If you’re looking for a way to get rid of lower back pain, try these 13 best stretches and exercises for relief. They’ll help you find more movement in your day and keep that pain at bay!
If you’re one of the millions of people suffering from lower back pain, you know it can be much more than just uncomfortable.
We’ve all been there: You’re just trying to get through your day, and then suddenly—you feel it
That ache in your lower back that makes you wince. The pain that makes you want to curl up in a ball and never move again can make it hard to do even the simplest of tasks.
Well, don’t despair:
One of the best ways to deal with lower back pain is through stretching and exercise. These exercises will not only help alleviate your current discomfort, but they’ll also help prevent future flare-ups by strengthening and stretching your muscles.
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Low Back Stretches For Pain
We’ve rounded up 13 of our favorite lower back stretches and exercises sure to give you much-needed relief!
But before we dive in, keep the following in mind:
- Your lower back is essential to you. It’s where your spine connects to your pelvis, and it’s the part of you that keeps your body upright while you’re standing. But if you spend a lot of time sitting, it can get tight and stiff, leading to pain if you don’t stretch out (and exercise) regularly.
- Stretching is not a cure-all for back pain, but for some people, it can help relieve tight hips and legs—which sometimes cause lower back pain. For a more comprehensive non-surgical solution you can do at home, check out this guide.
- In most cases, gentle stretching can be done even while in pain to provide fast relief—plus, it’s easy to fit into your schedule.
- Also, before executing any of these stretches and exercises, check in with your doctor if you have any major health concerns or existing injuries.
- Finally, there are many different types of stretches and exercises; it’s vital to choose the right one for your needs. To help you out, we’ve put together this list of 13 that will help relieve lower back pain:
The bird dog is one of the best lower back pain stretches for stabilizing the lower back. It targets the muscles of the lower back, core, and hip muscles.
Bird dog can be done as follows:
- Start on all fours (hands and knees on the floor).
- Next, lift one of your legs off the floor, extending it behind you while ensuring your hips are kept in position; your stomach and low back muscles tightened.
- Hold this position for 5 seconds or more before lowering back down to repeat on the other leg.
- Repeat this exercise 8-12 times on each leg. Aim for a longer duration of time to hold each leg in the air.
Bridging (or Bridge pose) strengthens your glutes and hamstrings and improves posture by working on your hip, hamstring, and low back muscles as you lift your hips up toward the ceiling. This exercise is good for improving core stability and reducing lower back pain.
Bridging can be done as follows:
- Lay on your back with your knees bent.
- Place your hands on the floor with your arms pointing straight ahead.
- Push through your heels and raise your hips off the floor while squeezing your buttocks with your feet hip-width apart until your body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees. Do not arch your back while at it.
- Hold for up to 30 seconds. Then lower back down slowly, and relax for 15 seconds before repeating.
- Repeat 10 times or as many times as is comfortable.
This basic stretch helps to relieve tension from your lower back by opening up the joints in your spine. This allows the muscles around them to relax more efficiently so they can work properly again, relieving lower back pain.
Cat-Cow stretch can be done as follows:
- Get down to all fours in a tabletop position.
- After that, you should arch your mid-back toward the ceiling, pulling up on your mid-back in a similar motion to when a cat arches its back.
- Hold it in that gentle outward curve for five seconds. Then let your low back sink down as you arch your lower back next; hold here for another five seconds.
- Repeat these motions for 30-120 seconds.
Child’s pose is a simple yoga pose that stretches out your hips and back, so it’s great for relieving lower back pain and tension.
Furthermore, it is one of the easiest poses to do. It can be done before bed, during your lunch break, or even during an intense workout at the gym.
The child’s Pose can be done as follows:
- Get your hands and knees on the floor, with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
- Sit back on your heels with a straight spine. Your knees and palms should still remain on the floor.
- Lower your forehead and bring your belly to rest on your thighs with your hands stretched out in front of you or on either side of your head.
- Stay in this position for up to 60 seconds, breathing deeply and letting the tension drain from your body.
