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10 Stretch Exercises That Will Help You Relieve Lower Back Pain

Experiencing back pain can be a real nuisance. Wouldn’t it be great if you could minimize the chances of dealing with this bothersome discomfort in the first place?

Engaging in stretching and other light exercises can effectively alleviate lower back agony. Establishing a regular exercise routine to strengthen your core and maintain your body’s flexibility can be immensely beneficial.

By developing a strong core, you provide essential protection for your lower back, which is one of the most effective ways to prevent the onset of pain and gradually alleviate any existing discomfort.

In this article, we will explore ten remarkable stretches that can help alleviate lower back pain.

  1. Back Flexion

Back flexion involves bending your spine from the waist, a familiar exercise for those who have undergone back rehabilitation programs. This stretch is gentle on the back and can be performed comfortably while lying on the ground, making it suitable for many individuals.

People with specific back issues, such as spinal stenosis, lumbar spondylolisthesis, and degenerative disc disease, can benefit from this stretch. However, those with a herniated or bulging disc should exercise caution and consult with their doctor before attempting it.

How to perform it:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
  2. Gradually lift your feet off the ground and bring your knees towards your chest.
  3. Hold your knees or thighs, whichever is more comfortable, and gently pull your legs toward your chest.
  4. When you feel a stretch in your lower back, hold the position for three to five seconds before releasing your feet.
  5. Repeat this exercise ten times.

2. Single Knee To Chest Stretch

This stretch is similar to back flexion and is particularly beneficial if your back muscles are tight, making it challenging to bring both knees towards your chest. It serves as a preparatory stretch, helping to increase flexibility in your lower back before progressing to back flexion.

Additionally, the knee-to-chest stretch enhances your range of motion and alleviates stiffness associated with spinal arthritis or spinal stenosis.

How to perform it:

  1. Lie on the ground with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground, as in the back flexion exercise.
  2. Instead of lifting both legs, raise one leg and bring it toward your chest.
  3. Interlace your fingers under the knee and gently pull your leg until you feel a stretch in your lower back.
  4. Throughout the stretch, keep your legs, pelvis, and lower back as relaxed as possible.
  5. Hold the position for three to five seconds before releasing the leg and placing it back on the floor.
  6. Repeat the same stretch with the other leg.
  7. Perform this stretch ten times.

3. Kneeling Lunge Stretch

Your hip flexors significantly impact the well-being of your lower back. Tight hip flexors can weaken your lower back and cause pain. The kneeling lunge stretch is an excellent way to loosen those muscles and keep your hips flexible.

How to perform it:

  1. While maintaining a straight back, kneel on one knee and place the other foot in front of you, ensuring the knee of the forward foot is at a 90-degree angle.
  2. Once you feel stable, slide forward until you feel a stretch in the front of the kneeling leg.
  3. Hold this position for approximately 30 seconds.
  4. Slowly rise and switch legs.
  5. Repeat this stretch four to six times.

  1. Piriformis Stretch

The piriformis muscle, located beneath the gluteal muscles, plays a crucial role in hip flexibility and stability. When the piriformis muscles are weak or tight, it can lead to lower back pain, sciatica pain, and overall hip stiffness.

How to perform it:

  • The simplest way to stretch the piriformis muscle is by sitting cross-legged on the floor for a few minutes every day.
  • If you spend extended periods sitting in a chair, you can stretch the piriformis muscle by crossing one leg over the other and placing the ankle on the opposite knee. Then, lean forward.
  • To achieve a deeper stretch, lie on your back with one foot on the ground, knee bent, and place the ankle of the other foot on top of the knee. Gently pull the leg that was on the ground toward your chest.
  1. Trunk Rotation

If you have ever visited a chiropractor, you are likely familiar with this stretch that effectively improves lower back flexibility and helps realign your vertebrae, releasing tension in your lumbar spine.

How to perform it:

  • Begin by lying flat on your back, bending your knees, and placing your feet flat on the floor.
  • Slowly rotate your legs to the left while keeping your right shoulder blade firmly on the floor.
  • You should start feeling a stretch in your spine and right hip, and you may even hear a popping sound in your back—this is normal.
  • Hold this position for three to five minutes.
  • Once you feel that you have sufficiently stretched that side, bring your legs back to a neutral position before repeating the stretch on the other side.
  1. Child’s Pose

Child’s Pose, also known as Balasana, is a widely recognized and calming yoga pose that provides a gentle stretch to the lower back. However, individuals with knee injuries should exercise caution when attempting this pose.

