Alleviate Lower Back Pain With These Three Simple Stretches
The suffering that comes from lower back pain can take over your entire life. Sixteen million US adults report chronic back pain, which only accounts for a small percentage of people who experience casual lower back pain.
A cursory Google search for "stretches for lower back pain" brings up hamstring exercises. Although this classic stretch sounds good in theory, rounding the back and struggling to touch your toes may cause more harm to your already aching back.
Lower back pain is a menace, so if you're looking for at-home remedies, try one (or all) of the following exercises.
Commonly referred to as the hip opener stretch, the couch stretch is ideal for those who sit at a desk all day. What's great about this stretch is it can be done anywhere in the home, even with your desk chair.
- Start with one foot on a chair, bench, or a stair behind you. The top of your foot should be facing down
- Keep the other leg in front of you in a lunge position
- Keeping your back straight, lean forward, and press your hip to the ground
- Squeeze your glutes and keep your core tight
- Keeping your torso up, maintain your hips in an open position
- Hold this stretch for 45 seconds and make sure to breathe deeply
If you feel this stretch in the front of your leg, you are doing it wrong. Don't forget to extend through your hip and not your back. You should feel this stretch through the muscles of your thigh, hips, and glutes.
Elevated Pigeon Stretch
The hips, back, and legs all work together to provide mobility. Loosening up the hips is just as important as putting them to work and is essential for performing lower-body exercises. Tightness in the hips resulting from sitting at our desks for extended periods can affect our exercise routine. Your workouts will feel harder to manage or can cause existing back pain to intensify. The elevated pigeon stretch should immediately provide relief.
- Place one leg up and across on a low table or chair, your shin should be perpendicular to your body
- Keep your other leg planted on the ground
- While keeping the chest up, bend at the hips, and lean forward until you feel a deep pull in the back of the hip
Supine 90/90 Hamstring Stretch
The 90/90 stretch allows you to engage your hamstrings and quads without putting unnecessary pressure on your lower back.
- While laying on your back, stabilize your spine and pelvis in a neutral position against the floor
- Bring one leg up at a 90-degree angle, with your knee towards your chest
- Be sure that your opposite leg is straight and driving into the ground
- Lace your fingers together and place them behind your bent knee, applying light pressure
- Slowly straighten your leg upwards, keeping a bent ankle
- Bend your leg once again and bring it back to a 90-degree angle
- Continue to release and contract your leg slowly to feel the deep pull in your hamstrings and quads