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Stretches to Release Lower Back Pain

If you have stiffness, posture problems, or muscle spasms in your lower back, your first instinct may be to get in bed and rest; the experts will tell you to get up and move instead! Certain exercises can stretch those strained lower back muscles, providing relief.

Additionally, routine exercise is the best thing to do to maintain a healthy back. The stronger the muscles, the better support for your body weight. Let’s take a closer look at what might be causing your back pain and the stretches our affiliated pain specialists recommend.

Lower Back Stretching Tips

Stretching should be done in a safe manner that prevents further injuries or that further increases existing ones. When you are experiencing pain, a doctor should always be consulted before you attempt any stretches.

It helps to:

  • Wear comfortable clothing.
  • Pick a non-slippery, flat surface to stretch on, preferably a mat.
  • Make sure you are hydrated.
  • Stretch one side of the body at a time.
  • Stop a stretch if you experience pain.
  • Hold stretches for 15-30 seconds – this improves your range of motion.
  • Repeat stretches at least 2-5 times – with repeated stretches the muscle is able to reach its maximum length.

Lower Back Stretches for Muscle or Ligament Strain

Back stretches work best for a strain that starts in the muscles and ligaments. Muscles and ligaments in your back hold the bones of your spinal column in place. If weakened, they no longer support the bones of your spinal column correctly, thus causing instability and low back pain.

Knees to Chest Stretch

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Place your hands on the back of your thighs and pull your legs toward your chest.
  3. Pull until a gentle stretch is felt.

Supine Twist Stretch

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Keeping your back flat on the floor, rotate your hips to the left, lowering your legs down to the floor. You may put a pillow between your legs and the floor to make this stretch easier.
  3. Hold, rest, repeat.

Keeping your back flat on the floor, this time, rotate your hips to the right, lowering your legs down to the floor.

Supine Abdominal Draw-In Stretch

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Push the small of your back down and into the floor by tightening your lower abdominal muscles.

Cat – Camel Stretch

  1. Kneel down on the floor in an all-fours position on your hands and knees.
  2. Curl your back up toward the ceiling like an angry cat.
  3. Hold.
  4. Return to the starting position.
  5. Pull your stomach down to the floor, hollowing out your back.

Seated Forward Curl Stretch

  1. Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground.
  2. Curl your neck, upper back, and low back forward until your chest is on your thighs and you can touch the ground with your hands.
  3. Hold.
  4. Return to starting position and repeat.

Take a closer look at these stretches.

Lower Back Stretches for Herniated Discs

Stretching may help take pressure off a compressed nerve in situations where an injury just occurred and nerve pain is new. However, if the disc herniation/nerve problem is chronic, stretching alone is not likely to solve the problem, and you should consult with your physician to discuss further treatment options.

Chest Raise

  1. Lay flat on the floor, on your stomach.
  2. Place your hands directly under your shoulders.
  3. Gently raise your chest off the floor while keeping your weight on your elbows.

Standing Backbend

  1. Start in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Next, place your hands on the backs of your hips.
  3. Keep your knees straight and slowly bend backward as far as you can without feeling pain.

Lower Back Stretches for Mild Scoliosis

Stretching can help release tension in the muscles surrounding the spine, in the area affected by scoliosis. Furthermore, it also increases blood flow and lubrication to the spine joints, which keeps the body flexible.

Stretching in the opposite direction of your spinal curve does not help. Stretching is best in the direction your spine bends in order to allow the overly elongated muscles to pull back and shorten. This helps provide balance to your posture.

Chest Stretch

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms in front of your chest.
  2. Pull your arms backward and press your shoulder blades together, stretching the chest.

Right-Angle Wall Stretch

  1. Stand in front of a wall.
  2. Place your hands on a wall at shoulder level, shoulder-width apart.
  3. Walk your feet back until they’re directly under your hips.
  4. Push your palms into the wall, lengthening your spine.
  5. Keep your lower back tucked in and your arms straight.

Back Stretch

  1. Stand with your arms extended in front of your chest.
  2. Lace your fingers and push them away from your chest until you feel a stretch in your upper back.
  3. Hold, release, rest, and repeat.

Child’s Pose

  1. Kneel, and then push your hips back toward your heels.
  2. Reach your arms forward and lay your hands flat on the floor.
  3. Breathe into the stretch.

Treating Pain with National Spine & Pain Centers

Stretching is often thought of as a gentle activity. However, it can still cause injury if not performed properly and according to the advice of your specialist.

Before beginning any new form of stretching or exercise, it is important to speak with your pain specialist first. This will help avoid injury and additional strain. Schedule your next visit with one of our affiliated specialists today!

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