Stretches to Relieve Lower Back Pain & Strengthen Your Spine

Spine | January 23, 2023
man with back pain

Back pain can be debilitating and limit your engagement in the daily activities you love. Lower back pain disrupts things like working in the garden, playing with your children, and even sitting at your desk.

Back pain could be caused by a mild muscle strain or something more serious, like a herniated disc. Because you may be uncertain of the root cause, visit a spine specialist if your back pain doesn’t improve after several weeks or if you begin experiencing additional symptoms, such as nerve pain.

Many patients can find lower back pain relief by performing simple, daily stretching exercises.

Benefits of Stretching Your Back

Stretching your back and spine can help:

  • Improve flexibility and range of motion
  • Build posture and strengthen muscles
  • Improve circulation

Three Tips Before You Start Stretching

Be Gentle

Don’t overextend yourself. Stretches introduce new motions that your body may not be used to performing, so it’s essential to be delicate. If you’re sore the day after stretching or if the pain worsens, make an appointment with the spine specialists at OrthoGeorgia.

Take it Slow

Avoid sharp and quick motions as you perform these stretches. Move slowly and deliberately, listening to your body as your stretch. Focus on your breathing and move with care. You should be able to inhale and exhale smoothly as you stretch.

Consult Your Doctor

As with any new exercise, be sure your doctor clears you for activity if you have a history of injuries or other health concerns.

Let’s look at a few simple stretches you can try at home.

Lower Back Stretch #1: Knee-to-Chest

This stretch improves flexibility in your hips and lengthens your spine.

Follow these steps:

  1. Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Extend your right leg straight along the floor and wrap both hands around your left knee.
  3. Gently pull your left knee towards your chest while avoiding lifting your hips.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds and focus on deep breathing to help relieve tension.
  5. Gently return your left leg to the starting position.
  6. Repeat the steps with your right leg.

Lower Back Stretch #2: Cat-Cow

Cat-Cow is a simple stretch for beginners that improves spine flexibility and stretches muscles surrounding your spine.

Follow these steps:

  1. Get on the floor on all fours, making sure your hands and knees are about hip-width apart.
  2. Start with your back in a neutral position.
  3. Exhale and lower your chin to your chest. Arch your back (like a cat) and focus on drawing your belly towards your spine.
  4. Inhale and slowly lift your head to look up, dropping your belly (like a cow) toward the floor.

Lower Back Stretch #3: Hamstring Stretch

You may remember this stretch from your high school P.E. class. You can often relieve back pain by ensuring your hamstrings (the muscles in the back of your thigh) are flexible.

Follow these steps:

  1. Stand up straight and slowly lower your hands toward your toes and your forehead towards your knees.
  2. Be sure to keep both knees straight while reaching. (Don’t worry if you can’t touch your toes yet, this will come with practice!)
  3. Hold the position for 30 seconds and focus on breathing deeply.
  4. Slowly return to standing upright and rest for 30 seconds. Repeat 6-8 times.

Lower Back Stretch #4: Prone on Elbows (POE)

This comfortable stretch can help loosen your lower back.

Follow these steps:

  1. Lying face down, slowly press up and prop yourself on your elbows.
  2. Your hips will remain on the ground and your lower back will be lower than your shoulders.
  3. Hold this position for 1-2 minutes and slowly lower yourself back down to resting position.

Lower Back Stretch #5: Prone Press Up

This stretch is related to the Prone on Elbows (POE) stretch but adds another element.

Follow these steps:

  1. Begin by lying flat on your stomach with your hands on either side of your head.
  2. Press into the ground with your hands and push your chest up off the ground.
  3. Keep your hips on the ground and pay attention to stay in a pain-free range of motion.
  4. Hold this position for 1 second, and slowly lower back to the resting position.

Note: Do one of these exercises that feels good for 10 repetitions every 2-3 hours to keep your back loose.

Trust the Spine Specialists at OrthoGeorgia!

Back pain shouldn’t prevent you from doing what you love! OrthoGeorgia’s Spine and Orthopaedic Center in Macon features state-of-the-art technology for spine and back injury diagnosis and treatment. Whether you require surgical care, physical therapy, or other treatments, OrthoGeorgia is here to serve you with cutting-edge care.

You can trust our elite team of specialists, surgeons, and occupational and physical therapists to help you enjoy an active life free from pain.

Choose Spine Experts that Keep You Active. Call Us at (478) 745-4206 Today!

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Personalized Orthopaedic Care in Central Georgia

At OrthoGeorgia, we want to help you live a healthier and more comfortable life by giving those in Macon, Warner Robins, Kathleen, Milledgeville, Dublin, Griffin, and the surrounding areas convenient access to the highest quality care. Whether you have been suffering from a sports injury or a common orthopaedic condition, we will determine the cause of your discomfort and craft a personalized treatment plan to bring you relief. To learn more about our services and our physicians, or to schedule an appointment at OrthoGeorgia, please contact us today.

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