Stretches for Lower Back Pain
No matter the precautions you take, fitness and exercise always come with the risk of pain and injury.
One of the most common pains I encounter among beginners and professionals alike is lower back pain. Whether you run daily or sit all day at work, you’ve more than likely experienced lower back pain at some point in your life.
The reason lower back pain is so common is that your lower back is part of your body’s core (the other main components being your abdominals and obliques). This means that your lower back is part of the muscle group that provides the most continuous support to your body.
Sitting for long hours can be particularly hard on your lower back, especially if you’re not paying attention to good posture. There’s no doubt about it that maintaining good posture (i.e., a straight rather than curved back and spine) goes a long way to strengthening your lower back muscles and preventing lower back pain.
Strengthening both your abdominal and lower back muscles will help prevent lower back pain over time (the stronger your abs, the less your lower back will have to compensate for them). One of the most common lower back exercises is the back extension on a Roman chair (click here to view exercise). Your abdominals can be strengthened using a number of exercises, including simple crunches (for an example, view this exercise) and oblique crunches (view exercise).
Stretches for Lower Back Pain
Aside from strengthening these muscle groups with exercise and resistance training, it’s also important to stretch your lower back. Stretching improves strength and flexibility and prevents the likelihood of injury down the road. It also helps relieve your pain, so let’s look at 5 effective stretches for your lower back. All stretches should be held for 30 seconds or longer for optimal results (unless otherwise indicated).
1. Cat Stretch – Position yourself on your hands and knees on the floor, about shoulder width apart. Slowly raise your head back, allowing your belly to move towards the floor and your lower back to become arched. Hold before stretching your spine in the opposite direction, moving your head towards the floor.
2. Cobra Stretch – Lie face down on the floor with your hands underneath your shoulders, palms facing down. Slowly push your upper body off the ground, feeling the tension build in your lower back. Hold there before releasing your body to the ground.
3. Leg Crossover – Lie on your back with your legs extended straight out in front of you. Pull your right knee into your body. Using your right hand, push your right knee down to the left, crossing over your left leg. Turn your head to the right while you feel the stretch in your lower back. Hold and repeat on opposite side.
4. Downward Reach – In a standing position (feet at shoulder width), simply extend our arms downward to your toes, bending at your lower back. Reach as far as you can while still being able to breathe. Hold the stretch here before releasing.
5. Pelvic Tilt – Lie on your back with your knees bent, keeping your feet flat on the floor. Engage your lower back muscles and press the small of your back against the floor. Hold here for 15 seconds, release, and repeat as needed.
Get more out of your stretches…
Whether it’s your lower back or your entire body, stretching really goes a long way for improving muscle recovery and preventing injury. To get the most out of your stretches, I recommend checking out these Adjustable Resistance Toning Tubes or a simple set of Latex Stretch Bands. They can help you add a bit of resistance to your stretches so you can improve your strength at the same time!
Have any questions or feedback about stretches for lower back pain? Please leave a comment below…