Lower back pain can be debilitating and painful. Back pain can range from minor discomfort to extreme pain. If the pain becomes long-term, it can cause disruptions in your daily routines and your life.
Since lower back pain continues to plague our society, you think we would have the perfect solution or remedy at this point. Unfortunately, we don’t. Certain people go directly to Advil or other pain medication to help dull the pain in their backs. Others contact their local chiropractor for lower back pain. Regardless of your preference for healing modalities, there is always more than you can do yourself. It doesn’t cost anything, and you can perform them directly from the comfort of your own home.
Stretching your body can do wonders for any existing lower back pain that you suffer from. It keeps your body loose and warmed up throughout your day. Lower back stretches can also help avoid injuries in the future by keeping your body limber and in shape. In this article we’ll focus on effective types of stretches you can do to alleviate lower back pain and live a healthier life.
1.) Child’s Pose
This yoga stretch is great for relieving pain and tension built up along your spine and shoulders. Your lower back is your base and foundation. By stretching this out in the morning, you can relieve this area of pain and allow it to properly support the rest of your back. The child’s post increases the blood circulation around this area through the movements it requires. This is a perfect stretch to do first thing in the morning or right before lying down at night. To do this stretch, please follow the given steps:
- Place your feet and knees to the ground, sitting so that your hips rest upon the heels of your feet.
- Layout your hands forward onto the ground, palms facing the ground.
- Stretch out your hands by leaning forward onto the ground, until your knees start touching your stomach (akin to how a cat stretches after waking up).
- Hold this pose for a minute and stretch back up if you feel any unease. Then repeat.
In case you experience any discomfort during this stretch, you can either widen your stance (knees) or replace the mat with a softer one to provide more ease to this movement.
2.) Knee-to-chest Stretch
This exercise gives your lower back flat ground to rest on while loosening up the muscles through the movement of your legs. This is better for people who have consistent bouts of lower back pain as it does not put much pressure on the back but rather, relaxes it. Gravity feels much lighter in this position. By giving your lower back more freedom to move in a relaxed state, your muscles can stretch more and relieve any stiffness you are experiencing. Here’s how to do the knee-to-chest stretch:
- Lay down on a soft mat, and bend your knees while keeping your feet flat onto the ground.
- Using both of your hands, either interlace your fingers around the knee joint or under your knee cap.
- Keeping the other foot flat on the floor, move the knee that your hands are encasing, closer to your stomach, meaning inwards.
- Very slowly and gently, bring that knee to your chest and back down. While doing so, you can also keep the other foot flat on the floor, however is easier for you.
- Now shift your hands to the other knee, and repeat steps 1-4.
- Repeat this exercise 2-4 times for each leg.
3.) The Piriformis Stretch
As the name suggests, this stretch is done to relax and stimulate your piriformis muscle, found deep in your hips. Stretching this will have a significant impact on your lower body pains and underlying tensions. If you are someone who works from home and sits for long periods throughout your day, this stretch will help keep your lower back loose. The steps to the piriformis stretch are as follows:
- Lay down on the mat with your frontal body facing upwards and knees bent, feet flat on the mat (just like knee-to-chest stretch).
- Put your right ankle on the base of your left leg’s knee joint.
- Interlace your fingers under your left leg’s kneecap and lift it upwards slowly.
- Lift gently towards your chest until you feel some pressure.
- Hold this pose for 30 seconds and let go when you start getting tired. Repeat with the other leg.
4.) The Sphinx Stretch
Contrary to the other stretches we’ve recommended, this one is not done with your back resting against the ground. Instead, your eyes will be facing the ground and your back will face the ceiling. It’s a backward bending stretch that lengthens your back while also giving it room for recovery. To do this you must:
- Lie on the mat face down with your stomach and frontal body on the mat.
- Now perch yourself up by using your elbows as a stand for your upper body.
- Layout your hands flat on the ground while doing step 2, so that your arms are now at a 90-degree angle.
- Widen your stance and distance your feet in case of any unease.
- Now gently lift your head and upper body by stretching out your elbows upwards from their previous position on the ground.
- Lift as much as you can, and hold that position for 15-20 seconds. Make sure to stretch your lower back as much as you can.
- Relax back down with your elbows resting on the ground. Repeat.
Stretching is an effective tool that you can use at home on your own time to decrease the back pain that you are experiencing. Of course, make sure to consult your doctor before starting any of these exercises if you are experiencing severe pain already. Each person, and their bodies, are different. Do things that are within your comfort level to ensure that practice these stretches properly.
Take advantage of the time that you have at home. Stretching is free. You can perform these stretches first thing in the morning before you start your workday. If it helps, consider waking up 15 minutes earlier to fit these stretches into your routine. Ideally, you can perform them before work emails and text messages begin flooding your day.