At some point, lower back pain affects 80% of Americans. Sitting for too long, which many of us do all day long, puts pressure on our lower backs and that can translate to pain. So what can we do about it? Lower back stretching is an easy, at-home way to ward off pain or even help relieve pain.
As with any exercise routine, if you have prior back injuries, surgery or other health concerns, you should check with your physician before starting a stretching routine. But for most healthy individuals, stretching is an efficient way to ease mild lower back pain.
These stretches can all be done without any equipment. The only suggestion is to use a yoga mat or exercise mat if possible, to make things more comfortable. The best lower back stretches include:
- Hip flexor stretch – This can be done from your bed – doesn’t get easier than that. Lay flat on your back close to the edge of the bed. Keep one leg on the bed, straight out in front of you. Let the other leg drop off the bed and dangle downward. This stretches your hip flexor.
- Knee to chest – Lie on your back with knees bent, and pull both knees off the floor toward your chest, holding your legs behind the knees on the bottom part of your hamstrings.
- Figure 4 stretch – This is very similar to knee to chest, just a little more involved. Lie on your back on the floor, preferably on a mat. Pull your right knee in toward your chest. Then draw your knee across your body toward your left shoulder. Try to keep your shoulders flat on the mat. Repeat this with the other leg.
- Cat and cow pose – These two yoga poses stretch your back. This stretch is done on all fours, with your hands flat on the mat and knees bent. First, for cat pose, round your spine up toward the ceiling. Hold for 20 seconds. Then for cow pose, lift your chest up and arch your back. These two stretches are opposites that help stretch your spine.
- Modified cobra pose – This yoga pose is done on your stomach. Lie flat on your mat, place your arms out to the side and bend your elbows. Your hands should be about even with your head. Push up, raise your head and torso and arch your back. Your hands should be flat on the mat. You can put your head back, looking up at the ceiling.
You can also watch this WebMD video that explains some of the stretches.
If you have mild back pain, try these stretches. If your pain continues, it may be time tocontact us. Or call our dedicated Medical Concierge at 800-890-1964 to set up an appointment and learn more.