7 Stretching Exercises to Alleviate Lower Back Discomfort and Enhance Flexibility

| Author: Manoja Kalakanti

It could be time to perform lower back stretches that target and release tension in this area if even seemingly basic actions, like rotating to reach for your phone or sneezing, cause you to experience pain in your lower back. Lower back discomfort, sometimes called lumbar pain, should be treated as soon as possible, regardless of whether it results from a continuing injury or a brief setback.

Around the world, up to 23% of adults suffer from persistent lower back discomfort. This pain can be caused by degenerative conditions, inflammation, cancer, or infections such as soft tissue abscesses.

Pregnancy is another common cause of lower back pain, with many hormones, musculoskeletal changes, and body mass shifts contributing to the problem for about 50% of women who experience lower back pain even a year after giving birth.

Causes of lower back pain:

There are many causes of lower back pain, and many problems sometimes coexist to cause discomfort. Typical reasons for lower back pain include:

1. Muscle strain or sprain:

The lower back’s ligaments and muscles can strain or sprain due to overexertion, poor lifting technique, or abrupt movements.

2. Joint dysfunction:

Two facet joints are below each disc at each motion segment in the lumbar spine. These joints are encircled by a capsular ligament, which is highly innervated by nerves and has cartilage between the bones. These joints may hurt on their own or in addition to disc discomfort.

3. Bad posture:

Back pain is frequently caused by bad posture, especially in the lower back. Back pain and discomfort can result from tension in the muscles, ligaments, and other tissues in the back caused by an improperly positioned spine. The spine’s normal alignment is upset by bad posture. Pain and stiffness may come from this misalignment since it strains the discs, vertebrae, and other spinal components.

4. Skeletal irregularities:

Back discomfort can be significantly influenced by skeletal abnormalities, especially in the lower back. Developmental problems or congenital disorders can cause irregularities in the vertebral alignment. Uneven pressure on the spine due to these misalignments may result in pain and discomfort.

General tips for back pain:

It’s possible to stretch muscles safely and effectively by keeping the following in mind:

  1. Put on relaxed attire that won’t restrict or confine your movements.
  2. Stretching should not cause discomfort or difficulty for the body; instead, it should be painless.
  3. Avoid bouncing into a stretch, as this might result in muscle strain, and instead ease into it.
  4. Stretch on a spotless, spacious surface that allows for unrestricted movement.
  5. Stretches should be held for 15 to 30 seconds in order to sufficiently extend muscles and increase range of motion.
  6. Stretches should be performed two to five times; a muscle often reaches its maximal length after four repetitions.
  7. Stretch your body one side at a time.

Stretching Exercise for Back Pain:

A network of muscles, discs, nerves, and other tissues connects the five vertebrae that comprise the lower back. Other prominent culprits that might impede the spine’s natural motion and, consequently, your mobility are tightness in the hamstrings and hip flexors. Fortunately, stretching can help you restore your range of motion, which can lessen the discomfort of performing regular actions like lifting goods and climbing stairs. These seven easy simple exercises for lower back pain are recommended.

1. Cat-cow pose:

A mild yoga stance that works well before any exercise program is cat-cow. It opens the muscles in your neck, back, and surrounding areas.

How to do:

  • Place your knees directly behind your hips and your wrists beneath your shoulders while on all fours.
  • Spread your fingers apart to distribute your body weight equally.
  • Start by lowering your belly to the floor and inhaling to become a cow. Raise your chin and your chest and look up at the ceiling.
  • Next, do a cat pose, which involves exhaling and arching your back like a cat. Let your head hang loosely and tuck your pelvis and belly into your spine.
  • Perform five to seven cat-cow rounds, breathing in and out of each pose.
  • You can add more cushioning by placing a blanket underneath them if they are experiencing any knee pain.

You can do the cat-cow on your forearms if your wrists hurt.

2. Side-lying rotations:

A thoracic spine stretch is achieved by side-lying rotation. The most significant part of the spine is the thoracic spine. Research indicates that this is one of the best and most beneficial stretches for lower back pain for people who experience persistent low back discomfort.

How to do:

  • Place a cushion between your knees while lying on your right side.
  • Maintain as much straightness in your right knee and a bent left knee. As stable as you can with your hips and lumbar spine, hold your hands in front of you.
  • Bring your upper back and outside arm parallel to the floor. To prevent your spine from twisting, tighten your abs.
  • Turn ten times on each side.

