The 7 Best Stretches for Lower Back Pain Relief
Lower back pain is painful and debilitating, impacting your ability to move. Even minor aches and pains in your lower back, hips, and buttocks can limit movement.
Strength exercises can provide your back with more support and prevent future pain. Still, working out and exercising can be challenging if you have existing pain. One of the best things you can do to fight against that pain and help prevent future injuries is stretching.
Stretching helps reduce tension in your back muscles, increases mobility, and improves blood flow to the targeted areas, which can help relieve lower back pain. Find out what the best stretches for lower back pain are with seven of the best stretches for lower back pain relief.
1. Child’s Pose (Balasana)
An excellent home stretch for lower back pain is the child’s pose. It’s a beginner’s yoga pose that can help stretch your abdominal and back muscles. Start in a table pose (Bharmanasana) with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Gently slide your hands forward, keeping your palms flat on the ground as you move forward.
As your hands move forward, your head and chest will drop down, and your hips will lower to sit on your heels. If you can’t sit back down on your heels, place a cushion or block there for support while holding the stretch.
Hold this pose while breathing deeply for 20 to 30 seconds, then push your arms back up, raising your body to the table pose.
2. Piriformis Muscle Stretch
Your piriformis muscle is in your gluteal region. By stretching it, you help relieve tension in your glutes and lower back while improving your mobility.
Start by lying on your back with both knees bent and feet firmly on the floor. Lift one foot and cross it over the other, resting your ankle on your raised bent knee.
If this is difficult, stop and stretch for 20 to 30 seconds.
If you can, gently pull the knee your ankle is resting on toward your chest until you feel a stretch in your glutes. Hold it for 20 to 30 seconds.
Release the stretch and return to comfortably resting your ankle on a bent knee. For the next piriformis stretch, place your hand on the knee of your crossed leg and gently push it away from your body. Once you feel a stretch, hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds and release the stretch.
3. Pelvic Tilt
Most people use pelvic tilts to strengthen their abdominal muscles. It’s an excellent stretch for lower back pain relief. This exercise also stretches your lower back muscles while helping your glutes and hamstrings.
Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet firmly on the floor. This is the same position as the start of a piriformis muscle stretch, making both stretches ideal to do close to each other.
As you’re lying on the ground, notice the natural curve in your spine. Your upper back and hips should be touching the ground while your lower back naturally lifts.
Rest your arms on the floor. Focus on your abdominal and lumbar area and flatten your back. Your back, from your shoulders to your hips, should be in contact with the ground.
The muscles you use to suck in your gut are the same muscles that flatten your back against the floor while performing a pelvic tilt. This is a new movement for some people, and it can be difficult to control the muscles. If you’re struggling to activate and control the right muscles, think about how you suck in your stomach when someone is walking by in a small hallway or tight space.
4. Knee-to-Chest Stretch
One of the best lower back stretches for pain relief is the knee-to-chest stretch. This stretch helps improve flexibility and mobility in your lower back, hips, and glutes.
Start by lying down with your legs straight on a flat surface. Gently pull one knee toward your chest until you feel a stretch in your lower back. Remember to keep your back flat against the floor to get the most from this stretch.
Try not to curl or crunch your body to bring the knee closer to your chest. This stretch aims to feel the stretch in your lower back, not to touch your knee to your chest.
After holding the first stretch for 20 to 30 seconds, gently release the stretch, and switch legs to ensure you stretch both sides of your body.
A slight variation of the knee-to-chest stretch is a supine passive spinal flexion, also known as knee hugs. Instead of bringing one knee to your chest at a time, bring both knees to your chest, wrap your arms around your legs under your knees, and hold the position. You should feel a stretch in your lower back.
5. Kneeling Lunge
A kneeling lunge stretch focuses on the extension and mobility of your hip flexor muscles, which are essential in maintaining correct posture.
Start by kneeling on the floor and move one leg forward so that your foot is flat on the floor. During this phase, make sure that you keep your weight distributed between your hips and legs evenly. You should not feel additional pressure on one side or the other; you should feel grounded in both legs.
Place your hands on the top of the leg in front of you and gently lean forward. You should feel a stretch in the front of your leg under you as you lean forward. Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds, and then switch legs.
6. Cat-Cow (Chakravakasana)
The cat-cow stretch (Chakravakasana) helps improve spine flexibility and can help relieve stiffness and soreness in your lower back.
Your breathing determines this stretch. Start in a table pose (Bharmanasana). Pull your belly button toward your spine as you arch your back. When your spine arches up, let your head drop.
When you start to breathe in, lower your spine, push your belly button toward the floor, and raise your head to look up. Lowering your spine can help squeeze your shoulder blades together to help push out your chest and raise your head.
Repeat this process as you breathe in and out to stretch your lower back for the next minute.
7. Seated Spinal Twist
If you ever twisted and stretched your back while sitting at your desk in school, a seated spinal twist may feel very familiar.
Start by sitting on a stable chair with a solid back that comes up to about your shoulder blades. This stretch does not work if seated on a stool or high-backed chair.
Sit with correct posture, trying to elongate your spine as much as possible. The longer you can make your spine, the deeper your twist and stretch will be. By keeping the correct posture throughout the stretch, you can get a better stretch in both your upper and lower back.
Sit sideways on the edge of your chair, keeping your feet parallel below your knees. Turn your entire torso, not just your head or shoulders, to the back of your chair.
How Common Is Lower Back Pain?
Lower back pain is one of the most common injuries and reasons people visit healthcare providers. About 80% of the population has experienced lower back pain at some point in their lives.
Lower back pain is usually caused by straining your lower back muscles and tendons. Muscle sprains and strains can come from exercise, regular activities, and from an incorrect resting posture.
By staying active and healthy through exercise and stretching, you can help strengthen and protect your back against injury and even help relieve your existing lower back pain.
Relieve Your Back Pain with NeuroMD
NeuroMD makes it easy to relieve your back pain with clinically proven NMES technology. Get lasting relief that doesn’t just cover up your back pain, but also helps you strengthen and protect your back from future injuries.