The stretching videos here cover the whole body and utilize my preferred stretching method:
Active Isolated Stretching
Because this method doesn't trigger the protective stretch reflex I have found it to be much faster and more effective in actually improving the resting length in muscles. This, of course, is the goal of stretching.
The first of the stretching videos in this series is the Somatic Pelvic Tilt, one of the primary movements of Hanna Somatics. The movement mimics the natural stretch one automatically does in the morning.
I prescribe the Somatic Pelvic Tilt in several back pain situations:
1) When pain is such that very little movement is possible
2) When a client has lost muscular sensing of their back muscles (this is called Sensory Motor Amnesia)
3) As a general tonic for tired, stiff, and tight back muscles
Among the most ignored stretches are those for the hamstrings. I believe the reason for this is that too often static stretching techniques are used rather than a more effective technique like Active Isolated Stretching.
For many types of lower back pain, stretching the hip flexors is absolutely crucial. These muscles become short due to extended periods sitting at our desks or driving in the car. For a more in-depth discussion see my article about Iliopsoas Syndrome.
When short, the hip flexors can cause both direct pain, especially down the leg or into the groin, and also postural distortion which can lead to pain including lower back pain.
The gluteal muscles are another muscle group that can become tight and short from too much sitting. Potential symptoms of tight gluteal muscles include lower back pain and sciatica-like pain.
In addition, tight gluteal muscle can be the source of hip pain as a result of myofascial trigger points. Many of these problems can be relieved by regular, targeted stretching exercises.
Too often the quadriceps are ignored or are not performed thoroughly enough in stretching routines. This is mistake. Tight quads can responsible for aching in the hips and lower back.
The following is a 3-part sequence which comprehensively stretches this key muscle group.
Specific stretches and mobilization for the hip joints is an ideal complement to the gluteal stretches. These hip stretches will improve the overall range of motion of your hips and can help decrease hip pain.
I created the Full-Body Mobilizer because I wanted a thorough stretch my clients could do at work. This stretching sequence stretches the back, leg, and neck muscles using a fluid, repeated movement.
If you don't have time for a dedicated session of stretching it's still possible to perform highly effective stretches right at your desk.
The first of the stretching videos below targets the lower back. The second one targets the gluteal and piriformis muscles which are often the real problem when you're experiencing symptoms of sciatica.