You can substitute this with a standing thoracic rotation if it hurts. Assume a putt position by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and bending 30 degrees from the hips. Make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart and perform the same twisting stretch while standing. Holding a golf club or dowel across your shoulders might aid in maintaining alignment.

3. Quadruped rotations:

Rotations in quadruples are yet another great way to increase thoracic mobility.  This spine stretching exercise is known to be quite effective and is easy to perform.

How to do:

  • Begin by putting your hands and knees together. To lock out your pelvis, sit back on your buttocks and keep your feet and knees together.
  • Reach behind your neck with one hand. While maintaining your abs contracted, rotate inward toward your belly.
  • Go back to the previous position.
  • Then, with your palm facing away from your back, lay the same hand on your lower back.
  • As you lead with the matching elbow, take your eyes with you and turn your shoulder to face the ceiling.
  • Do ten repetitions on each side.

4. Child’s pose:

The latissimus dorsi muscle and your shoulders are both worked in the child’s posture stretch.

How to do:

  • Sit back so that your glutes are resting on your heels while on your hands and knees.
  • Lengthen your spine by extending your hands forward. Your middle back ought to feel stretched.
  • You can stretch the opposing side of your spine by extending both hands to either side.
  • Do two or three repetitions while holding for ten to thirty seconds.

5. Chair stretch:

Your hip-gluteal region contains the piriformis muscle. Despite its small size, the piriformis is essential to hip and leg movement. Low back pain might also result from stiff hips, knees, or glutes. This back stretching exercise benefits each of these muscles since it might directly cause the pain you’re experiencing.

How to do:

  • With your hands supporting you from behind and your feet firmly planted on the ground, sit on the floor.
  • Next, place your ankle on the knee of the person on the other side and cross one leg over the other.
  • Press the inside of the crossed knee gently and bend forward until you feel a slight stretch.
  • Stretch for ten to thirty seconds, then repeat on the other.

6. Overhead arm stretch:

The overhead arm works on the shoulders, neck, and upper back.  This stretching exercise for lower back pain can instantly provide relief from discomfort.

How to do:

  • Start either seated or standing.
  • Put your arms out in front of your head.
  • Stretch your arms before your ears and slant slightly to the left. You can gently pull the right arm to the left with your left hand if you need extra tension to feel the effect.
  • Go back to where you were before.
  • Repeat the stretch twice on both sides, holding each pose for 30 seconds.

If this is uncomfortable for you, consider doing this while seated.

7. Single knee to chest:

Glutes will benefit from this easy, gentle stretch: single knee to chest. Using more or less effort when pushing on your knee is also adjustable.

How to do:

  • With your knees bent and your foot soles flat on the ground, lie flat on your back.
  • Raise one knee such that your fingers can be interlocked, and you can grip your leg right below your knees.
  • Slowly bring your knee toward your body until you feel that you have had enough stretch.
  • Keep your hips, lower back, and legs relaxed as you complete the action.
  • For 30 seconds, hold.
  • Repeat with the other leg after letting go.
  • On each leg, perform the exercise twice more.

Final Words:

Adding focused stretching exercises to your regimen is a proactive and efficient approach to reducing lower back pain and increasing flexibility at the same time. This blog post’s seven recommended stretches offer a well-rounded method that targets several muscle groups and encourages a more robust, healthier lower back.

Recall that consistency is essential. Completing these stretches can help promote better posture, lessen muscular tension, and expand the range of motion when combined with correct technique and focused breathing. These stretches provide a valuable and approachable way to maintain the health of your lower back, regardless of whether you’re trying to avoid or manage chronic back pain.

But before starting any new fitness program, pay attention to your body and see a doctor, especially if you have any pre-existing medical illnesses or concerns. Targeted stretching can help you take charge of your lower back health and open the door to increased comfort, flexibility, and general well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do you loosen tight lower back muscles?

To loosen tight lower back muscles, perform the following exercises:
Child pose
Pelvic tilt

How do I stretch my lower back?

Lie on your back with your knees bent.
Tighten the muscles in your belly.
Hold for five seconds.

What exercise is for back pain?

Cat-crow stretch
Pelvic tilt
Child pose

How do I relieve back pain?

Strengthen your core muscles. 
Stretch daily.
Avoid sitting with poor posture. 
Take walks. 
Lift correctly.

Are stretching exercises good for lower back pain?

Yes, stretching exercises can be beneficial for alleviating lower back pain. When performed correctly and consistently, stretching can help address several factors contributing to lower back discomfort.

What are lower back strengthening exercises?

Superman exercise
Bird-dog exercise

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