How To Stretch Your Lower Back
Back pain is fairly common, as 1 in 6 Australians report having back problems at some point in their life. But just because it’s common doesn’t mean you should put up with it! Whether it’s in your lower back or elsewhere in your back, pain and discomfort can affect you in many ways. Lower back pain may even make you irritable and short-tempered, as the pain has the ability to affect you both physically and mentally. Thankfully, there are methods you can try that may reduce your pain and help you get back to living your life how you’d like.
This article explores what lower back pain is, what can cause it, and outlines some stretches you may wish to try for lower back pain. For personalised advice, contact our team at Muscle Joint Bone today.
What Is Lower Back Pain?
Lower back pain is a reasonably common condition that affects people of all ages around the world. It is characterised by discomfort or pain in the lumbar region of the spine, which is located between the pelvis and the ribcage.
Lower back pain can range from mild to severe and can be caused by a variety of factors. The pain can be acute, lasting a few days or weeks, or chronic, lasting for months or even years. Lower back pain can significantly impact a person’s quality of life, affecting their ability to perform daily tasks, work, and participate in physical activities.
What Can Cause Lower Back Pain?
Lower back pain may be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Poor posture— Prolonged sitting, standing, or bending in incorrect positions may lead to lower back pain.
- Muscle or ligament strains— Lifting heavy objects or sudden awkward movements may cause strains or sprains in the muscles or ligaments of the lower back.
- Herniated or bulging discs— The discs between the vertebrae in the spine may become damaged, leading to herniation or bulging and causing lower back pain.
- Osteoarthritis— Wear and tear on the spine over time may cause the joints to deteriorate, possibly resulting in osteoarthritis and lower back pain.
- Spinal stenosis— The narrowing of the spinal canal may put pressure on the nerves in the lower back, leading to pain and discomfort.
- Osteoporosis— A condition in which bones become brittle and weak, which may lead to compression fractures in the spine, causing lower back pain.
It’s important to identify the underlying cause of lower back pain in order to determine the most appropriate treatment and prevention strategies. If your lower back pain has lasted for longer than two weeks, or if you lose sensation, have difficulty moving your legs, or have bowel or bladder dysfunction, ensure you see your doctor for thorough assessment.
Stretches For Lower Back Pain
Staying physically active in a way that suits you may be a great way to reduce lower back pain. Always ensure you do any stretches slowly and gently, without any sudden movements. Some stretches you may wish to try include:
- Child’s Pose
- Begin on your hands and knees with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
- Slowly lower your hips back towards your heels.
- Reach your arms out in front of you and let your forehead rest on the mat.
- Relax your shoulders and allow your entire body to release.
- Take slow, deep breaths and hold the pose for at least 30 seconds to one minute.
- To release the pose, gently come back up to your hands and knees.
- Cat Cow Stretch
- Start on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
- Inhale and arch your back by bringing your belly towards the floor and looking up towards the ceiling. This is the cow pose.
- Exhale and round your spine by tucking your chin to your chest, pressing your hands into the floor, and bringing your belly button towards your spine. This is the cat pose.
- Repeat the sequence by inhaling and arching your back into cow pose, and exhaling and rounding your spine into cat pose.
- Continue moving through the sequence for several breaths, focusing on the fluid movement between the two poses.
- When you are finished, come back to a neutral spine and rest in a seated position or child’s pose.
- Knee To Chest Stretch
- Lie on your back on a comfortable surface such as a yoga mat or a carpeted floor.
- Bend both knees and place your feet flat on the floor.
- Take a deep breath in and as you exhale, bring one knee up towards your chest.
- Clasp your hands around the back of your thigh, just below your knee joint.
- Gently pull your knee towards your chest, keeping your other foot firmly on the ground.
- Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds, breathing deeply throughout.
- Release the stretch and slowly lower your leg back down to the starting position.
- Repeat the stretch with your other leg.
- Bridge Pose
- Lie flat on your back on a yoga mat, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the mat. Your arms should be relaxed by your sides, with your palms facing down.
- As you exhale, slowly lift your hips off the mat, pressing down through your feet and engaging your glutes and core muscles.
- Keep lifting your hips until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Your weight should be evenly distributed across your feet and shoulders.
- Interlace your fingers under your back and press your arms into the mat for additional support.
- Hold the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute, breathing deeply and relaxing your neck and shoulders.
- Release the pose by slowly lowering your hips back down to the mat, vertebra by vertebra, until your spine is flat on the ground again.
- Pelvic Tilt
- Lie down on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
- Place your arms at your sides with your palms facing down.
- Take a deep breath in and then exhale, pressing your lower back into the floor.
- Tilt your pelvis upward towards your belly button, engaging your abdominal muscles and squeezing your glutes.
- Hold this position for 5 to 10 seconds while taking deep breaths.
- Slowly release the stretch and return to the starting position.
- Repeat the pelvic tilt stretch for 10 to 15 repetitions.
- Happy Baby
- Lie on your back on a yoga mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the mat.
- Inhale and lift your feet off the mat, bringing your knees towards your chest.
- Reach inside of your thighs and grab hold of the outsides of your feet with your hands.
- Open your knees slightly wider than your torso, and bring them up towards your armpits.
- Flex your feet and gently push them upwards, bringing your shins perpendicular to the floor.
- Relax your shoulders, and try to keep your head and neck on the mat.
- Take a few deep breaths in this pose, feeling the stretch in your hips and lower back.
- Hold the pose for 30 seconds to a minute, or as long as feels comfortable for you.
- Release the pose by releasing your feet and lowering them back down to the mat.
Is Lower Back Pain Bothering You?
If you’d like a helping hand with your lower back pain, our experienced team at Muscle Joint Bone is ready and willing to help. With locations in Epping and Doreen, we offer osteopathy, physiotherapy, chiropractic care, podiatry, and clinical Pilates in an effort to address the source of your concern and reduce your pain so you can get back to living your life. Not only do we aim to locate the source of the pain and work towards treating it, but we’re just as dedicated to preventing future injuries as well. If that sounds like what you’ve been looking for, book online with us at Muscle Joint Bone today!