hempstead valley therapy centre

Back Stretches for the Lower Back

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INTRODUCTION

While you perform these lower back stretches, be careful about any underlying health concerns or injuries you might have. Do not push your body’s limits, start low, and increase the count slowly. We recommend spending at least two sessions each day on these mobilities and pain-relieving exercises. If pain worsens, see a healthcare professional in person.

In terms of the level of discomfort that you should tolerate during these exercises a good guide is that you should no more than would exert a ‘lemon face expression’ (i.e. a sour-faced expression level of discomfort) rather than a ‘lion face’ expression (i.e. gritted bared teeth level).

PELVIC TILT

To strengthen the abdominal muscles, the pelvic tilt can be very effective. This is a very effective stretch for women. It improves core strength and benefits the glutes and hamstrings. This is one of the best lower back stretches that you can do at any time.

To perform the pelvic tilt, lie flat on your back with knees bent and feet flat to the ground (about shoulder distance apart). Tighten your abdominal muscles and slowly flatten your lower back to the floor. Hold the position with good abs muscle tension for a few seconds and then slowly release. Repeat 10 times.

HTC Blog - Lower Back Exercises Pelvic Tilt (1)
HTC Blog Lower Back Exercises - Piriformis Stretch

PIRIFORMIS STRETCH 

This lower back stretch targets the piriformis muscle and is so helpful in getting rid of the pain and tightness in the lower back and buttocks.

Start with lying flat on your back with bent knees and feet flat on the ground. Bring the right ankle to the base of your left thigh. Pull up towards the chest with your hands placed behind the left thigh. Hold it for 30-60 seconds as you feel the stretch and then switch legs.

Repeat each leg 2-3 times, alternating legs each time.

SEATED DOUBLE-LEG HAMSTRING STRETCH

Start in a seated position with your legs extended in front of you with a pillow under your calves. Lean forward to grasp your feet (or as low down your legs as you can get) while moving your head towards your toes. Continue to look at your toes, hold the position for 30-60 seconds. Don’t forget to breathe.

Repeat 2-3 times.

HTC Blog - Lower Back Exercises - Seated Double Hamstring Stretch
HTC Blog - Lower Back Exercises - Single Knee to Chest

SINGLE KNEE TO CHEST

This great lower back stretch targets the hips, thighs, and glutes as well as providing relief to your lower back. To perform it, lay flat on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Extend your left knee along the floor or keep it bent. Bring your right knee to your chest and hold it with your hands clasped at the thighs or shinbone. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds, then lower your bent leg.

Switch your leg and repeat each leg two to three times.

CHILD’S POSE

One of the BEST stretches for your lower back as it is a very low impact and you can control how deep into this stretch you go based on tightness. Start in a tabletop position (i.e. on all fours like a dog), with your hands and knees on the ground, and your torso angling down to the floor. Make your knees the width of your mat and fold forward, hinging at your hips with arms extended in front of you. Rest the belly on the thighs and extend the arms with palms facing up, in front or alongside your body. Hold this pose for a minute or two, breathe deeply. Repeat twice

HTC Blog - Lower Back Exercises - Child's Pose
HTC Blog - Lower Back Exercises - Seated Spinal Twist

SEATED SPINAL TWIST

In a seated position have both legs extended in front of you as straight as possible. Cross one leg over the other and place the foot of that leg on the ground flat. With the hand of the side of the straight leg, push the outer side of your bent knee and twist your torso. Hold the pose for at least 30 seconds and switch the limbs to repeat this move on the other side. Repeat 2-3 times each side, alternating sides each time.