Lower back pain is one of the most common ailments that many endure. Everyone, from athletes to office workers, will experience soreness or debilitating pain in their lower back at some point in their lives.
You should try stretching out your muscles to relieve chronic low back pain. This article covers eight stretches that are easy to do anywhere and should go a long way in preventing or relieving back pain if it is severe.
Stretching is an important part of a fitness routine and can help you prevent injuries. However, if you don’t know how to stretch properly, you could do more harm than good.
Here are some tips for stretching your lower back:
Always breathe while stretching. When you breathe out, the diaphragm moves down and relaxes your muscles. This makes it easier for them to stretch further, so it’s important to exhale.
When stretching your lower back muscles, do it carefully to avoid injuring yourself. Or break any bones in the process.
If something hurts, stop immediately and leave that position until the pain subsides. You can then try again later when your muscles are more warmed up.
If you are starting, try holding each stretch for at least 30 seconds before you move on to another. That way, you’ll give your body plenty of time to relax into the stretch and feel the benefits of it. As time goes on, gradually increase the amount of time, each stretch lasts until you can hold each one for at least 60 seconds without discomfort or pain.
Best Back Stretches
1. Child’s Pose
The Child’s Pose Exercise is an effective exercise that stretches the lower back and hamstrings. It is a great pose after any workout, whether it is yoga or strength training.
In this position, the body relaxes completely, allowing blood flow to be directed toward the brain. This can help alleviate stress and anxiety and improve circulation throughout the body.
How to Do the Child’s Pose Step-by-Step
- Start on your knees and hands in a tabletop position.
- Keep your head up to look forward without straining your neck muscles. Ensure your back is straight.
- Keep your feet together, flat on the floor, with knees together (or slightly apart). Focus on pressing through both heels as you press into your hands for support and stability.
- Exhale as you lower yourself onto your forearms, letting your head drop toward the floor.
- Inhale while pressing down into your hands and lift yourself.
- Repeat for 60 seconds or longer until you feel relaxed enough to sit straight.
Modifications of the Child’s Pose Exercise
Put a pillow or folded blanket under your hips. This will help you relax your spine and lower back, which are often tight after sitting for long periods. It also helps support your upper body as you bend forward.
2. Knee-to-Chest Stretch
Knee-to-chest stretch is an exercise that stretches the muscles of the lower back and buttocks. This stretch is often done to relieve pain in the lower back but can also help relieve pain in the neck and shoulders.
The knee-to-chest stretch is a fairly simple exercise, but it can be challenging for some people to achieve a full range of motion. If you cannot get into the proper position or it hurts, slow down and take your time with this exercise.
How to Do the Knee-to-Chest Stretch
1. Lie down with your feet flat, and your knees bent on the floor.
2. Hold onto your right knee with your right arm and pull it towards the chest until you feel a stretch on your thigh.
3. Hold for 30 seconds, lower the leg, and switch sides.
4. Repeat ten times on each side, twice a day
Modifications of the Knee-to-Chest Stretch
The knee-to-chest stretch can cause discomfort or pain if you have a strained neck. You can modify the stretch to avoid straining your neck.
To do so, place a pillow on the floor and rest your head on it. You can bend your knees and bring them toward your chest. If you still have discomfort after modifying this exercise, stop doing it and consult with your doctor or physical therapist.
3. Piriformis Stretch
Piriformis stretch is a simple and effective way to relieve pain in the lower back. You can also use it to help with tight hips and glutes. The piriformis muscle is found deep in the buttocks and connects the sacrum (the base of the spine) to the femur (thigh bone).
The muscle can become tight or irritated when you sit for long periods. Hence, it causes the sciatic nerve to get compressed and irritated. This can lead to pain down the back of your hip and leg.
The piriformis stretch is very simple and easy to do. It targets an area that many people have trouble reaching. So, it’s worth trying if you feel any sciatica or hip pain.
To Stretch Your Piriformis Muscle:
- Lie down on your back with all your knees bent.
- Cross one leg over the other and place your foot flat on the floor.
