Lower back pain can be quite painful and debilitating to a daily routine. If you have ever suffered from this painful squeezing, pinching, or tightness of the lower back, these three stretches act as both a relief and a preventive measure for this not-so-friendly feeling.
The cat and cow stretch is a great way to warm up your spine, loosening tension in your lower back. If you aren't familiar with this stretch, it is fairly easy to do and feels great. Here's how:
- Begin with your hands and knees on the floor. Make sure your knees are under your hips and your wrists are under your shoulders. Begin in a neutral spine position, with your back flat and your abs engaged.
- As you inhale, arch your back and lift your head and tailbone. This part of the stretch is called cow.
- With an exhale, round your spine up to the ceiling, pulling your abs toward your spine, and simultaneously tuck your tailbone and tuck your chin toward your chest. This part is known as cat.
- Continue flowing back and forth from cat to cow, breathing deeply so as not to rush each movement.
Continue reading for more lower back stretches.
The knee-to-chest stretch is a great way to relieve back pain after a long day at work or a workout mishap. Even better, this stretch can be done in your bed, so there is no excuse not to do it twice a day — when you wake up and right before you go to bed.
- Lie on your back with your legs extended.
- Gently bend your right knee into your chest. Clasp your hands in front of your shin and gently pull down to increase the stretch. Release any tension in your shoulders and neck.
- Keep your left leg relaxed in a comfortable position.
- Hold for 30 seconds and then repeat with the left knee bent.
Seated Spinal Twist
Spinal twists are another great way to loosen up your spine and add movement to the joints in your lower back. There are many types of spinal twists, but here are the steps to a seated spinal twist that can easily be adapted for your desk chair.
- Begin seated on your mat with your legs extended in front of you.
- Bend your right knee and place your right heel as close to your right sit-bone as you can. Then bend your left knee and cross your left foot over your right knee. Plant it on the floor so your left ankle is next to your right knee.
- Reach your left arm behind you and place your palm on the floor. Then bend your right elbow and cross it over the outer side of your left knee. Keep your elbow bent, or if you can, hold onto your left toes.
- Keep your left hand on the floor for stability, or bring your left arm around your lower back. Reach for your shirt, or if you can, hook your fingers on the top of your right thigh. Gaze behind you and over your left shoulder. Continue pressing your right arm into your left knee, and use each inhale to lengthen the spine and each exhale to rotate further to the left.
- Stay here for five or more breaths. Then release the twist, straighten your legs out in front of you, and do this pose with your right knee pointing up.
For even more low back relief, check out this yoga sequence.