Simple Home Back Care
There are so many great exercises that you can do for your back at home with simple tools like a foam roller. Here are some of my favorites that I routinely give my clients for "homework". The foam roller I am using in the photos is a Melt roller, however you can use any foam roller, I just recommend that it is a low density or soft roller. We are trying to open up the body not shut it down.
This can be done on or off the roller. You want to focus on slow articulation of the spine. When done on the roller it acts as a "runway" for your spine to move along. To start the exercise begin lying on your back feet flat on the floor and spine and pelvis in a neutral position. Tuck the pelvis and roll through the low back, lifting the pelvis and continuing to roll through the spine up to the top of the shoulder girdle. Then roll back down the spine to your starting position.
Low Back Release
Start by lying on your back with the roller under your pelvis. Lift your legs up to a table top position and place your hands on your thighs just above the knees. Gently press your hands into your thighs and your thighs into your hands. Then tuck your pelvis, reaching your low back to the floor. Then tilt your pelvis (arch your back) and think about sending your pelvis over the roller away from you. Continue several times, exhale to tuck and round the back and inhale to tilt and arch the back. Focus on the abdominals assisting in the movement.
This is one of my favorites for the spine and there are so many wonderful variations. This is just the basic sequence. Start siting in a mermaid sitting position or with your legs stacked to one side. (Mermaid sitting position is with one leg bent in front and then other bent to the side.) Start with the arm farthest away from your bent legs. So if your legs are bent to the right, start with your left arm. Reach it up to the ceiling before flexing the spine over the legs. Then you can do a counter stretch by placing the same arm on the floor and lifting up through the bottom ribs and reaching out of the top arm.
Have the roller under your shoulder blades in your mid back (adjust to the spot that feels the best). Lift the arms up and over allowing the spine to come up and over the roller. Go back as far as it feels comfortable. I recommend doing this one after the body has warmed up a bit. The thoracic spine is more willing to mobilize and you will be able to get more of a stretch. This is a great back opener after a long day sitting at a desk or driving.