Stiff Lumbar Spine
The lumbar region may become stiff for reasons similar to those causing stiffness in other regions of the spine, namely immobility or after injury. Many of the active and passive stretches in the section on sub-acute low back strain may be helpful. Additional stretches may be useful, and these are described below.
In addition to the stretches shown in the section for sub-acute low back strain (figures 7.26 through 7.30), clients may benefit from this supine rotatory stretch (figure 7.40) and this seated rotatory stretch (figure 7.41), using the upper limb to increase the stretch in each example.
Popular methods of stretching the soft tissues of the lumbar area, especially quadratus lumborum, are to apply gentle overpressure to the client as she rests in a position of rotation whilst supine (figure 7.42) or, more dramatically, in a side-lying position, sometimes with a small towel beneath the waist (figure 7.43). To increase the stretch further, the client could be positioned, with caution, on a gym ball (figure 7.44). Not all clients with a stiff low back will feel comfortable in these positions, and such clients may need to emphasize active stretches in their programmes.