Simple Stretches to Help Relieve Lower Back Pain
Low back pain is one of the most common low back complaints and tight and stiff muscles definitely contribute to it. The following are basic stretches and strengthening exercises to help prevent lower back issues.
Bird dog — This stretch is great for strengthening back muscles, glutes, hamstrings, core and shoulders. Begin on all fours, with your arms positioned directly under shoulders. Then, straighten one arm and your opposite leg at the same time, until they are parallel to the floor. Hold for three to five breaths and return to the starting position. Also, make sure you abdominal muscles are tight and hips level during the exercise.
Cat/cow — Begin on your hands and knees and place your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Then, on your inhalation, drop your belly and lift your gaze up to the ceiling. Next, exhale and round your spine so your tailbone drops between your thighs and your head drops between your arms. Repeat multiple times.
Psoas lunges — The psoas muscle attaches from the lowest vertebrae in your low back to the top of your thigh. This muscle becomes extremely tight when the low back is stressed. A great way to stretch your psoas is through lunges. Begin in a half kneeling position with one knee bent in front and the other knee on the ground. Tighten the abdominals and tilt the pelvis backward, and gently push the hips forward. You should feel a stretch in the front of your hip. Hold for one minute and the switch to the other side.
Squat — Separate your legs a little more than hip-distance apart and bend your knees so your thighs are parallel to the ground. Keep your heels on the ground.
Press your palms together and hold them at chest height. Use your elbows to release your knees apart. If this is too hard on your hips you can sit on a yoga block, stool or a few books. Maintain the position for one minute.
Supine Lower Trunk Rotation — This twist helps rotate and lengthen your spine. Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet resting on the floor. Keeping your back flat, gently allow your legs to fall to one side and turn your torso to the opposite direction. Make sure to keep your back and shoulders in contact with the floor. Hold for one minute then switch to the other side.