Ease Lower Back Discomfort: Try These 8 Basic Stretches

Lower back pain is common and can happen for many reasons. Doing certain stretches can help ease the pain and make the muscles in your back more flexible. According to the Cleveland Clinic, about four out of five people experience lower back pain at some stage in their lives.

To ease or prevent stiffness in your back, regular lower back stretching can help. Additionally, a 2017 study suggests yoga may be as effective as physical therapy for chronic low back pain.

Here are eight stretching exercises you can try.

1. Cat-Cow Stretch

Cat-Cow, also known as cat-camel, is a yoga stretch that combines two movements. It aims to enhance spinal flexibility, promote good posture, and engage core muscles.

  • Begin on all fours, hands under shoulders and knees under hips.
  • Arch your back, lifting your head and tailbone (cow pose).
  • Then, round your back, tucking your chin to your chest (cat pose).
  • Repeat this flow several times.

2. Seated Spinal Twist

This seated twist targets hips, glutes, and back, enhancing spine mobility while stretching abdominals, shoulders, and neck. It also stimulates internal organs.

  • Sit on the floor with both legs extended.
  • Bend your left knee, placing your foot outside your right thigh.
  • Put right arm outside left thigh, left hand behind for support.
  • From the base of your spine, twist to the left.
  • Hold for up to 1 minute.
  • Repeat on the other side.

3. Knee-to-Chest Stretch

This stretch targets tight muscles in the lower back, including the erector spine and glutes. If you have a slipped disc or osteoarthritis, proceed with caution as this position may exacerbate pain. The knee-to-chest stretch is a straightforward and efficient way to alleviate tension in the lower back.

  • Lie on your back and hug both knees toward your chest.
  • Gently pull your knees closer using your arms.
  • Hold for 15 seconds before releasing.

4. Child’s Pose

Child’s Pose, known as Balasana in Sanskrit (where ‘bala’ means child and ‘sana’ means posture), is a widely practiced stretch in both Pilates and yoga. It serves as a beneficial break during intense workouts. This pose effectively elongates the lower back muscles and promotes hip opening, which can help alleviate stress, back pain, and bloating.

  • Start on all fours, then sit back on your heels with your arms extended.
  • Lower your forehead to the floor and stretch your arms forward.
  • Hold for 20 seconds, lengthening your spine.

5. Pelvic Tilt

Lower back pain can result in a change in posture, commonly seen as a forward tilt of the pelvis and an increased curvature of the spine known as lordosis. Pelvic tilts can help correct this imbalance by activating the core muscles, which in turn improves stability in the lower back area. This stabilization can help alleviate strain and discomfort in the lower back.

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat.
  • Tighten abdominal muscles to flatten your back against the floor.
  • Hold for 10 seconds, then relax. Repeat 10 times.

6. Cobra Stretch

The Cobra stretch is a commonly practiced yoga pose known for enhancing flexibility.

  • Lie on your stomach with your hands under your shoulders.
  • Push into your hands to lift your chest off the ground.
  • Hold for 15 seconds before lowering. Repeat 5 times.

7. Supine Twist

This stretches not only the lower back but also the glutes, which often tighten during lower back pain, exacerbating discomfort. Additionally, it enhances spinal flexibility.

  • Lie on your back with arms outstretched.
  • Bring knees toward chest, then lower them to one side.
  • Hold for 20 seconds, then switch sides. Repeat several times.

8. Bridge Pose

The bridge pose, often seen in yoga, is beneficial for alleviating lower back pain. To perform it:

  • Lie on your back with knees bent and feet hip-width apart.
  • Push through your feet to lift your hips, forming a bridge.
  • Hold for 15 seconds before lowering. Repeat 5 times.

Take Away:

Lower back pain and tightness are prevalent issues. Maintaining good posture and avoiding prolonged sitting can help prevent these discomforts. Pain relievers and various stretches can provide relief.

If back pain is due to an injury or medical condition, consulting a doctor or physical therapist before starting new exercises is crucial. Avoiding exercises that strain the back and cause pain is essential.