Best Stretches For Lower Back Pain

Best Stretches For Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is one of the most common back problems in the modern-day and age. An estimate of 80% of adults experience lower back pain at soCategoriesme point in their lives.

Because we live in a world where posture and sitting/sleeping positions get easily disrupted, such a high percentage is actually expected.

People spend a lot of time sitting in offices, slouching, or standing for several hours in a row. Not to mention that an increasing number of people lead sedentary lifestyles, and even higher number sleeps on uncomfortable, unconforming mattresses. Lower back pain seems inevitable and completely normal nowadays.

Stretches For lower Back Pain
Image Source: Terry Cralle, RN

But, the pain of any kind is not normal, and luckily, lower back pain can also be prevented and treated or alleviated.

Exercises or stretches are commonly advised as the best way to relieve the pain and bring mobility and stability to the lower back area. Therefore, in the following paragraphs, we will present some of the best stretch exercises you can utilize any time you need.

Of course, make sure to consult your doctor about these exercises if you’re not sure about adverse effects. So, let’s get started!

1. The ‘Good Morning’ Stretches

Good Morning Stretches

To get warmed up here’s a very simple and easy-to-do stretch exercise. You can do this exercise anytime, anywhere, so it is very useful to know in case your lower back starts hurting at work, for example. Here’s what you’ll do;

  • Stand up, holding a straight position, with neck, head, and the back straight. The feet should be slightly apart.
  • Make sure to fold your arms in front of your chest. You can also place one arm onto the other, each hand touching the opposite elbow.
  • Bend your knees slightly as you also breathe out and bend towards. The final position should look like this; your back is straight, while your bottom is sticking out. Make sure your neck and head are also aligned with the back in this position (don’t lift your head).
  • While in this position, take a deep breath and return to the initial standing position. You can spend 5 to 10 seconds in the bent position, before breathing in.
  • Make sure to repeat this stretch exercise at least 10 times for full effect.

2. Half Or One-Third Squat Stretches

Half Or One-Third Squat Stretches

After you’re done with the ‘Good Morning’ stretches, the half squat stretches should follow immediately after. This way you will take advantage of the warming up and continue to relax the lower back muscles. Here’s what you’ll do;

  • Stand, holding a straight back and having your feet apart. Make sure to extend your arms in front of your chest, or fold them like in the previous stretch exercise.
  • Now, make sure to bend your knees slightly, or until your thighs are almost parallel with the floor. You will be actually doing a one-third squat.
  • Make sure to stay in this position several seconds, ensuring that your back is still straight and that you’re holding your arms straight in front of your chest.
  • When you’re done with the one-third squat, progress to making half a squat, holding the same position. Make sure not to go deeper beyond half a squat.
  • Breathe out while getting into the position of a squat, and breathe in as you’re getting up.
  • Make sure to repeat this exercise at least 5 times, and increase to 10 after you get used to it and you feel less pain and pressure in the thighs.

3. Head, Arms and Trunk Rotation

Head, Arms and Trunk Rotation

This is an exercise you can do standing up or sitting. It is very simple and involves minimum movement which is great in case you’re in a lot of pain. Here’s what you’ll do;

  • Stand or sit with your back up and straight and your feet hip-width apart. Extend your arms and hands before you, reaching the shoulder level.
  • Now, make sure to move your head, shoulders, and arms to one side, ensuring that your back is still straight and hips are still and locked in. Rotate those arms and shoulders as far as you can, but make sure not to overdo it and worsen your back pain.
  • If you rotate to the left, your right arm should bend across the chest; the same goes for the other arm.
  • Keep the position for few seconds before turning to the other side. You can repeat this stretch exercise 5 to 10 times, depending on the pain levels and movement ability.

4. Cat’s and Dog’s Pose

Cat Pose
Cat Pose
God Pose
Dog Pose

Now, this is a very effective stretch exercise that will make the lower back more mobile, less tense, and less stiff. You will feel instant pain and pressure relief. Here’s what you’ll do;

  • Get onto the floor with your hands and knees on the ground. Make sure you’re not tilting towards and that your back is in the proper, straight position.
  • Now, all you have to do is arch your back (just like cats do when they’re scared or angry). Make sure you pull your head towards your chest too.
  • Keep the arched position for a few seconds, and then lower your stomach towards the floor, lifting your head as you do this. This should resemble a dog standing, hence the dog’s pose.
  • Repeat both stretches from 5 to 10 times, ensuring that you breathe in and out with each new stretch.
  • If you’re pregnant and experiencing lower back pain, we don’t recommend this exercise for safety reasons. However, you can still discuss it with your doctor.

5. Arm Swings Exercise

Arm Swings Exercise

This stretch exercise might be a little demanding for people who experience serious lower back pain and who generally lead a sedentary lifestyle. We recommend you warm up properly and try doing this exercise every day, in order to reach its full potential and effect. Here’s what the exercise includes;

  • Get onto the floor with your hands and knees on the ground. Make sure you’re not tilting towards and that your back is in the proper, straight position.
  • While in this position, raise one hand off the floor and reach underneath your body, as far as you can. Hold this position for a few seconds, if you can, of course.
  • Upon returning, make sure to swing the arm out, behind your back as far as you can. Hold this position, and make sure to stretch the arm backward for a few seconds.
  • Return to the starting position, breath in, and repeat the stretch with the other arm. Make sure to repeat this exercise between 5 and 10 times, depending on your abilities.

