Roughly 65 million Americans have reported lower back pain. Are you one of them?
If you are, how much money are you spending on your lower back pain? Believe it or not, Americans invest at least $50 billion each year in remedies for their lower back pain.
But, what if you could save that money and begin by trying out some stretching exercises?
Keep reading for some at-home fixes and quick stretching exercises for lower back pain to get you feeling good as new!
1. The Cobra
Start the cobra by lying on your tummy with your forearms propping you up.
Keep your elbows under your shoulders, and press your weight down through your palms and the tops of your feet.
Now, squeeze your pelvic bone into the ground.
Finish by breathing deeply and holding the position for two to three minutes.
2. The Seated Twist
This is one of the best stretching exercises for lower back pain, especially if you’re feeling this pain in a car or on a plane or want to stop your lower back from cramping up.
Start by holding the left-hand armrest of your seat. Keep your back straight, and turn the right side of your body towards the armrest.
Hold this position for one minute.
After a minute, do the same process for the other side.
Bonus: Now try doing the twist with your right elbow pointing into the outside of your leg, and vice-versa!
3. Supine Hamstring Stretch
This is one of the stretching exercises for lower back pain that will be done lying down.
Begin lying on your back and bend your left knee towards the ceiling.
Next, place a towel or strap around your left heel. Then, straighten the leg. (Do this while pressing out through your heel.)
If you begin to feel some discomfort in your back, adjust yourself, bending your right knee and placing that heel on the grown near your backside. This will provide you with added support.
Hold the Supine Hamstring Stretch for three minutes. Then, do the same process again for the other leg.
4. Thread the Needle
Begin with your knees together facing the ceiling. Then, cross your left leg over your right–you want your left ankle to be touching your right knee.
Next, interlock your hands underneath your right knee. With your hands, slowly draw your right knee towards your chest.
You should feel the stretch in your left glute.
Hold this position for 3 minutes before swapping sides.
5. Legs Up the Wall
Lie on your back with your backside right up against a wall. Then, raise your legs up and straighten them against the well.
Now, you should feel all the muscles of your lower back and upper thighs relax.
Hold this position for 10 minutes.
6. The Pigeon
For the pigeon, begin on all fours and facing the ground.
Next, raise your left knee under your chest–you want it to almost be at a 90-degree angle under your torso.
Then, place your left hand over your right hand at eye level. Lower your forehead and rest it on your hands.
Do you feel the stretch in your glutes? You should!
Hold this pose for three minutes before switching legs.
7. The Two-Knee Twist
Begin on the ground, lying on your back.
Spread your arms out on either side of you so that your body is in a T-shape. Then, place your knees together and draw them up to your chest.
Next, slowly lower your knees to your left while your shoulders are pressing down firmly to the ground.
Stay here for two minutes before bringing your knees back to center. Then, repeat the process on the other side.
Avoid These Exercises
While stretching exercises for lower back pain can be incredibly beneficial, there are also exercises or stretching techniques to avoid if you’re having lower back pain.
Check out the exercises that are bad for lower back pain below:
- Toe touches: Standing toe touches put greater stress on the disks and ligaments in your spine. They can also overstretch lower back muscles and hamstrings.
- Sit-ups: While you might initially assume that sit-ups can strengthen your core or abdominal muscles, most people tend to use muscles in the hips when doing this exercise. Sit-ups might also put a lot of pressure on the discs in your spine.
- Leg lifts: This exercise sometimes suggested as a way to “strengthen your core” or your abdominal muscles.
However, while exercising to restore strength to your lower back can be very helpful in relieving pain, lifting both legs together while lying on your back (as you do for leg lifts) is very demanding on your core.
If weak, this exercise can make back pain worse.
Instead, try lying on your back with one leg straight and the other leg bent at the knee. Keep your lower back flat on the floor, and slowly lift the straight leg up about 6 inches. Hold here briefly before lowering the leg slowly.
Repeat this exercise 10 times, then switch legs.
How To Prevent Lower Back Pain
If you’d like to avoid these stretching exercises for lower back pain altogether, try to keep these tips in mind to prevent back pain to begin with!
- Maintain a healthy diet and weight.
- Remain active under the supervision of your chiropractor.
- Avoid prolonged inactivity or bed rest.
- Warm up or stretch prior to exercise or physical activities (this can even include things such as gardening).
- Maintain proper posture.
- Wear comfortable shoes–preferably low-heeled shoes.
- Sleep on a mattress of medium firmness (this will minimize any curve in your spine).
- Lift with your knees, keep the object you are lifting close to your body, and do not twist when lifting.
- Quit smoking (smoking impairs blood flow–this results in oxygen and nutrient deprivation to spinal tissues).
- Work with your chiropractor to ensure that your computer workstation is ergonomically correct.