Lower back pain can hold you back from so many of the fun activities that life has to offer. Sitting all day at your work desk, hands-on jobs, repetitive movements, standing for long periods of time, and so much more can contribute to lower back pain. One of the main causes of lower back pain is limited flexibility in the backs of the legs and the muscles of the lower back. Flexibility naturally decreases as we age, but with practice, we can maintain and even increase our range of motion.

These 5 stretches can help increase mobility in the lower back and lower body and ease lower back pain. Performing each stretch for about 30 seconds, one after the other, 2-3 times daily can help bring you relief from the sharp aches and pains of lower back issues. Keep in mind that everyone has some imbalances within their bodies, so some stretches may seem much more accessible than others or may even feel different from left to right sides of the body. When stretching, you should reach to the point of tension or moderate discomfort. If you reach a point of sharp or shooting pains, release the stretch and do not stretch as far next time.

  1. Single knee to chest stretch:


    • For this pain-relieving stretch, start by lying on your back with one leg straight and the other bent at the knee.

    • Pull your bent knee in towards your torso with your hands, and hold for at least 30 seconds.

    • Before switching legs, let your spine rest in its natural position flat on the ground for a few deep breaths.

  2. Cat and cow stretch:


    This stretch helps increase flexibility and range of motion in your spine while strengthening it to prevent further aches and pains.

    • Begin on your hands and knees in a table top position.

    • As you exhale, round your spine and suck in your belly button – you should look like a scared cat.

    • As you inhale, lift your chest and tail bone, letting your belly reach down towards the ground.

    • Repeat these movements, switching positions as you breathe, for 30 seconds.

  3. Childs pose stretch:


    This yoga stretch is a relaxing pose that helps lengthen the muscles of the lower back.

    • From your hands and knees position from the previous stretch, press your hips back until your booty reaches towards your heels.

    • Reach your arms long out in front of you. As you take a few deep breaths, let your body sink as much as possible towards the ground.

    • For an additional stretch, you can walk your hands towards your right side, lengthening through your sides.

    • Hold for 30 seconds, and then walk your hands towards your left side.

  4. Hamstring stretch:


    Tight hamstrings are one of the biggest culprits of lower back pain. To stretch this muscle in the back of your leg you’ll need a prop such as a towel.

    • Start by lying on your back with one leg bent. Raise your other leg straight up in the air and wrap the towel around the bottom of your foot.

    • Use the towel for leverage as you lengthen your leg until you feel a stretch along the back of it.

    • Hold on each side for about 30 seconds.

  5. Glutes stretch:

    • To round off your stretching exercises, lay on your back with both of your knees bent.

    • Cross one leg over the other, and wrap your hands around your legs, pulling them in towards your chest. You will begin to feel a stretch along the outside of your thighs and around your glute muscles.

    • The closer you pull your legs in towards your body, the deeper the stretching sensation you will feel.

    • After about 30 seconds, switch your legs around to stretch on the other side. You may not be able to pull as far on one side or the other; inconsistencies in flexibility are completely normal!

In addition to regular stretching, regular cardio exercise is very effective for easing lower back pain. Light impact and low intensity activities such as walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bicycle can loosen your muscles and help relieve your aching back. Performing these cardio activities for 30 minutes a day on most days of the week, in addition to regular stretching, will have you sitting and standing with much more comfort in no time!

Manon McGovern

Manon McGovern, creator of The Traveling Trainer, is a fitness and weight management specialist who loves sharing her passion for a healthy lifestyle. She studied Exercise Science at The Ohio State University and started personal training and teaching group exercise classes to introduce herself into the fitness world. She enjoys personal training and teaching Yoga, Spinning, KickBoxing, and strength classes. Now working... Read More

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