Sports / Orthopedic

Stretches and Exercises for Low Back Pain

Sep 10 2018
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The first step to resolving aches and pains in your low back

Having pain in your lower back can make everything — from getting out of bed to taking a stroll — seem difficult. Fortunately, gentle stretching can ease some of the discomfort you feel. Slow, easy movements can help lengthen and strengthen your back muscles while supporting your spine. Are you ready to find relief from soreness and stiffness? Put on some relaxing music and try these stretches to help back pain.

Child’s pose

Find lower back pain relief by performing child’s pose. This is a common position in yoga that helps loosen tight, stiff muscles. Lay a mat on the floor and get onto your hands and knees. Make sure your wrists are in line with your shoulders and your knees are in line with your hips. Keep your hands in place and slowly slide backward until your chest touches your knees. Drop your head down and hold the stretch for 30 seconds.

Cat-cow stretch

Activate more muscles with the easy movements of cat-cow stretch. Get into the same starting position that you use for child’s pose. Make sure your back is parallel with the floor. Arch your back upwards like a cat. Stretch the muscles between your shoulder blades for five seconds. Then, gently relax and drop your stomach down with your head facing up. Stretch your lower back muscles for five seconds, and then return to your starting position. Repeat these movements 10 to 15 times.

Lower back twist

Try this easy stretch when you want to stay off your knees. Lie on your back on a yoga mat. Keep your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Slide your arms up into a T position, stretching them straight out to the sides from your shoulders. Roll both of your knees to one side of your body. Hold this stretch for 20 seconds. Then, roll your knees to the opposite side of your body. Hold the stretch for another 20 seconds.

Bird dog

Use this dynamic stretch to engage your back and core muscles. Start on your hands and knees like you do in child’s pose. Extend your right leg straight out behind you, keeping your back and hips straight. While your right leg is stretched out, extend your left hand straight out in front of your shoulder. Hold this stretch for five seconds and return to your starting position. Then, perform the same movements with your left leg and right arm. Do this stretch five times on each side.

Knee-to-chest stretch

This relaxing stretch is a great alternative to child’s pose if you have trouble kneeling on the floor. Lie on your back on a yoga mat with your knees bent and your feet flat. Place your hands on your kneecaps or right behind your knees. Then, bring your knees up toward your chest. If you need to, use your hands to pull and hold your knees in place. Stay in this stretch for about 30 seconds, and slowly return to your starting position.

These helpful stretches can ease the discomfort in your lower back — but they’re just one piece of your pain-relief puzzle. If your pain is more serious, physical therapy may help. Visit mercy.com to learn more or find a caregiver near you today.


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3 Comments

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Mitzi Havlik

I been in pain my back for 4 month now. The lower of back I gave no.padding on 2345 disk but my big problem is 4-5disk many time I can't even walk just shuffle feet and hold on walls .I had to go to ER the help so far but I am seriously thinking back surgery.I try all the therapy in had it 6 times so far I just can't afford it I am made of money.
September 10th, 2018 | 6:54pm

Mercy Health

Hi Mitzi, we're sorry to hear that. If you'd like to discuss surgical or non-surgical options with a physician, please let us know and we can connect you with a specialist in your area.
September 11th, 2018 | 9:28am

Derek Dewitt

My wife has been getting back pains at night lately, so thanks for sharing this. I like your point about rolling your knees to each side of your body when doing a lower back twist. I might have her try a technique like this to see if it helps her.
November 27th, 2018 | 8:26am

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