- Wrap your hands around the outside of your thigh (closer to the knee)
- Gently pull it towards the chest until you feel the stretch in your buttocks.
- Let your knee drop open towards the floor as far as it will go without causing discomfort or pain.
- Hold for not less than 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
Modifications of the Piriformis Stretch
If you feel unstable, place your lower foot on the floor for support. This will help prevent rotation in your spine that can lead to injury.
Take as much time as needed to move into each position slowly and carefully. This way, you don’t aggravate any existing injuries or cause new ones by going too fast or overdoing it too soon.
Use a pillow or blanket to support your head and neck while you lie down. This will help remove some of the pressure on your lower back.
4. Seated Spinal Twist
The seated spinal twist is a simple, relaxing spinal twist you can do anywhere.
The seated spinal twist is a gentle yoga posture that can help relieve stress and tension in the lower back. It stretches the spine, strengthens the lower back muscles, and improves circulation to the abdominal organs. Seated spinal twists are also good for digestion.
Seated Spinal Twist Step-by-Step
- Start the pose seated with the legs straight in front of you.
- Bend the left leg and put your foot on your right knee.
- Twist from the waist and place your right elbow outside the left knee, with your forearm resting on the floor.
- Ensure you engage both sides of your body.
- Keep breathing deeply throughout this sequence to help you relax further into the pose!
Modification of the Seated Spinal Twist
Keep your legs straight and imagine a string pulling them toward the ceiling. This will help keep your spine long and give extra support in keeping your knees in line with your ankles.
5. Pelvic Tilt
The pelvic tilt is a common exercise to strengthen your lower back, especially the pelvic floor muscles.
It can help improve your posture by strengthening your lower back and pelvis muscles. It’s also an effective way to relieve lower back pain and help you sit up straight.
The pelvic tilt is an easy exercise you can do anywhere and anytime. It requires no equipment and only takes a few minutes to do.
How to Do the Pelvic Tilt
- Lie onto your back with the knees bending and feet flat on the floor.
- Inhale, exhale, and tighten your lower abs as if you’re about to do a sit-up or crunch.
- Slowly tilt your pelvis forward and up, so your lower back flattens against the floor.
- Hold for at least 10 seconds, then relax and repeat ten times.
- Repeat this exercise daily until you can hold the pelvic tilt for at least 30 seconds without straining.
Pelvic Tilt Modification
Do not strain yourself when doing this exercise. Try to keep your body relaxed to prevent stress on any part of your body during this exercise. If you feel pain in any part of your body, stop immediately and consult your doctor before continuing with this exercise program.
If you are pregnant, try a standing version. Rather than lying down on your back to do this exercise, stand straight with your feet apart and knees slightly bent. While performing this exercise, you may hold onto something or lean against it.
Do not hold your breath as you do the pelvic tilt. This could cause dizziness due to the brain’s lack of oxygen supply.
The Cat-Cow exercise is a yoga posture that helps to relax your body and prepare it for other movements.
The main muscles involved in Cat-Cow are the lower back muscles, abdominal muscles, and hip flexors. The spine lengthens by moving into the cow pose while it is compressed in the cat pose.
The pelvic floor muscles strengthen by contracting while holding each pose. This helps prevent bladder leakage during pregnancy and postpartum.
It’s often used as a warm-up at the beginning of a yoga class. However, you can also do it on its own if you’re looking for a way to stretch and relax.
How to Do the Cat-Cow Exercise
- Get on your knees and hands with your wrists below the shoulders, knees under your hips, and spine long.
- Inhale as you tuck your tailbone under and lift the chest up and forward, like a cow stretching its back.
- Exhale as you round the spine, looking down at the floor.
- Repeat five times, alternating between the two positions for one minute each
Modification of the Cat-Cow Exercise
If you feel pain in your knees or wrists, try using a cushion or pillow under your hands or knees when performing this exercise. This will help alleviate some of the strain caused by the weight of your body resting on these joints.
