Top 8 Stretches to Relieve Lower Back Pain

Whether from advanced age or overwork, the lower back can get too strained and feel painful as time passes by. This area is made up of three groups of muscles that lift up your spine and support your upper body as you stand up and carry other objects.

While your body depends so much on these muscles, overworking them can cause a tremendous amount of pain, making you unable to do any kind of work — let alone standing properly. Fortunately, there are ways to relieve the stress on the lower back. Here are the eight best stretches you should try if you are feeling the aches on the back of your body.

The Child’s Pose

The child’s pose is a classical yoga technique that relaxes the gluteus maximus (glutes) and latissimus dorsi (lats) muscles. These are large muscles in the legs and upper muscles that support the limbs. They also bring a considerable strain on your lower back muscles with every move you make.

Doing the child’s pose relieves tension in these muscle groups, letting your back muscles rest while being stretched. Here’s how you do it:

  • Bring your hands and knees to the ground.
  • While keeping your hands on the floor, make a backward motion, pulling your torso to your thighs.
  • Rest your muscles as you keep this position for about one minute. This is a relaxing pose and should feel comfortable.
  • Afterward, return to your previous position by moving your torso forward.

The Cat-cow Stretch

This pose is another yoga technique that helps the lower back. It fully stretches your spine both forward and backward, giving the lower back muscles a good pull and a great stretch. You can do the cat-cow stretch with these steps:

  • Similar to the child’s pose, bring both your hands and knees to the ground.
  • From the starting position, slowly stretch your spine and stomach area downward. Your face should look forward. Keep this pose for about 5 to 10 seconds.
  • Then move your spine and stomach area upward while moving your face downward. Keep this pose for another 5 to 10 seconds.
  • Repeat about 15 to 20 times.

The Flexion Rotation

Most lower back stretching methods focus on the muscles that pull the spine backward and neglect the muscles that turn your body. The flexion rotation can relieve most pains from the external oblique muscles which extend to the sides of the lower back. These are the steps for the flexion rotation:

  • While lying on your left side, straighten your left leg while bending your right leg. Be sure to leave your right toes behind your right knee.
  • As for your arms, touch your nape with your right arm while grabbing your right knee with your left arm. The latter is for securing your right knee when you start doing the stretch.
  • Now, as slowly and carefully as you can, turn your upper body to the right until the back of your shoulders both touch the ground.
  • Stay still for 1 to 3 seconds. Then pull your body back to the previous position. Afterward, you should do the same on your other side.

The Seated Spinal Twist

This is another stretching that helps you relax the sides of the lower back muscles. Similar to the flexion rotation, the seated spinal twist requires you to turn your body sideways, easing the tension from the external oblique muscles. This allows you to do it while seated, letting you use a different pose. You can do the seated spinal twist this way:

  • Sit on the floor with your legs straight.
  • Move your left leg over your right knee. Your left foot should lay flat on the floor next to your right thigh.
  • Meanwhile, your arms should be placed on the floor behind your back for support. From this position, move your right arm over your legs and reach over the floor to your left. You don’t need to touch the floor here. The pose should feel natural and not forced.
  • Keep this for one minute, then do the same steps for the other side.

The Supported Bridge

The supported bridge is a slightly harder but efficient way to ease the dull aches in your lower back muscles. For this, you will need something to help support your lower back. Here are the steps:

  • Start the exercise by lying down in the supine position.
  • Bend your knees and lift your lower back. You should place a soft pillow under your hips to support your lower back.
  • Keep this position for 30 to 60 seconds and repeat 3 to 5 times with 30- to 60-second resting periods in between.

The Belly Flop

The belly flop is another technique that uses soft support to help relieve your lower back. It is also among the simplest stretching exercises you may do.

  • Roll a towel or blanket up and place it on the floor perpendicular to your shoulders.
  • Then lie over your stomach, placing the rolled towel or blanket underneath your hips. Keep this pose for 1 to 2 minutes repeating up to 3 times. You may take 30- to 60-second breaks in between.

The Sphinx Stretch

The sphinx stretch is similar to the belly flop in that you will need to lie prone to the ground. However, it is also a light exercise that uses parts of your torso. This gently stimulates the lower back to help remove the pain. Here’s how you do it:

  • While lying in the prone position, place your hands flat on the floor next to your shoulders.
  • Give yourself a gentle push, carefully pulling your torso upward with your back, thigh, and buttock muscles.
  • Push your body upward until your face directly faces forward. Keep this position for 1 to 3 minutes before ending the stretch.

The Pelvic Tilt

Lastly, the pelvic tilt is another stretching technique that also doubles as a light exercise. It strengthens your abdominal muscles which help relieve back pain over time. These are the steps for the pelvic tilt:

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent. Place your arms either behind your head or flat on the floor.
  • With your lower abdominal muscles, pull your hips upward as you stretch your lower back muscles. You should breathe normally and hold this position for 10 seconds.
  • After that, relax, take a deep breath, and repeat it up to five times in a row before resting and doing another set of five.

Stretch Every Day

The key to better muscle health besides frequent exercise is by doing regular, full-body stretches. This ensures that your muscles can all work to their full potential and reduce the risk of getting a sprain or any other muscle injury. However, if you do feel aches and pains that start to affect your daily life, please see a doctor to know if there could be more to the pain than just a simple sprain.