7 Lower Back Stretches To Reduce Pain
Aches and pains are a normal (if annoying) part of getting older. However, there is one specific kind of pain that affects people of all ages. What are we talking about? Lower back pain, of course!
It’s possible that your lower back pain is being caused by something serious, including pancreatitis or kidney stones. As always, we recommend regularly visiting your doctor to stay on top of your health.
But most lower back pain is caused by the repetitive motions you make at work or just not getting enough exercise once you get home. In these cases, you can achieve almost immediate pain relief by doing the following lower back stretches.
Before we get to the stretches, thought, we wanted to offer some friendly warnings. First of all, you shouldn’t do these stretches more than twice a day. Doing too much, too quickly can actually make the pain worse, leaving you sore and miserable.
Second of all, you’re supposed to be able to breathe normally through each stretch. If your breath becomes ragged or labored, that’s your sign to take a break and wait a day or two before stretching again.
1. Stretching knee to chest
The knee-to-chest stretch is a classic move to relax your thighs, hips, and even your glutes. And you can get started with just a few easy steps.
First, lay flat on your back, bending your knees and keeping your feet planted flat on the floor. Next, you can either stretch your left knee out or leave it bent. After that, bring your right knee up to your chest, and you need to clasp your hands either on the top of your shinbone or simply behind your thighs.
Next, try to lengthen your spine without lifting up your hips. At this point, you breathe deeply in order to release any tension stored in your body. Try to keep this pose for at least 30 seconds (and no longer than 60 seconds), then do the same stretch with your other leg.
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2. Child’s pose
Even if you don’t know it by name, the child’s pose is a yoga move you have likely seen before. And this particular stretch is great for removing pain and tension from your shoulders, neck, and spine.
Start with your hands and knees both on the ground. Try to rest your hips on your heels. Next, fold your body forward, hinging your hips as you walk your hands out in front of your body.
Next, simply rest your stomach on top of your thighs. After that, stretch your arms either in front of or alongside your body, making sure to keep your palms facing upward.
All you have to do now is breathe deeply and hold the pose for no more than 60 seconds.
3. Seated spinal twist
“Spinal twist” may sound pretty scary. But the seated spinal twist is a classic stretch that helps with mobility (which is especially important as we get older).
Start by sitting on the floor and extending your legs out in front of you. Next, bend your left knee up and put your foot to the area outside of your right thigh.
After that, put your right arm outside of your left thigh area and put your left behind you for added support. Twist to the left from the base of your spine, hold the pose for about a minute, and then do the other side.
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4. Piriformis stretch
In case you’re curious, the piriformis is a muscle inside your butt. This stretch helps to relieve tightness and pain found both in your butt and in your lower back.
Begin by laying on your back, bending your knees and keeping your feet flat on the floor. Then, put your right ankle towards the bottom of your left thigh. After that, simply put your hands behind your left thigh and pull it towards your chest until it is nice and stretched out.
Try to hold the stretch for anywhere between 30 and 60 seconds. Afterward, repeat this stretch with your other side.
5. Cat-cow stretch
The “cat-cow” is a silly name for a stretch, and you’ll look even sillier doing it. But it’s one of the best ways to give your spine the wake-up call it has been needing.
Start by getting on all fours. Next, press down deep into both your hands and feet as you slowly inhale while looking up. After that, exhale while bringing your chin closer to your chest and arching your back upward.
You can keep moving and breathing like this for one to two minutes.
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6. Pelvic tilt
The pelvic tilt is a good “all in one” stretch. That’s because it relieves pain in your lower back while strengthening your hamstrings and glutes.
Start by lying back on the ground with bent knees (as always, keep your feet flat on the ground). Next, flatten yourself to the ground while working your abdominal muscles. Keep your breathing steady and hold this pose for no more than 10 seconds.
Relax and take a few breaths as needed before tilting again. Ultimately, you should do no more than three sets of these tilts, with anywhere between three and five repetitions per set.
7. Sphynx stretch
The name of this stretch calls to mind the mysterious Ancient Sphynx. Fortunately, instructions for this stretch aren’t very mysterious, and it will strengthen your chest, butt, and spine.
Start by lying on your stomach. Elbows should be beneath your shoulders and hands (palm out) should be in front of your body. Your feet should be apart, but not too far apart: you can still do this stretch even if your two big toes are in contact with each other.
Next, lift your head and chest, all while actively engaging your thighs, back, and butt. Keep that engagement tight as you breathe and then press your pelvis to the floor.
Hold this pose for between 30 and 60 seconds. While doing so, some prefer to stare directly in front of themselves, but it’s fine if you want to close your eyes.