Does your lower back hurt? There are a number of stretches that can help lower back problems.
Before we share our list of the best stretches for lower back problems, we want to remind you that no article can compare to the advice of your doctor. While gentle stretches or gentle exercises can often help relieve back pain, the wrong stretches might make things worse.
You will definitely want to consult your doctor before trying an inversion table or another stretching machine for your back problems. Most of the stretches we’re including in this list can be attempted safely, but as with any stretch or exercise, you should start slow and stop if it hurts.
Why try stretches for back problems?
Stretching can help your muscles. Sometimes stretching or low-impact exercise is exactly what you need to get moving, and moving will often help back pain. As we share when discussing back pain management, “over time, that can help reduce the pain you feel and help build up strength and flexibility in your back.”
Spine Health explains, “Regularly stretching the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support the spine is an important element of all back exercise programs. Stretches designed to alleviate neck and back pain are likely to be prescribed by a doctor, physical therapist, or spine specialist.”
To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of 6 back stretches for lower back problems.
A great stretch to strengthen your lower back muscles, the knee-to-chest stretch is performed by laying on your back, and then:
- Bend your knees to put your feet flat on the floor
- Grab your right knee with both hands
- While keeping your knee bent, slowly and gently pull your right leg to your chest
- Hold your knee to your chest for 30-60 seconds
- Release your leg and return to the starting position
- Repeat for left leg
- Do this 3 or 4 times per leg
This popular yoga position can be a good stretch for lower back disc problems, or for muscle pain. Healthline provides these excellent directions:
- “With your hands and knees on the ground, sink back through your hips to rest them on your heels.
- Hinge at your hips as you fold forward, walking your hands out in front of you.
- Rest your belly on your thighs.
- Extend your arms in front of or alongside your body with your palms facing up.
- Focus on breathing deeply and relaxing any areas of tension or tightness.
- Hold this pose for up to 1 minute.”
Another excellent yoga-inspired stretch for lower back problems, the Bridge Pose can be a big help.
Prevention.com provides these instructions: “Lie on your back, bend your knees and plant both feet on the yoga mat. Be sure your feet are hip-width apart with your heels close to your glutes.
Press into your feet to lift your hips. From here try to soften around your sacrum, and lengthen your sit bones toward your knees. Hold for 30 seconds.”
To perform the cat-cow stretch, you will begin in the same position as in the Child’s Pose. Then:
- Arch your back and let your head (gently) drop forward (this should look like a cat arching its back)
- Hold this position for 10 seconds or so
- Then, gently bring your head up and let your back droop toward the floor (like a cow)
- Hold this position for 10 seconds or so
- Repeat the entire stretch 10-20 times
Kneeling Lunge Stretch
This stretch helps lower back problems by stretching the hips. Spine Health has provided these directions:
“Starting on both knees, move one leg forward so the foot is flat on the ground, keeping weight evenly distributed through both hips (rather than on one side or the other).
Place both hands on the top of the thigh, and gently lean the body forward to feel a stretch in the front of the other leg. This stretch affects the hip flexor muscles, which attach to the pelvis and can impact posture if too tight.”
This is one of the best stretches for lower back pain caused by sciatica. Again Spine Health provides this excellent guide:
“Lie on the back with knees bent and both heels on the floor. Cross one leg over the other, resting the ankle on the bent knee, then gently pull the bottom knee toward the chest until a stretch is felt in the buttock.
Or, lying on the floor, cross one leg over the other and pull it forward over the body at the knee, keeping the other leg flat.”
We hope that this guide helps relieve some of your discomfort. If you are experiencing lower back pain, especially in the Phoenix area, Desert Spine and Scoliosis would like to help.