

Registered: 06/13/05
Posts: 16
Hi! This works very well for me first thing in the morning, and when I feel scrunched:
Lay flat on your back on the floor (hopefully you have carpet), if not maybe an exercise pad or a thick blanket, raise your arms over and flat above your head. Reach with your arms and push with your feet at the same time. You can also cross your arms over your chest and rock back and forth L-R (kind of like the bear exercise scratching your back). If this is too painful maybe this is not for you! Just a suggestion!

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