10 Best and simple stretches to relieve lower back pain

People of all ages frequently experience back discomfort, which can severely negatively influence their quality of life and everyday activities.

It is one of the main factors in global disability and significantly raises the expense of healthcare.

Back pain ranges in intensity and persistence from acute, transient discomfort to chronic, persistent pain. Lifestyle choices, including bad posture, inactivity, and obesity, frequently bring on back discomfort [1].

However, underlying medical issues like spinal stenosis, ruptured discs, or arthritis might also be to blame.

The underlying reason and degree of the pain will determine the best treatment for back pain. Rest, physical therapy, analgesics, or surgery could all be part of it. Certain lifestyle modifications

A number of factors, such as the following, can contribute to lower back pain:

  1. Poor posture or body mechanics: Spending a lot of time sitting or standing in an uncomfortable position can strain the muscles in the lower back, causing pain.
  2. Muscle or ligament strain: In the lower back, overuse, lifting bulky things, quick motions, or a fall can result in muscle or ligament strain.
  3. Herniated or bulging disc: The discs in the spine that separate the vertebrae can rupture or swell, putting pressure on the nerves and resulting in lower back discomfort. This is known as a herniated or bulging disc.
  4. Arthritis: Osteoarthritis and other types of arthritis can irritate the spine’s joints, resulting in discomfort and stiffness.
  5. Osteoporosis: Weak bones brought on by osteoporosis can raise the possibility of spine fractures, which can result in lower back discomfort.
  6. Other health conditions: Lower back discomfort can also be brought on by other medical disorders such as kidney infections, fibromyalgia, or endometriosis.
Is it okay to stretch with lower back pain?
Photograph: MikeShots/Envato

Is it okay to stretch with lower back pain?

Light stretching can generally assist with lower back discomfort by increasing flexibility and decreasing stiffness.

But, speaking with a doctor before beginning stretching exercises is crucial, especially if you suffer from chronic or severe lower back discomfort [2].

It is advised to relax and refrain from stretching or any other intense activity for a few days if you have severe lower back pain so that the muscles can recover.

After that, little stretching could be helpful. However, it’s crucial to avoid any stretches that make the pain worse or are uncomfortable.

Your healthcare professional could suggest specific stretches or physical therapy if you experience persistent lower back pain in order to assist in controlling the discomfort and enhance mobility.

It’s vital to perform the suggested stretches and to refrain from any motions that make the discomfort worse.

General instructions for lower back stretches

  1. Start by settling into a cozy position. Depending on the stretch you select, you may complete lower back stretches while standing, sitting, or lying down.
  2. Incorporate the stretch gradually. Avoid abrupt or unexpected movements since they might hurt you or make your discomfort worse.
  3. For 15 to 30 seconds, maintain the stretch. A light stretch should be felt, but it shouldn’t hurt. Back off the stretch if you experience pain, then try it again later.
  4. Hold the stretch while taking long, calm breaths. This may aid in muscular relaxation and deepen the stretch.
  5. If necessary, repeat the stretch on the opposite side. One side of the body is stretched at a time during some stretches, such as knee to chest.
  6. Stretch frequently or as needed. To increase flexibility and lessen lower back stiffness, consistency is essential.

Here are some suggestions for lower back stretches to keep in mind

  • Avoid jumping or jerking motions since they might injure you or make your discomfort worse.
  • As your flexibility increases, start with easy stretches and build up to more difficult ones.
  • Before beginning any stretching regimen, it is crucial to speak with a healthcare professional if you suffer from persistent or severe lower back discomfort.
  • Stop any stretching that hurts or makes you uncomfortable, and if your pain persists or becomes worse, speak with a doctor.
  • Stretching can be used in conjunction with other lifestyle modifications to help manage lower back discomfort, including regular exercise, keeping a healthy weight, and good posture.

10 lower back stretches medical professionals recommend

1. Knee-to-chest stretch

By gently stretching and releasing tension in the lower back and hips, the knee-to-chest stretch can assist with lower back discomfort. This is how it goes:

  • Knees bent and feet flat on the floor, lie on your back.
  • Holding onto your thigh with both hands, slowly lift one knee to your chest.
  • Feel a little stretch in your lower back and hip as you hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Repeat the stretch on the opposite leg after a slow release.

Benefits of knee-to-chest stretch

  • Lower back muscles stretch when you raise your knee to your chest. You’ll notice this in your lower back muscles. Lower back stiffness and tension can both be relieved by doing this.
  • Stretching the hip flexors helps relieve lower back discomfort caused by tight or strained hip flexors, a set of muscles that link to the front of the hip.
  • You’ll also experience a stretch in your hip flexors as a result of pulling your knee up to your chest, which can aid in easing lower back and hip tightness.
  • Increased flexibility will help you avoid future lower back discomfort. Regularly completing the Knee-to-chest stretch can help you increase your lower back and hip flexibility.

Don’t forget to stretch slowly and softly, without any abrupt or rapid movements. Reverse the stretch if you feel any pain or discomfort, then try it again later [3].

Before beginning any stretching regimen, it is crucial to speak with a healthcare professional if you suffer from persistent or severe lower back discomfort.

