Monday, 6 February 2012

Snow Schmow

Lucinda Cracknell Massage Hertfordshire
I have a confession to make – I don’t like snow. I don’t like cold, or wet, and I definitely don’t like slipping all over the place. My car is a little sports car, with rear wheel drive, and I live on a steep hill that doesn’t get gritted, so it tends to be grounded by ice leaving me to the vagaries of public transport.

However, I try to see the silver lining, and it can be beautiful – Berkhamsted lock was truly stunning on Saturday night. And it is an excuse to wear my very funky wellies. Yet even with these I found myself this morning picking my way gingerly along the foot path so I didn’t slip. This is not a natural way to walk, and I was soon feeling the beginnings of an ache and stiffness in my lower back from bracing myself against an all too possible fall.

It looks like we’ll have another day or two of icey and slushy pavements, so for those in the same boat, here are two stretches I find help to ease out the lower back.

The first is probably familiar, especially if you’ve done yoga or Pilates – the humble roll down.

Start standing with feet hip width apart, knees soft, or even slightly bent if it’s easier. Drop your chin to your chest then slowly curl your spine from the neck down, one vertebra at a time (or as close as you can get).  Breath out as you go. Just let your arms hang. Unless you’re pretty flexible, you’ll need to bend your legs as you get to the bottom of your spine to hang freely. Wait there for a few breaths, then slowly reverse, inhaling. Repeat a few times. If your spine doesn’t want to play ball, try starting standing against a wall. Don’t worry if sections of your spine “won’t” bend, just go really slowly and focus on the curl, and do what you can.

The second comes from T’ai Chi.

Start with feet hip width apart again, soft knees. Lift your right arm above your head, and put your left arm behind you, with the forearm horizontal across the small of your back. Turn your torso and shoulders to the left, then bend down over your left leg (it doesn’t matter how far you can go).  Sweep your right arm (now pointing to your left foot) in a C across the front of your body to your right leg. As you bring your torso upright on the right, sweep your left arm up over your head and your right arm down behind your back. If you got that right, you’re now a mirror image of where you started. So repeat in reverse. This is a flowing movement, but controlled – no flinging yourself backwards and forwards, that’s how you put something out. I do 10-15 each way, depending on how my back feels. Any dizziness from bending down, obviously stop!

These can also help with a stiff lower back from sitting or driving.

As always, if the pain goes on for a while, feels “nervy” or travels down into your legs, get it checked out.

Hope this helps!

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