Stretches For Lower Back Pain Relief
The lower back or the lumbar spine is a strikingly well-devised structure consisting of several bones that are interconnect with one another and also connect to various other ligaments, muscles, and nerves. All these parts come together to provide support and flexibility. Despite their efficient design, this complex structure can also be susceptible to pain and injury.
Lower back pain is usually triggered by an injury to a ligament or muscle. This can happen due to various reasons– which include poor posture, improper lifting, lack of regular exercise, or several other reasons. The pain usually subsides on its own in a few weeks but physiotherapy can help alleviate it faster. We have compiled a list of a few easy stretches and exercises to alleviate lower back pain. Most of these can be done in the comfort of your home or even at work.
General Tips For Stretching To Alleviate Back Pain
It is important that one takes proper precaution before attempting any stretch or exercise that has been mentioned in this article. These tips will not only ensure safety but will also help in increasing the effectiveness of the stretch.
● Do these stretches inappropriate clothing that are comfortable do not act as constraints and allow for easy body movements
● Be mindful of the body’s limits and do not try to force the body into any position that is very difficult or painful
● Make sure you move into a stretch gently and avoid fast and bouncy movements as they can often result in muscle strain
● Find a flat and clean surface to stretch on and make sure you have enough space to move freely. You can also make use of a yoga mat
● Once you start stretching, ensure that you maintain each stretch for at least 10 to 30 seconds in order to sufficiently stretch muscles and increase the pain-relief benefits of the exercise
● Repeat each stretch between at least 5 times as a muscle requires at least 4 repetitions to reach maximum elongation.
Stretches are the best way to avoid and alleviate pain from muscles. Following is a list of 10 easy to stretches that are sure to help reduce soreness and alleviate pain from the lower back muscles:
1. Child’s Pose
This is a very common and easy to do yoga posture that is very good at stretching out contracted ligaments and muscles in the lower back region. It effectively releases tension and helps in pain relief.
Start off with your hands and knees firmly on the mat. Make sure that your hands are directly below your shoulder and knees are below your hips. Once in place, extend your arms directly in front of you and place our palms flat on the mat. Steadily move your hips back towards your heels, while simultaneously lower your head and chest, and stretch out your arms more. Maintain the pose for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat 5 to 6 times.
Alternatively, you can use a pillow to prop your belly up and this will make the stretch a little easier by reducing the strain on the lower back muscles.
2. Cow/Cat Stretch
This stretch is more dynamic in terms of movement and helps move the muscles of the lower back in two different directions. It builds on the Child’s pose and works towards stretching contracted ligaments and muscles and relieving soreness.
Start off with your hands and knees firmly on the mat. Make sure that your hands are directly below your shoulder and knees are below your hips, this should result in your spinal cord being parallel to the mat. Next, stretch your mid back by first raising it upwards and maintaining it for 5 to 10 seconds, then let your mid back drop by letting your stomach fall down while slowly arching your lower back and maintain the pose for another 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat the movement 5 to 6 times.
This stretch will not only help in stretching the lower back but will also help stretch the glutes that are often tightened when experiencing pain in the lower back. The movement is simple and will alleviate pain in the back, lower back, and glutes.
Start off by laying down on your back and bend your knees but keep your feet flat on the ground. Next, stretch your hands out to the side mimicking a “T” shape. Make sure your shoulders are flat on the ground as you slowly roll both knees to one side. maintain this stance for 20 to 30 seconds before going back to the initial position and roll both knees to the other side. Repeat this exercise at least 5-6 times.
Alternatively, you can make the stretch easier by placing a pillow beneath your knees before twisting them from side to side.
4. Lying-Knee Twist
This stretch is designed to combine movements that will help in stretching the lower back muscles, the paraspinal muscles, and the abdominal muscles. The stretch is easy to do and will alleviate pain in the lower back muscles while strengthening the abdominal muscles.
Start by lying down flat on your back and stretch your legs straight out on the ground. Next, bring one leg up and bend the knee before crossing it over to the opposite side of the body. maintain this stretch for at least 20 seconds before putting the leg back against the ground and repeating with the other leg. You should ideally feel a gentle stretch across your back and tightening in the core and buttocks muscles. Repeat the exercise 6 to 8 times in total.
5. Knee to Chest-Stretch
This is a very common and easy to stretch that is very good at helping lengthen out contracted ligaments and muscles in the lower back region. It effectively releases tension from the sore muscles and helps in pain relief.
Start off by lying down on your back and bend your knees but keep your feet flat on the ground. Next, rest your arms right below your kneecaps or behind your knees. Once this pose has been achieved, raise both knees and bring them to your chest, using your arms to slowly pull the knees towards your chest. Maintain this stance for 20 to 30 seconds before returning to the initial position.
