Simple Stretches To Relieve Back Pain
There are many methods to help with eliminating back pain. One of the most basic and beneficial is through simple stretching. The benefits of stretching include not only pain relief but also increased flexibility and strengthening. And, stretching can be a contributing factor toward improved posture. It is important to note that pain relief may not be immediate and it may take some time for noticeable improvement.
All individuals can benefit from back-related stretches. First, consider these important guidelines. Start by wearing comfortable clothes. Next, while doing any type of stretch it is crucial not to stretch through pain. Move slowly through a stretch and to avoid bouncing. During the stretches, each position should be held for approximately 20 to 30 seconds. It is recommended to repeat the stretch approximately 5 to 10 times.
It is most helpful to focus on specific areas for stretches. These include the back, hip/gluteus and hamstrings. Two effective stretches for the back muscles are back flexion and knee-to-chest. For the hip and gluteus stretches, these are piriformis stretch and hip flexor stretch. One of the most important muscles to stretch is the hamstring. While stretching the hamstring one can lie on their back and place a towel under the ball of the foot. This will keep your back supported during the entire stretch. Another way to stretch this hamstring muscle is in the standing position. Refer to our illustrations for the stretches mentioned.
Best Stretch For Low Back Pain
That constant aching pain in the lower back. The kind of pain that just doesnât go away and hangs out for days and days. Iâve got a stretch to help with just that problem today.
Itâs called facet irritation, and thatâs when these joints get irritated, compressed, and inflamed.
Iâve been helping the Lucan community for the last 20 years get rid of back pain, and Iâm going to try and help some more today.
The very first stretch that I like the most is called alternate knee hug.
Step one, you lay down your back with your knees bent, your feet flat on the floor.
Step two is you perform a pelvic tilt.
Step three is you pull one leg up to your chest, as high and as hard as you can.
Get it right up tight in the chest and feel that stretch along the lower back. Alternate your legs.
Do that ten times on each side.
If this is not helping, then maybe itâs time to go ahead and get me on the phone, call 519-227-1363 and Iâd be more than happy to try and help.
Stretches For Low Back Pain
- Back Flexion Stretch. Lying on the back, pull both knees to the chest while simultaneously flexing the head forward until a comfortable stretch is felt across the mid and low back.
- Knee to Chest Stretch. Lie on the back with the knees bent and both heels on the floor, then place both hands behind one knee and pull it toward the chest, stretching the gluteus and piriformis muscles in the buttock.
- Kneeling Lunge Stretch. Starting on both knees, move one leg forward so the foot is flat on the ground, keeping weight evenly distributed through both hips . Place both hands on the top of the thigh, and gently lean the body forward to feel a stretch in the front of the other leg. This stretch affects the hip flexor muscles, which attach to the pelvis and can impact posture if too tight.
- Piriformis Muscle Stretch. Lie on the back with knees bent and both heels on the floor. Cross one leg over the other, resting the ankle on the bent knee, then gently pull the bottom knee toward the chest until a stretch is felt in the buttock. Or, lying on the floor, cross one leg over the other and pull it forward over the body at the knee, keeping the other leg flat.
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Exercise To Loosen Muscles
Although it may seem counterintuitive to exercise when lower back pain is causing you grief, the right kind of movement can help eliminate the discomfort. Its always important to consult your physician before you engage in exercise when you have pain, but this conversation is well worth having if youre suffering.
First, you should keep in mind that not all exercise is beneficial in combating back pain. Try to avoid toe-touch exercises and sit-ups, which may add to the stress on your spine instead of relieving it. Leg lifts are another exercise to stay away from when you are hurting. If your core is not strong, leg lifts could be too demanding on your body if youre already experiencing pain.
Several types of exercises can be useful when you need to relieve back pain. Partial crunches can aid in strengthening your core without applying too much pressure to the area. Slow and controlled wall-sit exercises may also be useful. Other repetitions to consider include bringing each knee to the chest in succession, pelvic tilts, and swimming.
Stretching On The Ball
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Double Knee To Chest Stretch
- Get on your back, feet on the floor.