2. Seated forward bend 

The seated forward bend stretch can aid with lower back discomfort by gently stretching and releasing tension in the lower back, hamstrings, and hips. Here’s how it operates:

  • Legs straight in front of you, sit down on the floor.
  • Maintaining a straight back, slowly lean forward at the hips and reach for your toes.
  • You should feel a little stretch in your lower back, hamstrings, and hips as you hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.

Benefits of seated forward bend

  • Lower back muscles stretch when you lean forward: Your lower back muscles will feel stretched as you do this. Lower back stiffness and tension can both be relieved by doing this.
  • Hamstring stretches: Tight or strained hamstrings can cause lower back discomfort. The hamstrings are a set of muscles that run down the back of your legs. Reaching for your toes can also cause your hamstrings to stretch, which helps ease tension in your hips and lower back.
  • Increased flexibility can help you avoid future lower back discomfort by consistently executing the Seated forward bend stretch on your lower back, hamstrings, and hips.

3. Child’s pose

A mild yoga position, known as “child’s pose”, stretches and releases tension in the lower back, hips, and thighs, which can assist with lower back discomfort. This is how it goes:

  • Put your knees under your hips and your wrists beneath your shoulders as you go down on your hands and knees.
  • Stretch your arms out in front of you while bringing your hips back toward your heels while placing your forehead on the ground.
  • You should feel a little stretch in your lower back, hips, and thighs as you hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.

Benefits of child’s pose

  • Stretch the lower back muscles: Your lower back muscles will feel stretched as you bring your hips back to your heels. Lower back stiffness and tension can both be relieved by doing this.
  • Stretch the hips and thighs: If the hips and thighs are tight or strained, this can make the lower back hurt. The Child’s pose stretch can assist with this.
  • Relaxation: The Child’s Pose Stretch can aid in relaxation and stress reduction, both of which are factors in lower back discomfort.
Benefits of child's pose
Photograph: MikeShots/Envato

4. Cat-cow stretch

By gently extending and releasing tension in the lower back muscles and the spine, the cat-cow stretch is a yoga practice that can help with lower back discomfort. Here’s how it works:

  • Put your knees under your hips and your wrists beneath your shoulders as you go down on your hands and knees.
  • Slowly round your spine, tuck your chin into your chest, and arch your back.
  • Create a gentle bend in your spine by releasing slowly and lifting your head and tailbone towards the ceiling (cow position).
  • For five to ten breaths, repeat the stretch.

Benefits of cat-cow stretch

  • In order to stretch and mobilize the spine, the Cat-cow stretch includes moving the spine through a range of motion. This can aid in easing lower back tightness and increasing flexibility.
  • Lower back muscle stretching: As you perform the Cat-cow stretch, you’ll notice that your lower back muscles are being stretched. Lower back stiffness and tension can both be relieved by doing this.
  • Improve posture: By stretching and strengthening the muscles that support the spine, the cat-cow stretch can assist to improve posture.

5. Cobra pose

Yoga’s cobra stance, which stretches and strengthens the muscles in the back and spine, can aid with lower back discomfort. Here’s how the cobra pose is done:

  • Lay on your stomach with your elbows close to your body and your hands beneath your shoulders.
  • Keep your elbows close to your body as you slowly elevate your chest off the ground.
  • Feel a little stretch in your lower back and spine as you hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds.

Benefits of cobra pose

  • Lifting the chest off the floor while performing the cobra position can assist in extending and mobilizing the spine. This can aid in easing lower back tightness and increasing flexibility.
  • Back muscles may be strengthened by holding the cobra posture, which forces your back and spine muscles to work harder and maintain your spine.

6. Supine twist

A yoga position called the supine twist has you lying on your back and rotating your lower body to one side. The supine twist can aid in stretching and relieving stress on the hips and lower back. Additionally, it can aid in promoting relaxation and lowering tension.

7. Pigeon pose

A yoga position called pigeon posture stretches the glutes and hips. Put your knees under your hips and your wrists beneath your shoulders as you go down on your hands and knees.

While extending the other leg behind you, bring one knee forward and position it behind your wrist. After holding for 15 to 30 seconds, switch to the other side.

8. Figure four pose

The hip and glute muscles, which can get stiff or strained and cause lower back discomfort, are stretched in the figure-four pose [4].

Knees bent and feet flat on the floor, lie on your back. Pull the knee closer to your chest while crossing one ankle over the other. After holding for 15 to 30 seconds, switch to the other side.

9. Lizard pose

In the yoga position known as the lizard, the hips and hamstrings are stretched. Put your knees under your hips and your wrists beneath your shoulders as you go down on your hands and knees.

It should now be outside your hand as you advance one step. Your forearms should be on the floor. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, then switch sides.

10. Downward-dog

Yoga practitioners frequently utilize the downward-facing dog stance as a bridge between other postures or as a stand-alone posture.

Put your knees under your hips and your wrists beneath your shoulders as you go down on your hands and knees. Straighten your arms and legs while raising your hips up and back. For 15 to 30 seconds, hold.

[1] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/back-pain/symptoms-causes/syc-20369906
[2] https://www.spine-health.com/wellness/exercise/stretching-back-pain-relief
[3] https://benchmarkphysio.com.au/physiotherapy-exercises-for-lower-back-pain/
[4] https://www.wellandgood.com/figure-four-pose/

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