Why do my lower back muscles contract when I am cold? How can I make them relax?
December 31, 2003 11:25 PM   Subscribe

Why do my lower back muscles contract when I am cold? It is uncontrollable and often causes pain. Is there anything I can do to train the muscles to relax? Would having a stronger lower back make it worse or better?
posted by will to Health & Fitness (3 answers total)
Gentle exercise is almost always helpful. This tape has been very helpful for me for both relaxing muscles and making them stronger. It isn't just the back muscles, it's the abdominal muscles that need strength for back health.
posted by JanetLand at 6:43 AM on January 1, 2004

I have this problem in the worst way. Stretching exercises help a lot. One of the best ones, for me, is to place both hands on a wall, back up a few steps, and lift up on my toes for a few seconds, then down. Repeat for 10 minutes or so.

Also, Aleve is a godsend for me for back pain. I used to have muscle spasms in my back every 1-2 years that'd send me to the ER and then flat on my back for a week. Not anymore ... for whatever reason Aleve keeps the muscles in my back from spasming.
posted by WolfDaddy at 7:57 AM on January 1, 2004

I too have lower back problems. There are a number of stretching exercises that you can do which can help. (Please note that I am not a physiotherapist and you do these at your own risk)
Try lying flat on your back and just rolling your pelvis up towards your stomach, then back, (x10).
Another: on your back with legs bent, and knees pointing up, gently raise one knee to chest then back down, alternate between legs, ten raises each.
Another: again on back with legs bent and knees pointing up, gently swing the knees to point to the left, then back up, then to the right, then back up. Roll the knees as far down as is comfortable, your buttocks can leave the floor, your feet should maintain contact with the floor but do not need to be flat on the floor. Your shoulders should stay flat on the floor. Ten rolls to either side. If you manage to do these every day it might help. You should probably make sure you pay proper attention to your seating arrangements, particularly at work or if you use metafilter in some other location.

Wolfdaddy's recommendation is probably stretching the hamstrings in the back of the legs which can take some pressure off, you can also do this by lying down on your back, raising one leg against a pole or door frame and pushing against it with the back of your heel whilst the other leg and rest of your body stay flat - be gentle with yourself - if you're uncomfortable with this or are not sure what I'm describing stick with Wolfdaddy's recommendation.
posted by biffa at 12:50 PM on January 1, 2004

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