- Gently pull both knees towards your chest.
- Hold position 20-30 seconds.
- Repeat 3-5 times.
The stretch helps to promote lumbar spine flexibility and movement and can be done before or after workouts to prevent muscle strain and injury. This exercise also gently activates cores muscles which can improve overall body performance and help to reduce lower back pain.
Lower Back Stretches While Seated In A Comfortable Position
To alleviate discomfort, strengthen the lower back, and activate the core muscles, try the sitting lower back rotational stretch. Do this rotating stretch sitting with your lower back in an arched position:
- Sit with your feet flat on the floor on a stool or chair without arms.
- Keep your hips square and your spine tall as you do a right core twist.
- To help with the stretch, put your hands behind your head or on your right knee with your left.Ten seconds later, release the position.
- Repeat the drill on the left.
- Do this 35 times on each side, twice daily, for 35 days.
Curls that are just partially completed. Maintaining appropriate hip alignment is made easier by maintaining a healthy core via regular exercise and developing strong abdominal muscles.
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Knee To Chest Stretch
Another great stretch to perform for lower back pain is the knee to chest stretch. This stretch helps relax your thighs, glutes, and hips while promoting overall relaxation. Heres how you perform this stretch:
- Lie on your back with both of your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor
- Bend your right knee or extend it straight on the floor
- Draw your left knee into your chest, clasping your hands behind your thigh
- Lengthen your spine and avoid lifting your hips
- Breathe deeply to release tension and hold this pose for one minute
Afterward, repeat with the other leg. If you need extra padding, you can place a pillow under your head.
What Causes Lower Back Pain
Back pains are quite common because there are several reasons why it happens. Certain activities contribute to back pain in the lower region. Some spine conditions also cause extreme discomfort in the lower back. Here are some of the most common causes for back pain:
- Sprains and strains Many cases of acute lower back pain are caused by muscle strains and sprains. These conditions happen when the muscles are overstretched, or the tendons are torn.
- Herniated discs Accidents, falls, and sports injuries damage the spine. The back pain immediately happens after the accident, accompanied by numbness or tingling in the legs.
- Sciatica This refers to the sharp pain in the lower back that travels to the buttocks and legs. This occurs when the sciatica nerve is compressed.
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Relieving A Stiff Lower Back
For a stiff lower back, its likely to happen if you live in a cold climate, or have any form of arthritis that tends to flare up due to aging, or when the weather shifts.
Stiffness has many leading factors with one being a cold body. Cold weather can make your back ache, so try to keep inside during the winter.
Back stiffness can also be caused by spasms in the back, injuries that lead to stiffness, improper lifting, and in some cases, lumbar arthritis.
However, its also important to note that any strain to the spine can result in lower back stiffness.
Many times, lower back stiffness develops due to a lack of mobility and activity. If you arent one to go to the gym or lift weights, then be sure to take advantage of the above lower back stretches as often as you can.
Rotational Stretches Of The Lower Back Are Also Beneficial
To ease lower back and trunk stress, try the rotating stretch. It also helps to strengthen the core muscles, which helps with balance and stability. Stretch your lower back by rotating your lower body clockwise.
- Bend your knees and place your feet firmly on the ground while lying on your back.
- Gently move both bent legs to one side while keeping the shoulders firmly on the floor.
- Hold this posture for 510 seconds.
- Reset the clock to the beginning of the current period.
- After a few seconds of holding, gently move the bent knees over to the opposing side, and then return to the beginning position.
- Twice daily, do this exercise 23 times on each side.
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What Can Cause A Tight Lower Back
Sports injuries, overtraining, and accidents can cause your back to feel tight. Even everyday activities such as sitting can cause tightness.
Often you develop tightness in the lower back to compensate for an issue in another part of the body. Tight hamstrings and gluteus muscles can also contribute to this tightness. Having poor posture or using incorrect form while lifting weights or having weak core muscles can also play a part.
