Lower back pain is very common and up there with one of the most irritating kinds of pain. It can feel like something that is not possible to get rid of while sitting at a desk for the majority of most days only makes it worse.
What you might find comforting to know is that it affects one-third of the United Kingdom adult population, but even more reassuring is that there are stretches for lower back pain proven to actually work.
Osteopath Anisha Joshi gives insight on how and why stretching actually helps, the causes of lower back pain, and the very best stretches for lower back pain.
Is stretching good for lower back pain?
It’s a resounding yes from both Anisha and all existing research, providing that your lower back pain is not coming from an acute injury.”I always say prevention is better than cure taking care of your body reduces the probability of suffering from debilitating pain, including lower back pain, and allows you to keep doing what you love for longer, “Anisha begins.”
One paramount thing to remember is stretching first thing in the morning to awaken your muscles and to keep moving. “She adds that this is even more important when working from home, since” it’s easy not to remember how long you have sat in one place so set an alarm and move every 45 minutes”.
Spine Health adds that stiff muscles can put a strain on the backbone which in turn, causes pain, and limits the backbone’s natural movements.” Stretching lower back and lower body muscles can reduce tension, alleviate pain, and better support the spinal column.”
Subsidizing lower back pain is a double-pronged practice stretching and strengthening the lower back muscles.
Lower back pain causes
Mechanical or soft tissue injuries.
Anisha says “The most common cause of lower back pain I have seen in the clinic is a muscle sprain. A lower back sprain or strain can occur suddenly or may develop slowly over time as a result of repetitive movements.
A strain normally occurs when a muscle is stretched too far, irritating the muscle itself, while a sprain is usually a result of overstretching and micro-tears of affected ligaments, which connect the bones together. Strains and pains can happen in a number of ways, for instance, lifting heavy objects, sleeping awkwardly, or sports injuries especially when exercising high impact sports.”
An imbalance in the piriformis muscle.
Anisha gives more explanation that an off-kilter piriformis muscle – located in the glutes, near the top of the hip joint – is another common cause of lower back pain, while it can also” influence people to symptoms of sciatica.”
Back stretches for lower back pain
1. Knee to chest stretch
• Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. This is called the supine position.
• Raise one bent knee up gently enough so you can grasp your lower leg with both hands. Interlace your fingers just under the knee.
• Bring one leg up and then the other if you’re doing the two-legged version. Being able to raise both legs up at the same time takes a lot of abdominal strength, so starting with one and then quickly following with the other is likely safer, especially for vulnerable backs.
• As with the single-legged version, if you’re taking both up at the same time, cross your fingers or clasp your wrists between the lower legs, just below the knees.
• Pull your bent knee or knees gently toward your trunk, using your hands.
• While you are pulling, try to relax your legs, pelvis, and low back as much as you can. The knees-to-chest better get to the low back muscles when used passively.
• Hold for a few seconds.
• Return your leg to the floor.
• Repeat on the other side.
(A strengthening exercise that also widens the muscles and can act as a stretch.)
• Lie down in the plank position holding your body up with your arms shoulder-width apart, forearms, and toes on the floor.
• Keep your hips in line with your shoulders but keep your shoulders relaxed and don’t grip. your hands too much.
• Engage your abdominal muscles and ensure you’re strong and stable.
• Hold for 30 seconds.
Glute stretches for lower back pain
3. Glute bridges
• Begin by lying down on a soft mat on your back with knees bent and legs hip-width apart.
• Press your heels to the floor and squeeze your glutes as you slowly raise your hips upwards but not too high as you don’t want to overarch your back.
• Gently lower your body back into the starting position and reprise.
• Do 20reps.
Yoga stretches for lower back pain
4. Downward Dog
• Commence this in a kneeling position on your mat with hands directly under shoulders, fingers spread wide.
• Tuck your toes under and engage your abdominals as you raise your body up off the mat so only your hands and feet are on the mat.
• Press through your hands to move your chest gently toward your thighs and your heels gently toward the floor.
• Relax your head and neck and breathe perfectly with ease.
• Hold for 30 seconds.
5. Child’s Pose
• Come to your hands and knees on the floor or mat.
• Stretch out your knees as wide as your mat, keeping the tops of your feet on the floor with the big toes touching. Let your belly rest between your thighs and root your forehead to the floor. Relax the shoulders, jaw, and eyes. Rest it on a block or two stacked fists if it isn’t comfortable to place the forehead on the floor. There’s an energy point at the center of the forehead in between the eyebrows that stimulate the vagus nerve and supports a”rest and digest” response. Finding a soft place for the forehead is crucial to gaining this soothing benefit.
• There are several possible arm variations. You can stretch out your arms in front of you with the palms toward the floor or bring those arms back alongside your thighs with the palms facing upwards. These are the most common variations. Also, you can also stretch the arms forward with palms facing up for a shoulder release or try bending the elbows so that the palms touch and rest the thumbs at the back of the neck. While in this position, inch the elbows forward.
• Hold for 30 seconds.
• Lie on your belly.
• Come onto your forearms, with your elbows directly under your shoulders and parallel to one another.
• Stretch your legs straight back, about hip-width apart.
• Stretch your toes wide and press the tops of your feet into your mat.
• Firm your two legs, and roll your inner thighs up, your outer thighs down. Press your tailbone toward your feet, dragging your lower back.
• Press down into your forearms to lift up your chest.