Unloading your discs.
Although we have curves in our spine for a delicately balanced structure, the upright position puts pressure on our discs, squeezing fluid out of them and reducing the height between the vertebral bodies by approximately 2 cms during the day. When we sit, the pressure increases dramatically. This is much more marked in the lower lumbar spine as it attaches to the pelvis and takes the full weight of the upper body. This fluid is replaced while lying down to sleep. If the increased pressure is sustained over a long period, such as more than an hour, more fluid is lost than is compatible with a functional back and stress falls on the surrounding facet joints. Increased stress on the small joints and lack of movement causes congestion leading on to swelling.
For this reason it is essential that we decompress the discs from time to time during the day.
This is done when we stand up and go into a squatting position. This elongates the spine and opens up the disc space between vertebral bodies. In addition to spending a couple of minutes in the squatting position, repeated flexion, extension of the spine will act as Pressure Change Therapy helping to draw fluid into the discs as described above.
Bending and arching the spine can be done in many ways and positions, even sitting in a chair.
Learning how to use a back block is a very effective way of decompressing your discs. This has to be done in a lying position with a suitable block placed under the pelvis and straightening the legs.