There are several other factors that can lead to or complicate a tight lower back. These include:
- sprains and strains
Youll typically see improvements within two to six weeks of doing daily exercises. You should see a doctor if:
- your pain doesnt improve within a few weeks
- you have intense pain while doing the exercises
- the pain spreads to your legs
Also see a doctor if you experience any numbness, swelling, or severe pain. Your doctor can help to determine if any pain or tightness is being caused by an underlying condition.
There are many lifestyle changes you can practice to help prevent lower back pain. Here are a few guidelines and tips:
- Adopt a balanced, healthy diet.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
Why Is Stretching Good For You
Stretching the lower back results in the lengthening of the back muscles. Its the lengthening of those back muscles that results in a reduction of pain. With age, muscles naturally get shorter and tend to be tighter.
Building the muscles around the spine results in the lengthening of those back muscles. A neutral spine and proper posture helps in keeping those muscles surrounding the spine strong.
This is great because strong muscles in the back are muscles that are consistently stretched and lengthened the stronger the muscles in the back and in the overall core, the less injuries and the less pain! Isnt that what we all hope for?
The Basics: The 5 Best Stretches For Lower Back Pain
The best stretches for lower back pain are those that help reduce muscle tension while also strengthening the core muscles that support the body. Weve listed five of what we think are the best stretches for lower back pain below. When performing any of these stretches, you should be able to approach them at the level that feels best for you. You can modify any of these if they dont work.
Some good practices for exercise is to always warm up before you start stretching, especially if you havent exercised a lot recently. A great warm-up is a quick walk, walking in place, or some light dancing. Dont try to push yourself too hard in the beginning or it will only lead to more pain and not wanting to exercise. Remember being in pain is not a normal part of exercising.
Always have good breath control when you do any exercise. You never want to hold your breath, but instead you should exhale during a stretch and inhale when you release the stretch. Always consult your pain doctor before starting a new routine, as they will be able to best provide you with suggestions based on your condition. They will also be able to advise against certain stretches that may exacerbate your condition.
And finally, before trying any of these stretches for lower back pain, its a good idea to know the basics behind what back pain is and what causes it. This quick video from PainDoctor.com gives a great introduction to the science behind back pain.
Lower Trunk Rotation Stretch
- While on the floor, bend your knees with feet flat.
- Engage your abdominals to support your spine.
- With arms outstretched and knees together, slowly rotate knees to one side and hold. Rotate to the other side.
- Repeat 5-10 times.
This stretch helps to strengthen core abdominal muscles while also increasing lumbar spine mobility, rotation, and flexibility. Since trunk rotation is used frequently in daily life, especially during sports or workouts, its important to perform stretches to aid in the strength, mobility, and function of these muscles.
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Avoid Prolonged Static Posture
It is important to pay attention to the joints and muscles of your spine and hip. Prevent fatigue and stresses on these joints by following simple tips, such as:
- Avoid excessive sitting or consider using a standing desk while you work. When you sit for a long duration, the pressure on your spinal discs increase. Aim to get up every hour and walk a short distance to take the load off your discs.
When you have a flare-up of symptoms, consider less exertive activities, such as reading a book, listening to music, or crafting. These activities can help divert your mind from the pain and let your back rest at the same time.
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
The iliopsoas comprises the joined iliacus and psoas muscles. These hip muscles are the main muscles that help the hip to flex.
A person can stretch these muscles to relieve tailbone pain as they often become stiff with prolonged sitting.
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Why Your Tight Hips Could Be To Blame
Tight hip flexors could be a contributing factor to your lower back pain. It may sound strange, but its true! What does the hip have to do with the back?
The hip bones are connected to the tailbone, leading to the spine. If there is an issue with your hips, that then puts pressure on the lower back, causing you extreme pain.
Its important to know that tight hip flexors are common, especially amongst those who regularly participate in certain physical activities. Those exercises including horseback riding, cycling, jogging, or anything that works your legs and not your hips. Prolonged sitting and improper posture while sitting can even cause tight hip flexors!
One way to help reduce lower back pain is by working on improving the flexibility in the hips, which can be done with lower back stretches.