It’s estimated that some 31 million Americans are affected from lower back pain in one form or another at some point in their lives. Lower back pain can not only significantly limit your capability to play sports and partake in physical activities, but it may also effect you when you’re sitting or lying down. Lower back pain is becoming more of a widespread problem, believed to be caused be the fact that people are living more sedentary lifestyles. Lack of exercise, excessive sitting down watching TV and working from a computer desk all day are the most likely to blame for your lower back pain.
The Total Back Stretch
Lean forward and grab onto the edge of an object – this can be your couch, desk, countertop or whatever you have nearby. As you bend forward, push your butt out until you feel the tightness in your lower back. Hold this stretch for 15 seconds and repeat 3 times.
The Spinal Stretch
Get into position and hold the stretch for 20 seconds by extending your right knee. Switch over to the left knee and repeat again for 20 seconds. You should start to feel fully stretched after 2-3 repetitions with each knee.
The Hamstring Floor Stretch
This stretch is super simple. Lay flat on your back and put your hands behind your upper thigh. Slowly slide your hands down your leg towards your foot until you start to feel tightness. Start with the right leg and hold for 20-30 seconds, then repeat with the left leg. Your hamstrings attach directly to your lower back, so loosening them up will have a direct impact on relieving lower back pain.
The Knee to Chest Stretch
Lay flat on the ground with your head pointed toward the sky. Flex your leg at the knee, place your hands on your shin and start to pull your knee toward your chest until you feel tight. Start with the right leg and hold the stretched position for 20-30 seconds, then repeat with your left leg. 2-3 repetitions – especially when you’re just starting out with stretching – are plenty for this stretch.
The Piriformis Stretch
This stretch has an odd name, but I promise it’s easy. Simply lay on your back, then take your right foot and move it over your left leg right above the knee, then pull slightly toward your chest until you feel tightness. Hold for 15 seconds, then repeat the same process with your other leg.
The Hip Flexors Stretch
Get into a crouched position with one leg behind you and your knee on the ground, and have your other leg out front bent at the knee with your foot flat on the ground. That may sound a little complicated, but that’s why I included the picture! Hold this position for around 20 seconds with each leg and repeat 2-3 times for maximum stretching and pain relief.
Last but not least, we have a stretch for your quadriceps. You may notice that many of these stretches focus on loosening up tight leg muscles, and that’s because they’re all connected to your back. So when you loosen up leg muscles through stretching, you’ll start to feel your back loosening up as well. To complete this stretch, simply lay on your side and with the arm that’s on top, grab your lower shin and start to pull your leg back behind your body. Repeat for the other side and hold for 20-30 seconds, with 2-3 repetitions on each side.