Active Recovery

‘I’m a Chiropractor, and These Are the Surprising Tools You Need To Stretch Your Own Back’

Mary Grace Garis

Photo: Getty Images/People Images
You might carry an unbearable amount of tension in your back, whether you're strained from sit-ups or strained from hunching over your computer all day. And since it's such a tricky part of your body to manage, sometimes you need a little help to roll out those aches and pains. Yes, it would be amazing to have a masseuse on speed dial, but failing that, you could always use some tools to stretch your back.

Why? Because stretching improves flexibility, and that can help iron out any issues with pain. "At this point what we do understand is that our movement patterns are heavily dependent on the ability of our joints to explore their full range of motion," says Orlando Capiro, DC, a chiropractor at USA Sports Medicine. "And a lack of motion or flexibility has the potential to contribute towards certain compensations within the body and lead to discomfort."

When you extend this concept to the back, there can be a lot of fallout for not keeping yourself flexible. If your back is unable to bend and twist to your full potential, Dr. Capiro says it can potentially lead to the beginning stages of early onset bone degeneration.

"Think 'if you don’t use it, you lose it," says Dr. Capiro. "The body will compensate in order to achieve our desired movements and increase our chances of hip and shoulder impingements. This range of motion can be limited by both joints and muscles, all of which can be properly addressed by a trained chiropractor or therapist. But suffice to say that it can also be easily rehabilitated."

Hence, one uses tools to stretch their back out to keep everything in motion and pain-free. And here's the real twist: all you really need is some everyday items you may already have in your own home. Here's what they are, and two simple methods you can try.

The only tools you need to stretch your back, according to a chiropractor

1. VIcolour Microfiber Gym Towels Sports Towel, $14

Looking for something to help after a sweat sesh? Look no further than your work-out towel. Getting a set can ensure that you have something for cleaning your body, and something for un-mangling it. "The towel can be used while laying on your back to pull your straight leg into a hamstring stretch without having to overly flex your neck, shoulders and upper back," says Dr. Capiro.

Shop now: VIcolour Microfiber Gym Towels Sports Towel, $14

2. Broom and Dustpan Set, $25

Let's say you're not as athletic and/or need to save your towel for bathtime only (same, friend, I own three and they're definitely rationed). So long as you clean your house, you should have another back stretch tool waiting in your pantry. "A broomstick can be used to stretch your shoulders above your head or behind your back without having to clasp your hands together," says Dr. Capiro.

Shop now: Broom and Dustpan Set, $25

Focus on relieving lower back pain with this workout:

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