Happy Baby Pose
The happy baby pose is a perfect resting stretch for when you’re feeling incredibly sore. This stretch will open up your hips, giving those muscles room to stretch out and relax, which can help you get rid of your lower back pain. It’s also a great way to relieve not only the stress from tight muscles but also from a long day of work.
Follow these steps to do a happy baby pose:
- Lie face up on the floor.
- Bring your knees toward your chest while your feet are lifted into the air and facing the ceiling.
- Next, reach out and hold the outside of your feet. Each hand grabs the corresponding feet.
- Hold this position or move from side to side for a few seconds.
- Repeat as many times as comfortable.
The knee-to-chest stretch is a classic lower back pain exercise that works to relieve pain, reduce stiffness, and help prevent future injury. It targets the lower lumbar muscles and can help relax the hip, glutes, and thighs.
Follow these steps to perform the knee-to-chest stretch:
- Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Slowly lift one leg off the ground and pull it toward your chest; keep your spine straight and hip firm on the floor.
- Hold this position for up to 30 seconds, then return your foot to its starting position.
- Switch to the other leg and repeat steps 2 and 3.
Lower Back Rotational Stretch
The lower back rotational stretch can help relieve tightness in the buttocks, hamstrings, and gluteal muscles. It’s also good for improving posture and increasing flexibility in the spine.
- Lie flat on your back, bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor
- Ensure your shoulders are flat on the floor and gently move your bent knees (while your thighs are held together) to one side of your body.
- Hold this position for up to 10 seconds, then move your knees back to the position you started.
- Next, repeat the same movement in the opposite direction.
- Repeat the entire exercise a few times.
These are simple moves that engage your core muscles and can help increase mobility in your pelvic area, relieving your low back pain and improving your posture over time.
Here’s how to complete a pelvic tilt stretch:
- Lie with your back, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor.
- Tighten your abdominal muscles as if you were about to do a sit-up. Keep your low back on the floor.
- Tilt your pelvis upward by engaging your core muscles.
- Do this repeatedly up to 15 times.
Plank Exercise For Lower Back Pain
The plank is one of the most effective exercises you can do. It strengthens your core, shoulders, and glutes. Various studies prove it improves the health of your muscles responsible for spinal stabilization. This exercise also helps improve posture and reduce stress on the spine.
To perform a plank:
- Lie on your stomach with your feet together.
- Lift up into a push-up position so that only your elbows directly below your shoulders, forearms, and toes touch the ground. Your body forms a straight line from head to toe when executed correctly.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds or more if possible.
Pilates is a form of exercise that focuses on the core muscles, which are the muscles in your lower back, abdomen, and pelvis. Pilates can be done with various equipment, such as a mat or resistance bands. Pilates moves help to strengthen and stretch these muscles to improve posture and reduce back pain. How to do it: You will need the guidance of an experienced instructor
Reclining Hand-to-Big Toe Stretch
The reclining hand-to-big-toe stretch is an easy, fun way to stretch your lower back and hips. This exercise will help work your tight hip flexors, adductors, and hamstrings, which can be contributory factors in lower back pains.
- Reclining hand-to-big toe stretch can be done as follows:
- Lie on your back with your legs straight out in front of you.
- Lift one leg straight up and bring it up toward your face. Keep your head, shoulders, the other leg, and opposite hip flat on the floor.
- Grasp the big toe with the hand on the same side as the lifted leg. You should feel a nice stretch in your hamstring, calf, and lower back area.
- Hold for 30 seconds and repeat at least three times on each side.
Seated Spinal Twist
This move is meant to stretch and relax tight muscles in your back, hips, and glutes — which may relieve some of your pain. You’ll also feel your shoulders and abdominals stretching. This stretch also stimulates your internal organs and gives you a well-rounded stretching experience.
Seated spinal twist can be done as follows:
- Get down on the floor and sit with your legs extended in front of you.
- Bend your left knee and cross your left foot onto the outside of your right thigh.
- Next, put your right arm on the outside of your left thigh and rest your left hand behind you to provide support.
- Twist your body to the left – ensure the movement originates from the base of your spine(lower back).
