Lower back pain is a common problem that most people suffer from at some point in their lives. When back pain hits, your first instinct may be to stay still until the pain passes. Rest is important, but the right type of movementcan actually improve your discomfort and even prevent back pain from occurring in the future. Stretching can be particularly effective. Consider stretches for lower back pain for a reprieve from aching and, hopefully, to stop it from coming back.
How Does Stretching Help?
The muscles, ligaments, and connective tissue in your spine and back need movement to stay strong and limber. When your body isn’t moving enough or in the right ways,stiffness and pain can occur your lower back.Stretching regularly reduces this stiffness and improves flexibility of your muscles and joints. In addition to lower back pain relief, stretching helps to prevent injury and improves circulation. Other benefits of stretching you may notice include more restful sleep, better balance, and reduced stress. While helpful for your lower back, all parts of your body will benefit from stretching.
Which Stretches Work?
If pesky soreness is a problem for you, consider the following stretches for lower back pain to help relieve discomfort and get you back to feeling good. Try each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds at a time and repeat two or three times, if that feels good for you. Try these stretches at least once daily for best results:
- Cat/Cow Stretch: Start on all fours on the ground with your arms and legs about shoulder with apart. First, curve your spine upwards and draw your abs in with your head down, rounding your back. Hold here for a few moments. Next, slowly arch your hack pushing your abs to the ground and raising your head up and back. Hold here for a few moments as well. Flow through these movements at your own pace to get a great stretch of your back and abdominal muscles.
- Knees Up Lower Back Stretch:Lie on your back and draw your knees in to your chest, creating a roughly 90-degree angle with your legs. Stretch your arms out wide and roll your knees over to one side. Look towards the opposite side to get a deep lower back stretch. Hold, and switch sides to stretch on both the right and left of your body.
- Hip Stretch: Kneel with your hands on your hips. Make sure you back knee is on the ground and down and the front leg bent in a 90-degree angle in front of you. Push forward with your hips in order to stretch your hip flexor and hold.
- Flat Back Stretch: Stand an arms-length distance away form a chair or counter top and hold on for support. Bend at the waist and lean forward, looking towards the ground. Your back should be flat and your arms should be long in front of you throughout this stretch.
- Happy Baby Stretch: Lie on your back raise your feet up and in towards you. Grab one foot in each hand and rock back and forth on your back. To change the stretch, bring your knees into your chest and rock back and forth.
When to Seek Professional Help
While stretches for lower pain can have a tremendous impact on overall health, there are instances when stretching is not enough to solve the problem. Always talk to a medical professional before starting any new exercise or stretching program. With regular stretching, you should notice gradual improvement in your back pain. Seek medical attention if your pain persists or gets worse over the course of a couple of weeks. Numbness, tingling, swelling, redness or pain that extends down one or both legs could be cause for serious concern. While most back pain is a minor annoyance, these symptoms could be signs of a major problem. When in doubt, consult your doctor.