Physiotherapists Reveal 8 Best Stretches To Ease Lower Back Pain

Physiotherapists Reveal 8 Best Stretches To Ease Lower Back Pain

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Lower back pain is a prevalent complaint among many. Though aging tends to bring this type of discomfort on, even younger individuals can suffer from it, especially if they work desk jobs and sit all day.

Unfortunately, much lower back pain is so uncomfortable that it interferes with everyday life and positive thinking. At that point, you may want to begin taking measures to help release the tension in your back muscles. The best way to do this, naturally, is with stretches.

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Stretches are gentle forms of exercise that lengthen the muscles and decompress them, allowing them to relax better and return to former flexibility. A good number of these exercises are particularly suited to the lower back pain and its surrounding area. Here’s how physiotherapists reveal the eight best stretches to ease lower back pain.

1.    Seated Forward Bend

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This exercise works out the rear thigh muscles, known as the hamstrings. It helps to release spinal tension while reducing the contraction of the hamstrings.

Studies show that too-tight hamstrings can lead to an increased risk of injuries and pain in the lower back. As such, doing this stretch can have a positive effect on any back pain you experience.

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Here’s how to do it!

  1. Begin by sitting on the ground with your legs straight in front of your body.
  2. Take a bath towel (standard size) and hook it around your heels.
  3. Bend forward slowly, hinging at the hip, until your stomach touches your thighs, pulling at the towel to help you get there.
  4.  Maintain a straight back as you do this. Stretch gently until you notice lower back and leg tension.
  5. Maintain the position for 30 seconds.
  6. Return to your starting position and allow a 30-second rest, if needed.
  7. Repeat the stretch three times.

Too easy or too difficult? Change where you grasp the towel to alter the tension. If the exercise becomes too easy for you, you can add to the amount of time spent in the stretch!

2.    Child’s Pose

This pose is commonplace in the practice of yoga. It works by slowly stretching the lower back muscles, reducing pain from muscle contraction. It also helps boost spine mobility, says Doctor of Physiotherapy, physical therapist, and Orthopedic Clinical Specialist Fei Jiang.

Here’s how to do it!

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  1. Begin on all four hands and knees. Place your knees apart at a little wider than your hips and place your hands right beneath your shoulders.
  2. Sit backward onto your legs, taking it slow, while you move your arms to reach forward.
  3. Gently bring your head downwards until your forehead touches the ground.
  4. Focus on lengthening your back, but don’t overstretch.
  5. Maintain the position for between 20 and 30 seconds.

3.    Cat-Cow Pose

Yet another yoga pose, this stretch allows for boosted flexibility. Studies have found that improving flexibility can have significant positive effects on back pain, so this pose is a great way to get things going.

How does it work? Well, the cat-cow helps ease core muscle and lower back muscle tension, working on helping you gain flexibility in these areas. It’s a dynamic pose, pulling muscles in varying directions to engage them well.

Here’s how to do it!

  1. Begin on all four hands and knees. Place your knees right beneath your hips and your hands right beneath your shoulders.
  2. Slowly arch your back upwards as your head gently lowers forward. It would be best if you were pulling your stomach inwards towards your back.
  3. Maintain this part of the stretch, the Cat pose, for between five and 10 seconds. You should feel a gentle amount of lower back stretching.
  4. Now, reverse your position; bring your head upwards as your stomach and pelvis drop downwards, letting your back curve towards the ground.
  5. Maintain this part of the stretch, the Cow pose, for between five and 10 seconds.
  6. Return to your starting position.
  7. Repeat the cat-cow stretch between 15 and 20 times.

Not able to get on all fours right now? You can do a variation of the cat-cow at your desk, place your feet onto the ground, and keep your back straight while sitting on a chair. Rest your hands on your knees and get arching!

4.    Trunk Rotation

The trunk rotation is a great stretch for boosting core muscle strength, including pelvic, back, and abdominal muscles. Jiang states that it also boosts spinal mobility, relieving lower back and trunk side muscle tension as it goes.

Here’s how to do it!

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  1. Begin by lying on your back with your knees up at a right angle, as if you are sitting in a chair at the moment.
  2. Reach your arms outwards to the sides, fully extending them, keeping your palms face-down.
  3. Roll your knees, both still bent, to the right side of your body. Make sure your knees stay together, and your palms are on the ground.
  4. Maintain the position for between 15 and 20 seconds.
  5. Return to your starting position.
  6. Do the same exercise again, this time rolling your knees to the left.
  7. Continue to repeat, alternating between right and left, for between five and 10 times on each side.

5.    Supine Figure 4

This stretch is, once again, a yoga pose, though slightly lesser-known. If you’re wondering why so many yoga poses are on this list, it’s because studies indicate that it is a positive and viable treatment for different kinds of back pain!

So, how does the Supine Figure 4 work? Simply put, it helps the lower back to feel relaxed as the hips open. Y7 instructor Hilary Wright states that the pose is good for stretching the piriformis and outer glute muscles, which can both become tense and affect contractions in the lower back.

Here’s how to do it!

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  1. Begin by lying on your back with your feet pressed to the ground and your knees bent.
  2. Gradually raise your right leg, bringing it over, so your right ankle crosses over your left thigh. Keeping your right foot well-flexed.
  3. Increase the intensity by pulling in your left knee and gripping the area at the back of your left thigh. Skip this step if it is too difficult for you.
  4. Maintain the position for between 10 and 15 seconds.
  5. Please do the same exercise again, this time raising your left knee, bringing it over so your left ankle crosses over your right thigh.
  6. Continue to repeat, alternating between sides, as many times as you like.

6.    Pelvic Tilt

Many people who experience lower back pain also find their pelvis feels stiff and difficult to move. To counter that, the pelvic tilt helps relax those muscles while still working on the compression of back muscles and improving flexibility.

Here’s how to do it!

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