6. Arm and Leg Extension Stretch

Arm And Leg Extension Stretch

Just like the previous exercise, this one might also be a little tricky for beginners. We also advise proper warm up and determination, so you can over a course of time do this stretch without a problem. Here’s what the arm and leg stretch require;

  • Just like in the previous exercise, make sure to first get onto the floor with hands and knees on the ground. Your back must be in a proper, straight position.
  • Now, stretch one arm in front of you, while simultaneously extending the opposite leg out behind. Keep this position for a few seconds.
  • Return to the original position, and repeat the stretch with the other arm and leg. Repeat this exercise between 5 and 10 times, depending on the pain levels and your abilities.

7. Leg and Knee to Chest Stretch

Leg and Knee to Chest Stretch

For this stretch exercise, we recommend you use a yoga mat or any type of a soft, flat mat that will prevent additional pressure to your back. Here’s what you’ll do;

  • Lie down onto the mat, with your back straight, arms resting next to the body.
  • First, you will lift one leg up, pulling it gently with your arms toward the chest. Do this as much as you can, and in time increase the stretching of the leg by pulling it back more.
  • Make sure your leg and knee are straight up, possibly in a 90-degree angle against your body. Hold this position up to a minute, and then release. Repeat with the other leg as well.
  • Once you’ve done the first part of this exercise, you will do the same, only instead of the leg, you’ll be pulling the knee towards the chest. The other leg should be bent slightly so that it allows more movement.
  • Make sure that the stretch is comfortable, and that you hold it at least 15 seconds. Repeat the stretch with each leg between 5 to 10 times.

8. Seated Twist Stretch

Seated Twist Stretch

This might be one of the best lower back pain exercises. It is really simple and quite effective in cases of a stiff back, tension, pressure, and pain in the lower back. Here’s what you’ll do;

  • Sit on a yoga mat (or anything similar) and make sure to cross your legs.
  • Now, twist your shoulders and place one hand on the floor behind you. Place the hand behind you as far as you can, but make sure to keep your stability.
  • Now, you will place the other hand on your knees and twist towards the side, holding the position for at least 5 seconds. The hand on the knee should serve as a lever.
  • Repeat this for both arms at least 5 times, or as much as you can, considering the pain levels in the lower back, of course.

9. Heel Dig Hip Lift Stretches

Heel Dig Hip Lift Stretches

For this exercise, you will also need to lie on a soft mat, preferably a yoga mat. If you don’t have one, you can use a blanket, or lie on a soft rug. Here’s what the exercise requires;

  • Lie down onto the mat, and bend both of your knees at 90 degrees. Lift your feet and make sure your heels are digging into the floor or the mat.
  • Now, make sure to really push your knees into the floor/mat, squeeze your bottom and lift your hips from the floor. Make sure that your shoulders, hips, and knees are all in line.
  • While in this position, you can place your arms next to your body for extra support, or you can simply relax them on your chest.
  • Stay in this position for at least 5 seconds, while breathing normally. Then, slowly lower your hips to the floor and relax for a few seconds, before repeating.
  • You can do anywhere between 10 to 15 repetitions of this stretch exercise or as much as your back can handle.

Other Common Exercises For Lower Back Pain

  • Yoga – yoga is generally known to benefit the body, especially the back area. In cases of pain, lack of mobility or stability, yoga can help with both upper and lower back pain. Yoga exercises are gentle, done slowly, and don’t require too much effort. They also strengthen the core and back muscles, while giving your back the necessary stability and flexibility.
  • Pilates – similar to yoga, pilates is excellent for dealing with back pain. Pilates exercises are specific because they target the weak areas of your back and strengthen the muscles as well as the spinal column. Pilates also promotes proper posture, lowers the pressure onto your lower back, and gives it the stability it needs.
  • Swimming – even though it isn’t usually associated with exercising, swimming is a great way to relieve the pain and pressure off your back. By swimming, you can take the strain off the muscles and joints, while moving and working out your entire body.
Best Stretches For Lower Back Pain exercises
Image Source: Terry Cralle, RN

Best Lower Back Pain Recommendations

  • Exercise regularly – it is not only important you do the lower back pain stretches regularly, but also to do other types of exercising and physical activity. Try going for a walk, go swimming or do some cycling as frequently as you can. This way, you will strengthen your back muscles, while ensuring flexibility, stability, and mobility of your back.
  • Go against the pain – it is important you do the stretches and other physical activity even when your back pain doesn’t seem to let you do it. Always try to be a little bit more active than you can, so you can prevent stiffness of the lower back. Try not to lay too long on your bed, because this will contribute to the pain.
  • Loose weight – excess weight can put additional pressure onto your lower back, causing or worsening the pain. Therefore, try to lose weight and maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. This will help you heal your back and prevent similar problems in the future.
  • Keep a good posture – even though posture isn’t something you are always aware of, if you want to get rid of the back pain, it will have to be the first thing on your mind. Keeping a good posture is essential for the painless lower back. So, avoid slouching as you stand or sit, keep your feet flat on the floor, sleep on you back and sit properly in the chair (with your hips pulled back to the char and back straight).
  • Address the issue – if the lower back pain persists or becomes worse, make sure to address the problem with a doctor or medical professional/physical therapist. In such a case, there might be an underlying problem that needs to be solved, or there could be a chance of a lower back condition.
  • Lift properly – if you have to lift something heavy, make sure to keep it next to your body. Always bend your knees, instead of your back or hips. This will prevent you from hurting your back and causing more pain.

Also read:The Best Sleeping Positions for Lower Back Pain

Final Words

Lower back pain is so annoying! We truly hope that these stretches will help you deal with the pain and finally get better. When it comes to lower back pain, it is important to persist and stay determined to get better. Try to go against the pain, as much as you can, and stay physically active. If your back problems persist or worsen, discuss your next step with your doctor or physical therapist. Good luck!

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