Many people experience pain in their lower back at some point in their lives. However, this can become a major issue when individuals have problems with sciatica or a herniated disc. When people have continuous pain in their lower back, they often receive physical therapy to help get some amount of relief. Physical therapists will generally suggest that people perform back exercises and stretching exercises for lower back pain. There are a number of different stretches that can greatly benefit those who are suffering from lower back pain.
1 – Spine Stretch
Spine stretch is a very gentle way to get lower back pain relief. It feels great and directly stretches out your spine. Begin this stretch lying on your back with a small pillow or cushion placed under your head. Bend your knees and keep them together as you tuck your chin in and relax your upper body. After taking a deep breath in, roll your knees onto the floor on one side. Your pelvis should follow, and your arms should be parallel to your shoulders on both sides. Alternate sides and repeat the stretch six to eight times.
2 – Hip Stretch
People who are experiencing lower back pain often have tight hip flexor muscles. This can affect your posture and make your bottom stick out too far. When this happens, it tightens up the lower back and leads to pain. In order to combat this, kneel down with one knee on the floor. Place your other foot in front with the knee bent. Keep your back upright and push your hips forward. Repeat this twice on each side while holding the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds.
3 – Bottom Stretch
While it may seem like one of the more unlikely lower back pain stretches, the piriformis, a muscle in your bottom, can trigger pain when it is tight, and the bottom stretch will combat this. In a prone position, cross the left ankle over the right knee. Grasp your left thigh and breathe in deeply. Pull the knee towards you as you breathe out. Repeat this twice on each side for 20 to 30 seconds.
4 – Leg Stretch
When people are experiencing pain in the lower back, it is very common for them to have tight hamstring muscles. These are located on the back of the legs, and stretching them can greatly help alleviate soreness. In order to perform this stretch, begin by lying on your back with both feet on the floor and the knees raised. Loop a small towel under the ball of one of the feet. Slowly straighten the knee and gradually pull back on the towel until you feel a gentle stretch that goes down the back of the leg. However, it is important not to stretch too far as this can lead to injury. Repeat this twice for each leg. You can hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds each time.
5 – Lower Back Stretch
As the name suggests, lower back stretch is one of the best stretches for lower back pain. Begin on all fours, and make sure to keep your hands and hips directly beneath your shoulders with your spine in a neutral position. Avoid locking your elbows, and keep your shoulders back and your head in line with your spine. Breathe in deeply and slowly move your bottom towards your heels as you breathe out. Remain in this position for 20 to 30 seconds and move your body back up onto all fours as you breathe in. You can repeat this stretch six to eight times.
6 – Pelvic Tilts
This is a great stretch that helps with back soreness. You can begin by placing a small pillow or cushion beneath your head and lying on your back. With your feet placed on the floor hip-width apart, begin to bend your knees. Keep your chin gently tucked in and your upper body relaxed. Contract your stomach muscles after you have flattened your lower back onto the floor. Move the pelvis towards the heels, and you will begin to feel a slight arch in your lower back. You can put one hand under the lower back and the other on your stomach to feel the right muscles working. This stretch should be repeated between eight and a dozen times while using a slow rocking motion to tilt the pelvis back and forth.
7 – Bridge
Bridge is great for pain in the lumbar region though people should be sure to do it gently. Start this stretch on your back with the feet spaced hip distance apart on the floor and your knees bent. Breathe in deeply and lift your hips up until your knees, shoulders and hips are in a straight line as you breathe out. Lower your hips to the floor as you breathe in. You can repeat this stretch eight to a dozen times.
8 – Bird Dog
Bird dog is one of the best spine stretches for mobilizing the lower back, and this is what ultimately helps in eliminating lower back pain. Start on all fours with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders. Your head should be in line with your spine, and the spine should be in a neutral position. Breathe in deeply extend one of your legs and the opposing arm until it is in line with the spine while breathing out. Hold the stretch for five to ten seconds, and be sure not to let your lower back sag. This should be repeated at least eight times while alternating sides.
9 – Deep Abdominal Stretch
Many people have a very weak transverse abdominis, and this is a problem as it provides a lot of support to the lower back. To stretch this muscle safely, lie down with a small pillow under the head with your knees bent. The feet should be placed on the floor hip distance apart. Breathe in and concentrate on moving your belly button in towards the spine as you breathe out. The stretch can be repeated five times and held for five to ten seconds each time, and you should concentrate on relaxing your stomach muscles as you breathe out.
10 – Lower Stomach Stretch
Tight lower stomach muscles can lead to back pain, so it is important to keep them stretched out. To do this gently, lie on down with your feet flat on the floor and your knees apart. Take a deep breath and move your knee towards your chest as you breathe out. You should breathe in again as you put your foot back on the floor. This stretch can be repeated six to eight times with each leg.
While it may take time and repetition for lower back stretches to be most effective, they can prevent people from being in constant pain. The key to utilizing stretches in alleviating pain is to do them consistently. Just like one cannot get a sculpted body from one trip to the gym, lower back exercises need to be done regularly. While it is definitely best to check with a physical therapist before starting a stretching regimen, these exercises are generally best done every day. However, people should pay close attention to their body when stretching and be sure to never push themselves too hard. If individuals find a stretch to be painful, they should stop doing it until they consult a medical professional.