How to perform it:

  1. Begin by kneeling on the floor with both knees, ensuring that your big toes are touching, and rest your buttocks on your heels.
  2. Gradually separate your knees slightly and start bending forward, allowing your torso to rest between your thighs. Maintain a lengthened tailbone and aim to lower yourself as much as possible.
  3. For an enhanced stretch, you can extend your arms forward and place your hands on the floor, allowing your shoulders to relax.
  4. Hold this pose for a few minutes, ideally three to five, before gently coming up from the position.

  1. Cat-Camel Stretch

The cat-camel stretch is a well-known yoga pose that promotes spinal mobility in a gentle and supportive manner.

By redistributing your body weight, this stretch allows you to move your back without the risk of overloading it, while also toning your back muscles.

How to perform it:

  1. Position yourself on your hands and knees, ensuring a stable base.
  2. Slowly round your back, moving towards your maximum flexion.
  3. Once you reach the furthest point, gradually reverse the movement and begin arching your back.
  4. Take your time with each round of rounding and arching, aiming for a duration of three to four seconds.
  5. Repeat this exercise five to six times, focusing on controlled and deliberate movements.
  6. Remember, the purpose of this stretch is not to vigorously shake your back like twerking or trying to dislodge something. Instead, focus on gradually arching and rounding your back, fostering improved movement control throughout your entire spine.
  7. This stretch promotes mobility throughout your cervical (neck), thoracic (mid-back), and lumbar (lower back) regions, ensuring they all extend and flex harmoniously together.
  1. Hamstring Stretch:

Your hamstrings, located at the back of your thigh, play a vital role in knee flexion and hip function, supporting the functioning of your gluteal muscles. When your hamstrings are tight, they can limit hip mobility and contribute to overall body stiffness, potentially affecting your lower back.

Luckily, there are multiple ways to stretch your hamstrings, and here are two effective methods:

Method 1:

  1. Sit on the floor with one leg extended straight in front of you and the other leg bent.
  2. Reach forward and attempt to touch the toes of the extended leg.
  3. Hold the stretch for approximately 10 seconds.
  4. Switch legs and repeat the stretch on the opposite side.
  5. For a deeper stretch, you can grasp the sole of your foot and gently pull your body closer to your knee.

Method 2:

  1. Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart, ensuring your knees are not bent.
  2. Slowly bend forward from your hips, aiming to touch your toes with your hands.
  3. Maintain the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
  4. To enhance the stretch, you can cross one leg in front of the other before bending forward.

By incorporating these hamstring stretches into your routine, you can improve hamstring flexibility, enhance hip mobility, and alleviate tension in your lower back.

  1. Raised Pelvic Tilt:

The Raised Pelvic Tilt exercise is beneficial for strengthening the abdominal muscles, which, in turn, can alleviate tightness and discomfort in the lower back.

Here’s how to perform it:

  1. Lie on your back with both knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Engage your abdominal muscles by pressing your abdomen into the floor and tightening your stomach muscles.
  3. Lift your pelvis off the floor, maintaining the engagement of your abdominal muscles.
  4. Hold this position for 5 to 10 seconds, focusing on maintaining stability and control.
  5. Slowly lower your pelvis back onto the floor while taking deep breaths and allowing your muscles to relax.
  6. Repeat this stretch for a total of 3 to 5 times, ensuring proper form and technique throughout.

Incorporating the Raised Pelvic Tilt exercise into your routine can help strengthen your core, alleviate lower back tension, and promote overall stability and support for your spine.

  1. Prone Press:

Note: The Prone Press stretch may not be suitable for individuals with spinal arthritis or facet joint problems. However, if you’re experiencing issues with a herniated disc, this stretch could be beneficial for you.

Unlike the previous stretches, the Prone Press is performed while lying face down.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Lie on your stomach with your forehead resting on the floor.
  2. Position your hands in line with your shoulders, with your elbows bent and forearms on the floor.
  3. Slowly push up, lifting your front torso off the ground, which will cause your lower back to arch backward.
  4. Maintain the arched position of your lower back for about 30 seconds.
  5. Gently lower your forehead back to the ground.
  6. Focus on maintaining proper technique and form throughout the stretch.
  7. Repeat the Prone Press stretch three to five times.

Incorporating these stretches into your daily routine can have a significant impact on how you feel. As you strengthen your core and increase flexibility, you may experience a reduction or complete disappearance of tension and pain in your lower back.

Remember, not every stretch is suitable for everyone. If you have any doubts or concerns, it’s always best to consult with your doctor to determine which stretches are most appropriate for your specific circumstances. By seeking professional advice, you can ensure a safe and effective stretching routine that supports a healthy spine.