Stretches to Help Relieve Lower Back Pain, Pt. 2

Spine | June 7, 2024
lower back stretch top

It’s one of the most common orthopaedic complaints among almost all age groups: pain in the lower back. From the dull ache that accompanies mild overuse injuries or general wear and tear as we age to the sharp, debilitating pain that can result from a sudden accident, lower back pain can affect every moment of your daily life.

If you’ve already read our January 2023 article, “Stretches to Relieve Lower Back Pain and Strengthen Your Spine,” you know how stretching can improve your flexibility and range of motion, posture, and circulation.

This month, we’ll look at some additional stretching exercises that can help ease pain in your lower back and reduce your likelihood of suffering additional back injuries.

What Is a Stretching Exercise?

Stretching is commonly seen as something that athletes do before competing or that ardent gym-goers do before a workout. In reality, stretching is important for everyone, particularly those with a more sedentary lifestyle.

Stretching exercises involve putting the body into a position in which one or more muscles are pulled tight and then holding that position for a given length of time. During everyday life, we seldom extend or contract many of our muscles to their fullest extent. As a result, the muscles lose flexibility and mobility; they get “locked” into a limited range of motion and trying to move beyond that now-comfortable range results in pain and potential muscle damage.

Stretching loosens muscle tissue, increasing flexibility and range of motion. It also encourages additional blood flow to the area, which increases the amount of oxygen available to muscles and removes harmful waste products.

In many cases of lower back pain, simply engaging in a steady regime of stretches can restore better muscle function, remove waste products that cause muscle soreness, and return you to your full range of motion.

Before You Start Stretches for Lower Back Pain

As you start each round of stretches, keep the following tips and best practices in mind:

Warm Up First

Coming right out of a resting posture and into stretching isn’t healthy. Exercising muscles that haven’t been adequately warmed up can lead to even worse pain once your stretches are complete. Spending 5-10 minutes warming up with a light activity, such as a short walk, will help get your body ready for the coming exercise.

Be Slow and Gentle

You’ve heard people say it: no pain, no gain. While there might be some truth in that, when it comes to stretching, pain is not a requirement. During stretching exercises, keep your movements slow and calculated. Don’t bounce or lurch into position; move smoothly and take full, controlled breaths.

Above all, if you feel any pain beyond a slight stretching sensation, stop what you’re doing. If pain persists, make an appointment with an OrthoGeorgia spine specialist.

Consult Your Doctor

If you have a history of muscle injuries, any chronic conditions, or other health concerns, always check with your primary care physician before starting any new exercise regimen.

For the first five stretches in this list, read our January 2023 article.

lower back stretch body

Lower Back Stretch #6: Double Knee-to-Chest Stretch

This exercise helps stretch and strengthen the muscles in both the middle and lower back.

  • Start on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Bring your knees to your chest and hold them with your hands.
  • Make sure to keep your lower back pressed into the floor.
  • Slowly relax and return to the starting position.
  • Repeat 3-5 times.

Lower Back Stretch #7: Piriformis Stretch

Your piriformis muscle is located in your buttocks. Poor flexibility of the piriformis can lead to tightness and pain in the glutes and lower back.

  • Start on your back with both knees bent. Your feet should be flat on the floor.
  • Cross your legs, placing your right ankle right at the base of your left thigh.
  • Gently grab the back of your left knee and pull the knee towards your chest until you feel a stretch.
  • Hold the pose for up to one minute, then slowly return to the starting position.
  • Repeat with your right leg crossed over your left.

Lower Back Stretch #8: Supported Bridge

To safely perform this stretch, you’ll need a foam roller, yoga block, or other firm cushion. This exercise will help decompress your spine, lengthen it, and strengthen your spinal muscles.

  • Start on your back with both knees bent. Your feet should be flat on the floor.
  • Leaving your head and shoulders on the ground, lift your hips so that your torso and thighs make a straight line.
  • Place your supporting roller, block, or cushion under your hips
  • Relax your body into the support, and hold the position for up to one minute.
  • Slowly return to the starting position.
  • Repeat 3-5 times.

Lower Back Stretch #9: Child’s Pose

This stretch is a familiar pose in yoga and is an excellent way to stretch your glutes, lats, and muscle groups along the entire length of the spine.

  • Start on your hands and knees. Your hands and knees should both be about shoulder-width apart.
  • Slowly move your hips backward and down as though you were going to sit on your feet, keeping your back straight and flat.
  • If possible, bring your belly down to rest on your thighs.
  • Stretch your arms long in front of you. Try to bring your head as close to the floor as you can.
  • Hold the pose for up to one minute, then slowly return to the starting position.

Lower Back Stretch #10: Hamstring Stretch with Towel

Stretching out the three muscles that run down the back of your thighs, also known as your hamstring, can help reduce lower back pain and improve flexibility in your hips and legs.

  • Start on your back with both legs in front of you.
  • Hook a towel or strap around the bottom of your left foot
  • Pull on the towel with both hands to draw the leg up
  • Pull gently until you feel a stretch along the back of your leg
  • Hold the pose for ten seconds, then repeat with the other leg.
  • Repeat this stretch ten times during each stretching session

You Don’t Have to Live with Lower Back Pain

Performing these and other exercises regularly can reduce or completely eliminate lower back pain for many sufferers. If, however, your pain persists or gets worse after a few stretching sessions, you should make an appointment with one of our dedicated spine specialists.

The multidisciplinary team at our Macon Spine Center has the latest technologies to diagnose and treat a wide range of issues that cause lower back pain. With the aid of CT, MRI, and digital x-ray technology, our spine specialists will provide you with a diagnosis and tailor a treatment plan to you. Our treatment services cover a range of surgical and non-surgical options to help reduce your back pain and prevent future injuries.

Check out this video to learn a little more about how OrthoGeorgia treats low back pain.

OrthoGeorgia Has the Solution for Your Lower Back Pain! Call Us at (478) 745-4206 Today!

Disclaimer: The information contained within this material is intended for informational purposes only. No material in this content is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, treatment, or advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other healthcare provider with questions regarding your medical conditions and treatment options.

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