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  • Writer's pictureBankstown Physiotherapy

4 Lower Back Stretches to Lessen Pain and Improve Strength

Lower back pain is a fairly common health concern, as so many things can cause it. In some cases, it might be a symptom of an underlying condition, like kidney stones or acute pancreatitis. Other times, it’s simply a side effect of a sedentary lifestyle or repetitive motions.

While stretching isn’t a remedy for all lower back pain, in many instances, it can provide relief. If you’ve been living with some mild discomfort or stiffness, these seven stretches may help reduce the pain and strengthen the muscles in your lower back.

First, a few quick tips

  • Stretch your lower back with safety and care. Be especially gentle and cautious if you have any type of injury or health concern. It’s best to talk with your doctor first before starting any new types of exercise.

  • You can do these stretches once or twice a day. But if the pain seems to get worse, or you’re feeling very sore, take a day off from stretching.

Be mindful of your body’s limits and don’t push your body to do too much. Listen to your body and do what feels best for you in each moment.
  • As you go through these stretches, take your time and pay close attention to your breathing. Use your breath as a guide to make sure you don’t strain or overdo it. You should be able to breathe comfortably and smoothly throughout each pose or stretch.

Child’s Pose This traditional yoga pose gently stretches your glutes, thigh muscles, and spinal extensors. It helps relieve pain and tension all along your spine, neck, and shoulders. Its relaxing effect on your body also helps loosen up tight lower back muscles, promoting flexibility and blood circulation along the spine. To do Child’s Pose, follow these steps:

  1. With your hands and knees on the ground, sink back through your hips to rest them on your heels.

  2. Hinge at your hips as you fold forward, walking your hands out in front of you.

  3. Rest your belly on your thighs.

  4. Extend your arms in front of or alongside your body with your palms facing up.

  5. Focus on breathing deeply and relaxing any areas of tension or tightness.

  6. Hold this pose for up to 1 minute.

You can do this pose several times during your stretching routine. Feel free to do it between each of the other stretches you do. Modifications If you feel like you need some extra support, you can place a rolled-up towel on top of or underneath your thighs. If it’s more comfortable, widen your knees and rest your forehead on a cushion.

Knee-to-chest stretch This stretch relaxes your hips, thighs, and glutes while promoting overall relaxation. To do a knee-to-chest stretch, follow these steps:

  1. Lie on your back with both knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.

  2. Keep your left knee bent or extend it straight out along the floor.

  3. Draw your right knee into your chest, clasping your hands behind your thigh or at the top of your shinbone.

  4. Lengthen your spine all the way down to your tailbone, and avoid lifting your hips.

  5. Breathe deeply, releasing any tension.

  6. Hold this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

  7. Repeat with the other leg.

Modifications Place a cushion under your head for extra padding. You can also wrap a towel around your leg if it’s hard for your arms to reach. To deepen the stretch, tuck your chin into your chest and lift your head up toward your knee.

Piriformis stretch This stretch works your piriformis muscle, which is found deep in your buttocks. Stretching this muscle may help relieve pain and tightness in your buttocks and lower back. To do a piriformis stretch, follow these steps:

  1. Lie on your back with both knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.

  2. Place your right ankle at the base of your left thigh.

  3. Then, place your hands behind your left thigh and pull up toward your chest until you feel a stretch.

  4. Hold this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

  5. Then do the opposite side.

Modifications To make the stretch more comfortable, keep your bottom foot planted on the floor. Rest your head on a cushion for support.

Seated spinal twist This classic twist stretches your hips, glutes, and back. It increases mobility in your spine and stretches your abdominals, shoulders, and neck. The pressure of this stretch also stimulates your internal organs.

To do a seated spinal twist, follow these steps:

  1. Sit on the floor with both legs extended out in front.

  2. Bend your left knee and place your foot to the outside of your right thigh.

  3. Place your right arm on the outside of your left thigh.

  4. Place your left hand behind you for support.

  5. Starting at the base of your spine, twist to the left side.

  6. Hold this pose for up to 1 minute.

  7. Repeat on the other side.

Modifications To make this pose more comfortable, keep both legs straight. For an extra stretch, add in neck rotations during this pose by inhaling to look forward and exhaling to turn your gaze backward. Do 5 to 10 on each side. Last medically reviewed on September 22, 2021 How we reviewed this article: SOURCESHISTORY - Healthline

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