Standing on your feet or sitting in a chair all day crunches the discs of your back together, and by the end of the day, many people are suffering from back pain. Stretching your back muscles will not only help relieve some of the pain, but it is also an important part of a workout because it will improve your flexibility and prevent injury. If you are thinking about purchasing a back-stretching machine, don’t forget to take into consideration your height and weight so you can get the right machine for you.
Stretcher trainers improve flexibility and range of motion for your back. As an alternative to stretching your back while lying on the floor or standing up, these machines allow you to sit comfortably while you stretch. You sit on an ergonomic seat and hold on to the bar. The machines are designed so you have to do the stretch properly and cannot cheat by using other muscles to assist you.
Back or spinal decompression machines are used by professionals who are experts in disorders of the spine, such as chiropractors. You wear a padded harness while lying on a table that is attached to the computerized machine. The computer tells the machine exactly how long and what amount of pressure to apply as it stretches and decompresses your spine. Your therapist monitors the process throughout the session. This form of back stretching is noninvasive and has a high success rate in relieving pain.
Inversion tables are the do-it-yourself home version of back decompression machines. You lie on the inversion table with your feet secured at one end by either boots or padded straps. Use your own weight to tilt the table so gravity stretches your back and elongates your back muscles. You can adjust the angle of the tilt to suit your preference. Many new users are uncomfortable hanging completely upside down and ease themselves into it by tilting the table at only a 20-degree angle. Inversion tables do not have the same level of success as professionally operated decompression machines.
Shiatsu stretchers use wooden rollers on a curved wooden base to stretch and loosen your back. You lie down on the curved base and relax while the rollers give you a Shiatsu-type massage. While you are relaxing on the stretcher, discs in your back are decompressed as the spinal space is gently opened up. Your blood flow increases and muscle tension is reduced. The stretcher is also lightweight and portable.
Based in Las Vegas, Sandy Vigil has been a writer and educator since 1980. She taught high school and middle school English and drama for 11 years. Vigil holds a Master of Science in teaching from Nova Southeastern University and a Bachelor of Arts in secondary English education from the University of Central Oklahoma.