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Lower Back Pain Stretches

Lower Back Pain Stretches

Man suffering from back pain at home

You spend more time than you would like in front of a computer screen or behind the steering wheel. Or you spend too much time on your feet at work or chasing after the kids. No matter what life throws at you, lower back pain can throw a wrench into everything. While lower back pain stretches aren’t likely to cure the underlying cause, stretching can give you some relief. Do whichever exercises give you the most relief once or twice a day. If the pain gets worse or you are very sore, take some time off, and call your physiotherapist at Concept of Movement Physiotherapy in Barrie, Ontario.

Remember to listen to your body and don’t push too hard. Do what feels good and makes you feel better. Don’t feel rushed, and remember to breathe. How you are breathing can give you a good idea of how you are doing. If you get out of breath, stop. You should be able to breathe easily and smoothly during each of the lower back stretches.

Here are a few lower back stretches you can do between your appointments at Concept of Movement Physiotherapy in Barrie, Ontario.

Lower Back Pain Stretches To Do At Home

1. Child’s Pose

A traditional yoga pose, the Child’s Pose will gently stretch your thighs, gluteus maximus muscles, and spinal extensors. This stretch helps to relieve tension and pain along your spine, all the way up to your neck and across your shoulders.

You’ll find your lower back muscles relaxing as you do this stretch. Increased blood circulation and greater spinal flexibility help reduce lower back pain and keep you limber. 

How to do the Child’s Pose:

  • Place your hands and knees on the floor
  • Slowly, sink back. Move your hips and rest them right on top of your heels.
  • Use your hips as a hinge to fold forward
  • Use your hands to walk in front
  • Rest your tummy on your thighs
  • Extend your arms with palms up either in front or alongside you
  • Breathe deeply and focus on the relaxation of any tightness or tension, especially in your lower back
  • Hold for up to 1 minute

If you need extra support, place a rolled-up towel on top of or under your thighs. And you can widen your stance and use a cushion to rest your forehead if it makes you more comfortable.

This pose is ideal for adding between other poses. Add it to your stretching routine, or stretch your back out with this one simple pose whenever you have a minute.

2. Pelvic Tilts

You can do a few pelvic tilts any time you are lying down. Of course, they are best done on the floor or on another hard surface (like a massage table.) But even as you get up in the morning or go to bed at night, a few pelvic tilts can stretch your lower back muscles. While relieving the tightness in your lower back, pelvic tilts also work to strengthen your abdominal muscles. Stronger abdominal muscles ultimately lead to better support of your lower back. Plus, pelvic tilts are good for your glutes and hamstrings.

How to Do a Pelvic Tilt:

  • Lay on your back
  • Bend both knees with your feet flat
  • Tighten your abdominal muscles and work to flatten your back towards the floor
  • Remember to keep breathing normally
  • Hold for up to 10 seconds
  • Release
  • Take a few deep breaths and relax

One set is 3 to 5 repetitions. Do up to 3 sets at a time. Slide a few sets of pelvic tilts into your day for less tension in your lower back.

3. Seated Twists for Your Whole Back

A classic seated twist stretches out your hips, glutes, and your whole back. A few of these twists every day can help you gain more mobility in your spine and stretch your shoulders, abdominal muscles, and your neck. The twisting stretch also puts some pressure on your insides to stimulate your internal organs, which could help your digestion.

How to Do a Seated Twist:

  • Extend your legs in front of you as you sit on the floor
  • Bend one knee and place your foot outside your opposite thigh
  • Place the opposite arm on the outside of the thigh of your bent leg
  • Support yourself by putting your other hand behind you
  • Start at your lower back and twist towards your bent leg
  • Hold as long as you can, up to a minute
  • Repeat on the other side

Keep both legs straight if you find it too uncomfortable to bend your knees. Add neck rotations as you hold the stretch for even more stretching for your whole back. Inhale as you look straight ahead and exhale as you turn backward. Do as many as you have time for – usually 5 to 10 on each side.

4. Knee-to-Chest Stretches

Knee-to-chest stretches promote a general sense of relaxation and specifically relax your hip, thigh, and glute muscles.

How To Do Knee-to-Chest Stretches:

  • Lay on the floor with your knees bent
  • Start with both feet flat on the floor
  • You can keep the leg you are not drawing towards your chest bent or straighten it out if you feel it provides a better stretch or makes you more comfortable
  • Draw one knee in towards your chest
  • Clasp your hands over your thigh or on your shin to move your leg closer to your chest
  • Keep your hips flat on the floor
  • Stretch more deeply by tucking in your chin towards your chest and lift your head towards your knee
  • Breathe deeply
  • Think about stretching out your whole back from your neck to your tailbone
  • Releasing any tension
  • Hold for 30 seconds to a minute.
  • Repeat on the other side

If it makes you more comfortable and relaxed, have a pillow or cushion under your head. Plus, if you have trouble reaching, grab both ends and wrap a folded or rolled towel around your legs.

5. The Drawing-In Maneuver to Support Your Whole Back

The drawing-in maneuver is a quick stretch that provides more benefit than you might think because it exercises and stretches the transverse abdominis muscle. The transverse abdominis muscle wraps around your midline, helping support your abdomen and spine, stabilizing spinal joints and preventing injury whenever you move.

How To Do the Drawing-In Maneuver:

  • Lay flat on your back on the floor
  • Place your feet hip-width apart, flat on the floor
  • Lay your arms by your sides, and relax
  • Take a deep breath
  • As you breathe out, pull your belly button toward your spine. Engaging your abs but don’t tilt your hips
  • Hold 5 seconds
  • Repeat 5 times

6. Superman Stretches for Your Hips, Shoulders, Butt, and Your Whole Back

Back extensors beside your spine help you stand or sit up and support your pelvis. These are the muscles you use to arch your back. The Superman stretch helps strengthen and stabilize your back and hips. Since you also raise your shoulders, it also improves the stability and strength in your shoulders and upper back.

This stretch can be very helpful for your whole back, but if it makes your back hurt worse, stop doing it! Talk to your doctor or your physiotherapist at Concept of Movement Physiotherapy in Barrie, Ontario. We can rule out other potential causes of your pain.

How To Do a Superman Stretch:

  • Lay flat on your front and extend your arms in front of you
  • Simultaneously, lift both your hands and feet about 6” off the ground
  • Keep looking at the floor- don’t lift your head, or you could strain your neck
  • Concentrate on the muscles contracting in your lower back as you reach away
  • Lifting your belly button slightly will engage your core
  • Hold 2 seconds
  • Relax back into lying flat
  • Repeat 10 times

7. Lateral Leg Raises

When your hip abductor muscles are weak, your balance and mobility become unstable, which can cause low back pain. Lateral leg raises work your gluteus medius muscles which help lift your legs to the sides, away from your body and support your pelvis when you stand on one leg.

How To Do Lateral Leg Raises:

  • While lying on one side, keep your lower leg slightly bent
  • Draw your belly button in toward your spine to engage your core
  • Raise the top leg, keeping the rest of your body still
  • Hold for 2 seconds
  • Repeat 10 times
  • Turn over and repeat on the other side
  • Do 3 sets

In Summary

Lower back pain can make everything more difficult. Keep up with these regular stretching exercises and add physiotherapy to get and keep your lower back feeling great. When you start to have pain when you run or walk, bend over or even get out of bed, give us a call at Concept of Movement Physiotherapy in Barrie, Ontario.