Most of us experience back pain at one point or another in our lives. Usually when we’re dealing with lower-back pain, all we want to do is stay in bed. But scientific studies have shown that any kind of exercise, whether it’s aerobic exercise, core strengthening or stretching, is the best way to relieve the pain. We are going to list five gentle stretching exercises you can do when you’re in pain to get relief.
Tips to keep in mind before you get started:
- When doing each stretch, try to hold it from 10 to 30 seconds to get the best results.
- When doing these stretches, turn on soothing music and try to use this stretching time to relax.
- Make sure you breathe! Taking nice big breaths is the best way to get the most out of stretching.
1. Child’s Pose
This posture is from yoga, it gently stretches the lower back muscles, which are probably contracted if you are in pain.
How to do it: Start with your hand and knees on the floor. Place your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Next, as you reach out in front of you, extend your arms and place your palms flat on the floor. Slowly move your hips towards your heels and lower your head and chest downward as your arms extend further. If you’re in too much pain doing this stretch, put a pillow under below your belly for additional support and reduce the stretch of your lower back muscles. Keep this position for 30 seconds or longer.
2. Cat/Cow Stretch
This stretch builds on the Child’s Pose, moving your muscles in two directions.
How to do it: Start on your hand and knees placed on the floor. Put your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Keep your spine parallel to the ground. Round your back, similar to how a cat stretches by rounding its back. This will stretch your mid-back between your shoulder blades. Keep this position for 5 seconds, relax and allow your stomach to come to the floor while you arch your lower back and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat these movements a few times.
3. Lower-Back Twist
This exercise will help to stretch your lower back and glutes.
How to do it: Start by laying down on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Extend your arms to the side to create a “T” position. Keeping your shoulders on the floor, gently roll your knees to one side. Hold for 30 seconds, return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
4. Knee-to-Chest Stretch
This exercise is useful in lengthening contracted lower back muscles.
How to do it: Start by laying on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your knees or below the kneecaps. Slowly lift both knees towards your chest, while using your hands to gently pull your knees. Hold for 30 seconds.
5. The Pelvic Tilt
Sometimes when we experience lower-back pain, it feels as if our entire pelvic area is immovable. This exercise can help restore some movement back to this area.
How to do it: Start by laying down on the floor with knees bent and feet flat. Relax your lower back and keep it in a neutral position (meaning there should be a slight natural curve there). Flatten your lower back against the floor by slightly tilting your pelvis upwards. Repeat 10 to 15 times.
When to See a Specialist
Usually we get back pain after physical activity or stress applied to our backs. Normally it’s supposed to go away after a day or two. But if you suffer from chronic back pain and these exercises don’t help, it might be a good idea to see a back pain specialists. You might have a more serious problem that’s causing your pain, in which case it’s best to get it checked out.