Lower back pain can be a constant battle that prohibits you from doing daily activities. However, there are easy ways you can ease this pain without taking an anti-inflammatory pill. Here are eight exercises and stretches that will relieve your lower back pain.
The bridge is an essential exercise that helps you build strength in your glutes, your hamstrings, and your lower back. According to the online medical resource SpineUniverse, “The bridge strengthens your low back and hip muscles, helping stabilize your spine.” Start on your back with your arms by your side. Your knees should be bent, and your feet should be flat on the floor. Then, raise your hips off the floor, contracting your glutes and hamstrings, and hold for three seconds.
Child’s pose gently stretches the lower back, reducing pain and relaxing your body. According to Stick with It! Yoga about child’s pose’s benefits, ” as your spine lengthens, the joints that help your spine bend and twist open up space between the vertebrae which helps repair the bad cartilage that causes your vertebrae to grind together instead of smoothly moving against each other.” Lie face-down on the floor with your knees tucked under your chest and your arms stretched away from your head.
The cat-cow stretch is another yoga pose that elongates and loosens the spine, reducing lower back pain and increasing flexibility. According to Ling Beisecker, experienced registered yoga teacher of DoYouYoga, “Cat/cow pose strengthens and improves flexibility of the spine through utilization of the reciprocal relationship between the primary and secondary curves.” This pose, while easy to execute, also benefits the mind and increases emotional stability. While on your hands and knees, arch your back like a cat, then push your ribcage toward the floor.
The bird-dog Pose maintains your core, engages your left and right brain lobes, and gives your lower back a good stretch. According to Teresa Bergen, ACE certified personal trainer about the muscles the pose uses, “The erector spinae, a group of back extensors, are the main muscles used in the bird dog.” These are the long muscles that help your back straighten and rotate.
To do the bird dog, come to your hands and knees. Position your shoulders over your wrists with your fingers pointing forward and your hips over your knees. Engage your abdominal muscles, then lift your right leg straight behind you. Keep the hips level. Once your core feels stable, lift your left arm forward. Keep the back of your neck in line with your spine. Hold for a few seconds before returning to your starting position.
Seated hamstring stretch
Sometimes a tight hamstring can cause lower back pain and warp your posture. Doing a seated hamstring stretch is the perfect way to ease tension and reduce the stress on your back. According to the Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute, “When the hamstrings are tight, they pull down on the pelvis, resulting in a rounded lower back…this posturing can result in increased lower back pain.” Sit with your legs straight in front of you and reach for your toes.
Knee to chest stretch
The knee to chest stretch targets your lower back, hips, and glutes, reducing pain and restoring lower back flexibility. According to Annie Asher, CPT of VeryWell Health, “As a range of motion exercise, in other words, a movement that increases your joint flexibility, the knees-to-chest stretch may help reduce stiffness associated with spinal arthritis and/or spinal stenosis.” Lie on your back and pull your knees toward your chest.
Pelvic tilts strengthen your abs and hamstrings and reduce pressure and pain on your lower back by aligning and stretching your pelvis. According to Annie Asher, “Many neck and back alignment issues actually start at, or are influenced by, the position of the pelvis, which makes the pelvic tilt exercise a key ingredient in a posture improvement program, as well.” Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent. Flatten your back against the floor by tightening your abdominal muscles and bending your pelvis up slightly. Hold for up to 10 seconds.
Lower back twist
The lower back twist is another stretching exercise that positions your pelvis and reduces lower back pain caused by tightened pelvic muscles. According to Olga Kabel, AVI-certified yoga therapist of Yoga U, “Twisting postures help realign the relationship between the shoulder girdle and the spine, and between the pelvis and the spine.”
Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat against the floor. Extend your arms out to the side in a T position. Keep your shoulders against the floor as you move through this stretch, and tighten the core to support the upper spine and shoulders. Then drop the knees to one side. Hold for 20-30 seconds before switching to the other side.