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7 Lower Back Stretches to Reduce Pain and Improve Strength

by Matt Weik, CSCS, CPT, CSN

 The lower back is one of the most common areas to experience pain. It’s also a pretty complicated area, which is why there are so many different types of back pain.

The good news is that there are simple solutions to help you feel better. Lower back stretches can be a great way to ease your pain and improve overall strength.

In this article, we are going to look at seven lower back stretches you can try to help reduce any daily pain you may be suffering from that comes from your lower back.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. If you suffer from lower back pain, it is recommended that you speak to your doctor or chiropractor to determine the cause of the lower back pain. This article should not be used to treat or diagnose any medical condition.

1.      Child’s Pose

This yoga pose is great for stretching out your hips, shoulders, and arms while relieving lower back tension.

How to do it:

  • Kneel on the floor with your knees hip-width apart and bring your big toes together as if you were sitting on a chair behind you.
  • Bend forward from your hips until your chest rests on the ground between your arms or hands (whichever feels better).
  • You should feel a stretch in your hamstrings as well as along the front of your hips.
  • Hold for 30-60 seconds before releasing back into Child’s Pose again for another stretch.

2.      Cat-Cow Pose

Cat-cow pose is a basic, gentle backbend that can be done anywhere. It’s especially good for beginners and those with back problems.

How to do it:

  • Start on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders and knees directly under your hips.
  • Let your head hang down toward the floor.
  • Inhale as you arch your back, lifting your chest toward the ceiling like a domestic cat arching its back in pleasure.
  • On an exhale, round your back like a wild cat preparing to pounce.
  • Repeat several times in each direction.

3.      Knee-to-Chest Stretch

This is one of the most common lower back stretches. This can be done as part of a warm-up or to relieve lower back pain.

How to do it:

  • To do this stretch, sit on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and hands behind your head.
  • Slowly roll your shoulders back and round them up towards your ears.
  • Next, lift your chin up away from your chest until you feel a stretch in your lower back area.
  • Hold for 10 seconds, and then release slowly. Repeat 3 times for each side.

4.      Trunk Rotation

The trunk rotation stretch is a great way to stretch your lower back. The exercise can help improve flexibility, reduce pain, and increase strength.

How to do it:

  • To perform this exercise, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Slowly rotate your torso to one side until you feel a gentle stretch through your back and hip region.
  • Hold for 30 seconds, then slowly return to starting position and repeat on the opposite side.

5.      Piriformis Stretch

The piriformis is a muscle that sits deep in your hip and helps rotate your leg outwards. It also plays a role in side-to-side movements.

How to do it:

  • To stretch your piriformis, sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you.
  • Bend one knee and place the foot flat on the floor with your other leg bent at 90 degrees in front of it, with your toes on the floor pointing towards you.
  • Slowly lean forward until you feel a stretch in your buttocks below the hip joint.
  • You should feel a gentle pulling sensation in the back of your thigh, where it joins your buttock.
  • Hold for 15–30 seconds, then repeat with the other leg up.

6.      Pelvic Tilt

The pelvis is a key player in the body’s structural alignment, and maintaining a proper pelvis tilt is vital for lower back health.

A pelvic tilt helps maintain the natural curve of your lower back, which can help reduce pain caused by muscle strain.

How to do it:

  • To do this, lie flat on your back with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor in front of you.
  • Pull in your abdominal muscles and tilt your pelvis upward.
  • You should feel a stretch in your lower back.
  • Hold for 30 seconds and release.
  • Repeat five times, then switch to the other side.

7.      Sphinx Stretch

The sphinx stretch is one of the best stretches for lower back pain, and it also helps improve your posture.

How to do it:

  • To do this stretch, start in a pushup position with your hands on an elevated surface (such as a bench or chair) and your feet on the floor.
  • Then lower down until your chest touches the bench or chair, keeping your butt in the air.
  • Next, use your hands to pull yourself forward while keeping your back straight, and then return to starting position.
  • Repeat 10 times.

 

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