7. Sphinx Stretch
The Sphinx Stretch is the most basic stretch you can do. It’s easy to remember and perform. It is a great exercise to help improve flexibility. The Sphinx is a position that improves mobility in the tight hip flexors, shoulders, and neck. This position stretches the chest and abdomen while strengthening the upper back muscles.
How to Do the Sphinx Stretch
- Begin on your hands and knees with both palms flat on the floor.
- Tuck your toes under and place them hip-width apart, with your knees directly below your hips.
- Slowly push your chest to lean forward until only your forearms are left in contact with the ground
- Raise your toes as high as possible without lifting your feet.
- Breathe in as you hold this position for ten to 15 seconds.
- Breathe out as you raise yourself back up to a standing position.
Modification of the Sphinx Stretch
Complete the full Sphinx Stretch but keep your knees on the floor. This will help you maintain balance and reduce pressure on the lower back.
Place a rolled-up towel under each knee for added support and comfort during the stretch. This modification is especially helpful if you have tight hamstrings or difficulty keeping your balance in this pose.
8. Forearm Plank
A forearm plank is a perfect way to work your core and strengthen your back. It’s a simple exercise that anyone can do, regardless of fitness level.
Apart from the back and core, this exercise also targets your shoulders and arms. It’s an easy way to activate your abdominal muscles without having to do crunches or sit-ups.
The plank is also considered a good exercise for people with back problems. It helps prevent injury by strengthening the muscles in the back and supporting your spine.
How to Do a Forearm Plank:
- Lie on your stomach with your arms straight in front and palms down flat on the floor.
- Lift yourself into a forearm plank position while keeping both forearms on the floor and elbows aligned under the shoulders.
- Keep knees off the ground by placing them on the toes if needed.
- Hold the position for 30 seconds or more while breathing regularly. Do not hold your breath during any exercise unless otherwise instructed.
Forearm Plank Modification
If you have trouble holding the position or your shoulders are too tight, place your elbows on a yoga block or sturdy table top. Walk your feet back until they reach the wall behind you.
This will remove some of the weight off your arms. Hence, they will no longer support as much weight and pressure on them.
What Exercises Should I Avoid If I Have Lower Back Pain?
You can do several stretches to improve your lower back pain, but some exercises may worsen it.
Here are six exercises you should avoid if you have lower back pain:
- Squats: The exercises can be very beneficial for the lower back. However, if your knees aren’t able to fully extend. Or your legs are stiff and tight; squats can add too much stress to your lower back.
- Deadlifts: This exercise involves lifting a heavy weight off the ground with both hands while keeping your back straight. This exercise can be hard on the lower back if you don’t have good form or other spine problems.
- Sit-Ups and Crunches: They work mainly on just one muscle, the rectus abdominis. It’s better to strengthen all of the muscles in your core to develop functional strength rather than just simple muscle definition.
Is Stretching Good for Lower Back Pain?
Lower back pain is a popular problem that affects millions of people. If you have lower back pain, finding ways to prevent the condition from worsening is important. Stretching your back can help reduce pain.
It can also provide many other benefits regarding lower back pain. Stretching increases flexibility and range of motion in your spine. This allows you to move more freely without straining your muscles or joints.
It relieves muscle tension and improves circulation to stiff or sore muscles. This can help reduce stiffness and discomfort from sitting for long periods or performing repetitive motions.
Stretching helps you maintain good posture by strengthening weak muscles and improving balance in the body. Good posture reduces stress on the spine and helps absorb shock from everyday activities. For example, if walking, lifting, and bending over to pick things up off the floor.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Lower Back Pain?
The most common one is muscle strain. Tight muscles cause this. You can strain your lower back muscles if you have been doing heavy lifting or sitting in an awkward posture for a long time.
The second cause of lower back pain is arthritis. The bones that make up their spine start to break down and wear away as people age. This causes inflammation, making it painful to move around or sit still for long periods.
The lower back is a sensitive area of the body and plays a large role in our day-to-day activities. Stretching the lower back can improve flexibility and is a great pain relief, which is especially helpful as we age. You can also use back massager for your back pain. Put these stretches into practice to relieve tightness in your lower back and take your mobility to new heigh