Sitting is the new epidemic affecting tons of Americans with back pain every day, but these 19 lower back stretches will help alleviate pain in no time. Lower back pain is extremely common in Americans, with one out of every four experiencing pain within the previous three months. It’s quickly become the most common type of pain and the most likely cause of disability that affects adults under the age of 45. Yet, with the help of a few lower back stretches, you can feel better in no time.
19 Best Lower Back Stretches To Alleviate Your Pain In No Time
Stretching is an effective and natural treatment for lower back pain, making it the easiest way to alleviate pain without the help of medications or surgery. When stretching as a part of your daily routine, you can strengthen your core and reduce your need for pain medications. Here are the best lower back stretches you need to try, all of which you can do in the privacy of your own home.
Knee to Chest (Back Curl)
Align your pelvis while stretching your lower back and bottom muscles, which is especially helpful if you sit often. Begin on your back with the toes pointed up, then bend one knee slowly to pull the leg to your chest. Wrap your arms around your knee, shin, or thigh and gently pull your leg toward your chest for a deep stretch. Hold the pose for 20 seconds and slowly extend the leg, switching legs.
Trunk Rotation Stretch
To improve mobility in your spine and relax your back muscles at the same time, try the trunk rotation stretch. Start out lying on a mat with your knees bent. Keep your lower back flat on the ground and rotate your legs toward the floor. Hold the stretch for 5 seconds before switching sides and repeat 10 more times for the best results.
Child’s (Prayer) Pose
Boost mobility and relax with child’s pose, where you start out on all fours on your mat. Move your hips back and reach your arms forward until you feel a nice stretch in your back. Hold the pose for at least 10 seconds, then repeat 5 times.
Cat-Camel (Cat-Cow) Back Stretch
A yoga practice go-to for back pain, the cat-camel or cat-cow pose increases mobility and strengthens both the back and abdominal muscles. Start on all fours, with your shoulders directly lined up you’re your knees. Arch your back toward the sky for 5 seconds before arching your back the opposite way toward the ground for 5 seconds, moving slowly. Repeat 10 times.
If you spend a long day sitting at your desk, you may notice the back of your legs begin to feel tight. Eventually, this may cause your back to bend forward, causing pain. Stretching your hamstrings daily can decrease the stress you feel in your back as well, especially when it comes to bending or lifting activities.
Sit on the floor with one leg bent and the other straight while maintaining a flat back. Lean forward until you feel the stretch behind your thigh and hold for 10 seconds. Switch to the other leg and repeat 5 more times.
Hip Flexor Stretch
Spending a considerable amount of time sitting causes the front of the hips to become tight, causing muscles near the hip to pull your lower back forward and increasing stress on the back. Flexible hip flexors may not stretch your back muscles, but they do decrease the amount of pain you feel in your back when upright. Opening your hips wider and realigning them when needed will relieve back pain.
Start out kneeling on your mat. Lean toward your bent knees until you feel the stretch in your thigh and hold the pose for 10 seconds. Repeat the process 5 times.
Lying Knee Twist
This move is perfect for strengthening your abdominal muscles while stretching the paraspinal muscles. Begin on your back with your legs extended, then ben one knee up and over to the left. Hold the pose for 20 seconds, feeling the gentle stretch in your back and rear end. As you tighten your core, rotate the leg back to the center and switch legs, repeating three times per leg.
Piriformis Seated Stretch
Designed to help lengthen your piriformis muscle long-term, this seated stretch is especially helpful for those with sciatica or radiating pain in the legs. Begin sitting up straight on your mat with your left leg crossed over the right. Place your foot near your thigh, tucking the other leg toward your bottom. Use your right arm to hold your leg and slowly stretch, keeping your back and chest straight.
Hold this pose for 20 seconds on each side, alternating three times.
Helpful for the abdominal muscles and lower back, begin the cobra stretch by lying extended on your mat with your palms planted near your head. Keep the forearms and elbows flat, then slowly push your upper body up to rest the weight on your forearms and keep your hips planted. Stretch for 10 seconds and slowly return to the mat. Try straightening your arms, and repeat five times.
Increase your flexibility, loosen the lower back and hip muscles, relieve tension, and engage your core with this stretch. Begin in a standing position with your feet a little wider than the hips. Place your hands on your hips and move the hips from side to side, rotating in big circles. Complete 10 circles before switching direction.
To relieve tension or tightness in your lower back and stretch your hips, which is great after sitting for a long period, try windshield wipers. Begin lying on your back with your knees bent and arms extended to the side. Exhale and slowly drop the knees to the right then alternate to the left.
Reclining Single-Leg Stretch
This stretch works to realign the spine, relax back muscles, and stretch the hamstrings to aid good posture. For this stretch, you may want to use equipment such as:
Start on your back with both legs straight out, then lift one leg as straight as possible. You can keep a slight bend or press into your feet for added support. Hold the leg with your hands or strap to stretch for 30 seconds, repeating on both sides two or three times.
Strengthen the abdominal region and lower back while increasing flexibility with this easy stretch. Begin on the floor with your knees bent. Your relaxed spine shouldn’t touch the floor until you engage your core so that the base of the spine presses down. Hold this position for 5 seconds before relaxing and repeat at least three times.
A common yoga pose, this stretch relaxes the back and pelvis to relieve tension and stress. Lie down on the ground with your legs extended straight up a nearby wall. Use a pillow under the hips if you need and relax the arms. Remain in the pose for 2 minutes, focusing on relaxing your back muscles.
This pose opens up the hips and allows you to feel more limber after only a few seconds. It doesn’t stretch your back itself but increasing the flexibility in your hips will increase your overall posture. This pose is more challenging than some other stretches on this list. Begin on all fours and follow these detailed instructions, complete with tips for beginners.
Downward Facing Dog
For a stretch that works well at elongating back and includes the hamstrings, downward facing dog (when properly completed) even helps your glutes, shoulders, and arms. Imagine your body in a V-shaped plank without the focus on your abs. You can start in a plank position, sending your bottom toward the ceiling.
Perfect to stretch your legs and back; this pose will allow your back to feel looser almost immediately. Stand with your legs apart in a V-shape and reach one arm toward the floor before extending the other toward the ceiling. Switch after 20 seconds and repeat five times.
Upward Forward Bend
This is a simple stretch. Just stand up straight and bend over to touch your toes, elongating the spine and allowing gravity to do all the work for you.
The perfect end to any stretching practice, allow your body to relax for a few minutes before rising to meet the day. Lie on your back, relaxing the arms next to your body with your palms up. Allow your toes to spread to the side and breathe deeply for 20 minutes while your body begins to soften.
Medications To Try For Severe Pain
Over the counter painkillers like Tylenol (acetaminophen) or any nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) like Ibuprofen (Motrin) or Aleve (naproxen) are perfect to treat pain. Anti-inflammatory medicines are also available in topical creams instead of oral pills that pose a higher risk of side effects because they affect the entire body rather than one centralized area.
If lower back stretches are difficult, these painkillers can offer some relief. They’re available in any drug store, and there are prescription-only pain relievers for chronic cases. However, drugs will not cure your back injury. Your doctor may also suggest physical therapy or other treatments to stop the pain long-term. Most types of lower back pain are cured with flexible and regular stretching to create a strong spine.