6. The Pelvic Tilt
While experiencing pain in the lower back region, one might also feel like the entire pelvic area is frozen. The pelvic tilt is a stretch that specifically helps in bringing back movement to the pelvic region while simultaneously relieving back pain.
Start off by laying down on your back and bend your knees but keep your feet flat on the ground. Make sure that your lower back is relaxed and in a neutral position, this means a slight curve should be felt in your back when you place your hand under it. Next, engage your core muscles by completely flattening your back against the ground and slowly tilting your pelvis upwards. maintain the pose for 5 seconds and repeat 12 to 15 times
7. Piriformis Seated-Stretch
The piriformis stretch is aimed to aid the piriformis muscle by lengthening and strengthening it over time.
Begin with a seated position on the mat, making sure your back is straight. Next, cross your right leg over the left leg and place your foot right next to the thigh of the opposite leg. Move your left leg and tuck it in towards your buttocks. Place your left arm on the right knee and the right arm on the left ankle. Gently ease into a stretch with your back straight and your chest raised. maintain the pose for up to 20 seconds and the repeat on the other side. Do this stretch 6-8 times in one go.
This stretch combines movements that help in stretching out the tight muscles in the lower back and abdomen region. It is great for really working the muscles and stretching them to their limits.
Begin by lying down flat on your stomach with your legs stretched out, your palms planted firmly on other side of your head and your elbows and forearms against the mat. Next, gently move your entire torso upwards and rest all your weight on your forearms which should be kept planted on the mat. Make sure that your hips are also touching the ground. Once you have managed to achieve a comfortable position that is slowly stretching the muscles in your lower back and abdomen, hold it there for upto 10 seconds before returning to the initial position slowly. Repeat the process 5 to 6 times and try stretching out your arms if it is not too painful.
9. Prone Leg-Lifts
The following stretch helps to strengthen the lower back muscles by engaging in them in extension exercises. The stretch also helps in lengthening the hip flexors.
Start off by lying flat on your front and squeezing the legs squeezing with your hands resting under the forehead. Stretch the muscles in your abdominal region by moving your navel to your spine and contracting your back. Next, lift both your legs 1-2 inches above the ground and keep your knees entirely straight. maintain for a few seconds and lower to the ground. Repeat the entire exercise 5-10 times.
10. Supported Bridge
This stretch is designed to decompress the lumbar spine by engaging the lower back in supported elevation. The exercise requires the use of a prop for support, one can potentially use either a foam roller, firm cushions or a yoga block for this purpose.
Start off by lying down on your back and bending your knees with both your feet flat on the ground. Next, raise your hips and place the prop under it so that it should presses comfortably against the flat section of your back. Maintain the stance while completely relaxing your body and putting all weight onto the mat and the prop. Next, extend each leg one after the other. Continue doing this exercise for upto 2 minutes.
The stretches mentioned above are great to alleviate and destress the muscles in your lower back. They are targeted to specific muscles in your lower back to help reduce soreness and elongate contracted muscles.
There are a few other things you can do to both reduce and prevent lower back pain:
● Better Posture is essential for avoiding all sorts of back problems. Majority of lower back pain emanates from bad posture practises and this can be easily avoided. Make sure you keep your back straight and your shoulders pulled back while sitting on a chair and avoid slouching.
● Exercise is important to maintain overall good health and helps keep muscles in good working condition. A few hours of exercise in a week is enough to avoid all sorts of problems including lower back pain.
● Stretching Before Physical Activity reduces risk of unnecessary muscle strain. Any strenuous physical activity must be started by a thorough stretching and followed by the same. This warms up the muscles before the activity and relaxes them after it.
● Massage to the low back can help alleviate the pain in lower back muscles. They work by reducing muscle spasms and increasing the blood flow to the lower back that helps speed up the healing process by bringing oxygen and nutrients to affected muscles.
● Pain Relief Creams are a good way to both give instant relief and help in reducing lower back pain in the long term. In the short term, they absorb into the muscles quickly and immediately reduce muscle spasms which reduces pain. In the long term, they can be accompanied with the massaging technique to reduce the pain.
Penetrex is one of the most popular pain relief products on the market. It is an effective pain relief cream that is manufactured by the pharmaceutical company Penetrex. It is manufactured by using high quality ingredients that are combined using the latest technology. The cream is known to provide a fast and effective relief from various different types of pain like lower back pain, shoulder pain, elbow pain, and others. It is quick and easy to absorb, going to work almost instantly. Penetrex does not just cover up the pain but addresses the cause. is also equally effective for the people suffering from arthritis.
Hopefully, this article has been helpful to you and some of these tips may help reduce any lower back problems. Remember to take care of your posture and practice healthy stretching to avoid and heal muscle pains. If the pain persists or gets worse, do not hesitate to contact a physician.