- Hold the position for 30-60 seconds(or more).
- Do the same thing on the other side.
The supine twist effectively stretches the lower back and glute muscles.
Supine twist can be done as follows:
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and arms extended outward on both sides. Meanwhile, ensure both feet and shoulders should remain flat on the floor.
- Slowly move both knees (held together) to one side and hold for 20-30 seconds before returning to your starting point.
- Next, repeat the same range of movement on your opposite side.
Eliminate Lower Back Pain With Stretches And Exercises: Tips To Get The Best Results From Your Workouts
When you’re stretching, there are a few things to keep in mind, so you get the most out of your workout:
Start slowly and gently. Don’t try to push yourself too far or too fast. Don’t jerk or bounce; don’t rush through each exercise/stretch either – instead, strive to enjoy the process.
Make sure your posture is correct. When stretching, maintain the proper form as you go through the exercise. This will help prevent injuries and also let you get the best results.
Remember to breathe! Breathing helps relax tense muscles and keeps them from getting too tight. When you’re stretching, take slow, deep breaths through your nose.
Hold each stretch for 30 seconds or more. A good rule of thumb is that if it feels good, hold longer; if it hurts, stop immediately! Remember that the longer you hold, the more low back pain relieving benefits you get.
Stretch regularly. Stretching should become part of your daily routine, so make sure you do it daily. It doesn’t have to be lengthy — just 10 minutes of simple stretches can help relieve some of your back pain.
Get comfortable. You should be relaxed when exercising or stretching, so make sure your environment is comfortable and free from distractions and hazards. Use appropriate clothing and equipment.
Work with a professional. If you have lower back pain, it’s essential to work with a professional who can help you develop a customized plan for your specific needs.
One more thing:
Sometimes exercise and stretches won’t work – the cause of your lower back pain may be beyond what these workouts can alleviate. Most importantly, you don’t want your condition to get worse and thus require costly expenses and invasive interventions like surgery.
So, what do you do?
It is simple:
Performance Place Can Help You Get Rid Of Your Lower Back Pain
You’ve tried common treatments and physician visits, but nothing is working. You may even have had surgery, but you’re left with the same lower back pain in the end. We want to help!
Here’s the thing:
No matter the cause of your back pain, there’s a good chance you don’t want it anymore. The real trick is understanding what works best for you in terms of what to do, when, and how to do it. And that’s where the Performance Place shines through:
Our programs are based on research and have proven to work for the thousands of people we’ve helped. That’s not all:
At the heart of our solutions, we combine a customized program fashioned around your personal needs with evidenced-based techniques to provide simple, non-invasive, affordable solutions for lower back pain.
In the end, back pain sufferers are better for it. Those who have worked with us tell us that after just a few days of doing the exercises we design for them, they start feeling better. And as time passes, their body’s strength builds, and the pain is gone forever before they know it.
Now back to you…
You don’t have to live with lower back pain anymore. We can help you eliminate it for good without drugs or surgery. However, there’s a catch: Our hands-on and detailed routines mean we can only work with a few clients simultaneously, so hurry and book a spot. Head over here to get rid of your low back pain, irrespective of your location (yes, we offer virtual programs and guides).
A good combination of stretching and strengthening will keep your lower back strong while helping to keep your pain in check. So, keep this list of stretches and exercises handy to help relieve your low back pain. Having said that, what is most important is that it’s crucial to treat the root cause of your lower back pain so that you don’t have to rely on these stretches forever – Performance Place can help.
How do athletes fix lower back pain? ›
- An exercise program to strengthen your back and core muscles.
- A weight loss program.
- Therapy to improve your posture and how you move.
- Over-the-counter drugs, like a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) or acetaminophen, to help relieve lower back pain symptoms.
- Cat-cow. The cat-cow stretch is a great exercise for beginners. ...
- Single knee-to-chest. This move stretches your hip flexors along the front of your thigh and the muscles along your spine. ...
- Lumbar rotation. ...
- Piriformis stretch. ...
- Hamstring stretch. ...
- Cobra pose.
