When first attempting lower back stretches it is important to take care and realize that when something is causing pain in that area it’s WRONG. There are many motto’s out there such as “Pain is good”, “no pain no gain” or “if it hurts, it’s gotta help”. Let me stress this again. If when stretching you lower back you feel pain, you are doing something wrong or the stretch is not right for you! If you feel pain when stretching, you are probably causing further strain to the injury rather than helping the healing process. Before beginning a routine of back stretches it is important to discuss your options with a medical professional.
Below I will go into detail about exercises that have worked for me in the past. Remember that before trying any of the following lower back stretches you should discuss what course of action is best for you with your doctor.
This is one of the easiest stretches you can do for your lower back. If you visualize a cat stretching you will get the basic understanding of what this stretch should look like from a third party view.
Target - Lower back
Positioning - Position yourself so you are on your hands and knees (crawling position). This stretch can be performed on your bed or floor and if you have access to a mat to provide padding this may help with comfort for your knees.
- Slowly raise the angle of your head while letting your belly drop towards the floor creating an arch in your back. Be sure that stop the angle before it becomes uncomfortable (remember pain is bad!). At this point you should start to feel a comfortable stretch.
- After a few moments of feeling the stretch, reverse the direction so that you slowly lower your head tucking your chin into your chest. While doing this arch your back in the air to a point that is comfortable for you. At this point you should start to feel another stretch.
- Go through these motions five or ten times each, increasing the amount of motion slightly each time as your muscles loosen and warm up.
Breathing - As you progress and the motion starts to feel more familiar and comfortable you can begin to try and coordinate your breathing.
- As you are performing step one inhale at the same time.
- Exhale this breath as you are lowering your chin and arching your back in step 2
Target - Lower back stretch
Position - On your back with your knees bent and your feet flat to the floor
Once in position tighten your abdominal and buttocks muscles while pushing the small of your back towards the floor (this lower back stretch may be most comfortable on a mat). Count to five and then slowly relax. Repeat this stretch five to fifteen times.
Target - Lower back stretch
Position - On your back with your arms stretched out to your sides
- Bend your knees and draw them towards your chest
- Inhale a good breath
- While keeping your knees together, slowly exhale as you lower your knees to the floor positioning them to the right as far as you can without causing pain.
- Repeat steps 1 - 3, only this time you will lower your feet to the left side
- Repeat this five times trying to progressively increase the range you can reach on when bringing your knees back down.
I continually stress this but I will say it one more time. Do not stretch to cause yourself pain. If the stretch is painful you are likely causing harm to any injury you may already have or be susceptible to.