Let’s be honest—no one wants to experience back pain. It’s the worst and impacts both your quality of life and your mental health. Yet, the American Chiropractic Association estimates up to 80% of the population will experience back pain at some time in their lives.
Lower back pain is quite common and is often caused by straining the muscles in the lower back or sitting for long periods of time. We’ve gathered a list of 5 of our favorite stretches that can gently release tension in the lower back and bring you some relief.
It should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway—talk to your primary care physician before you begin any new physical workout or stretching routine.
As is the case with any form of stretching, you should take it easy when starting out. Be careful, be safe, and go slower than you think you need to go. Listen to your body and if he or she says stop…you must stop.
Aim to use these exercises once or twice each day, being mindful of your breath as you do.
It’s hard to believe that an exercise as simple as child’s pose can bring about such a delicious stretch to the lower back.
Kneel on a gentle surface with your toes together and your knees hip width apart. Sit back on your heels and begin to breathe deeply. On an exhale, lower your upper torso between your knees, getting as close to the ground as possible. Stretch your arms out in front of you with your palms facing the ground. Breathe deeply and hold this pose for 1 minute.
If you regularly practice yoga, you know the gentle stretch the spine gets during cat-cow.
Get into tabletop position, on your hands and knees with your hands lined up under your shoulders and your knees aligned beneath your hips. Keep your spine parallel to the floor. Round your back, stretching the mid back to your shoulder blades, as a cat might do. Hold for 5 breath cycles, then release and let your belly drop toward the floor as you arch your back. Hold this pose for 5 breaths. Repeat the movements for a total of 30 seconds.
Tail Wag Stretch
Stay in tabletop position for this stretch. Keeping your shoulders still, shift your right hip toward your right shoulder. You should feel a nice stretch down the left side of your spine. Moving with your breath, return to your starting position then repeat the same movement with your left hip. Repeat the back-and-forth motion for 30 seconds.
Knee to Chest Stretch
Lay down on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Using both hands, pull your right knee up to your chest and hold the stretch for 5 seconds. Lower your right leg and repeat the stretch with your left leg to complete one set. Aim to complete 1 – 3 sets.
Bust Out the Foam Roller
If you don’t already own one, now is the perfect time to add this valuable piece to your gym equipment collection.
Place the roller on the floor then sit in front of it and lay back, keeping your feet firmly planted on the ground. Raise your hips and gently roll forward and backward, pausing on and breathing through any tender spots (stop right away if you feel any pain). Roll back and forth five times before switching sides, which completes one set. Aim to complete 1 – 3 sets.
And there you have it—five impossibly easy lower back stretches that can serve as your secret weapon for keeping back muscles happy. Give them a try and let us know if you find your back pain melts away.
Here’s to keeping our beautiful backs happy!