Lying on your back on the ground, bring both knees up towards your chest and wrap your arms around them, hugging them tightly. You can do this lower back stretch either with both legs, or one at a time.
Walking, swimming, and biking may all help reduce back pain. Start with short sessions and build up over time. If your back is hurting, try swimming, where the water supports your body. Avoid any strokes that twist your body.What is the fastest way to recover from lower back pain? ›
- Stop normal physical activity for only the first few days. ...
- Apply heat or ice to the painful area. ...
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) or acetaminophen (Tylenol).
- Sleep in a curled-up, fetal position with a pillow between your legs.
Most low back pain is acute. It tends to resolve on its own within a few days with self-care and there is no residual loss of function. In some cases a few months are required for the symptoms to disappear.What are the 3 simple exercises for back pain? ›
- Knee to Chest. Start by lying on your back with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent. ...
- Bird Dog. From the all fours position, lift and extend your right arm and left leg. ...
- Glute Bridges. Lye on your back with knees bent and only heals touching the floor.
- Avoid: Crunches.
- Try this instead: Modified sit-ups. ...
- Avoid: High-impact activities.
- Try this instead: Water aerobics or yoga. ...
- Avoid: Running.
- Try this instead: Walking. ...
- Avoid: Biking off road.
- Try this instead: Use a recumbent bike.
When your lower back is aching, there is a tendency to think that stretching it out by touching your toes (or at least attempting to) is good. Not so. Standing toe touches put lots of stress on your discs and the ligaments in your spine.How do you deep stretch your back? ›
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
- Place your hands on the back of your thighs or below your knees and pull your legs toward your chest.
- Pull until you feel a gentle stretch.
- Hold for 15 seconds.
- Return to the starting position.
- Repeat 9 more times.
What is the new treatment for back pain 2022? ›
THURSDAY, June 9, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Like fixing a flat on the roadside, a new injectable hydrogel is showing promise as a remedy for worn-down spinal discs -- pumping them back up and relieving chronic back pain.Is it better to sit or lay down with lower back pain? ›
If you're experiencing back pain when sitting, your impulse may be to lie down and then try to slowly progress back to sitting, says Dr. Atlas. But this is the wrong approach. You should lie down to relieve the pain, but the goal should be not to return to sitting, but rather to regain your ability to stand and move.How should I sit with lower back pain? ›
- Sit as little as possible, and only for short periods of time (10 to 15 minutes).
- Sit with a back support (such as a rolled-up towel) at the curve of your back.
- Keep your hips and knees at a right angle. (Use a foot rest or stool if necessary.)
Heat therapy is an effective remedy for back pain because it boosts circulation, which then allows nutrients and oxygen to travel to joints and muscles. This circulation helps repair damaged muscles, relieves inflammation, and improves back stiffness. Any type of heat therapy can help relieve back pain.What can I drink for back pain? ›
Turmeric milk might be a good home remedy for back pain. Add one teaspoon of turmeric powder to half a cup of milk (hot/cold) and mix it well. Add some honey for sweetness if needed. Drink this turmeric milk at night for possible relief from back pain.How long is too long for lower back pain? ›
Acute (short-term) back pain lasts a few days to a few weeks. It usually resolves on its own within a few days with self-care and there is no long-term loss of function. Chronic back pain is pain that continues for 12 weeks or longer, even after an initial injury or underlying cause of back pain has been treated.What is the king of all back exercises? ›
The deadlift remains the king of all back exercises, as the movement incorporates lat and core stabilization along with engaging your entire posterior chain. Here, going heavy is encouraged, and as your pulls become stronger, you'll see how much more developed your back becomes.How do boxers fix lower back pain? ›
Back pain from boxing
Missed punches, or throwing too hard can also lead to injury. Core strength training should be a key part of your exercise regime if you want to avoid back pain from boxing. Planks and side planks can help strengthen abdominal and back muscles.
Having an exercise routine is usually good for back pain, as long as you're doing it correctly. Exercising with back pain is encouraged since it helps boost flexibility and strength, supports the back and promotes healing.