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All over the world, a common health issue that numerous people experience is lower back pain. It can be due to a myriad of causes but the most prevalent ones include sitting for too long, repetitive motions, or having a sedentary lifestyle overall. As it is, most people work desk jobs and spend almost the entirety of their day in front of their desks, rarely taking breaks. Moving too little in a span of a day greatly contributes to tight lower muscles, hence the back pain.
There are other factors to consider too regarding the development of lower back pain. But one thing’s for sure, having such a chronic condition can lead to severe back injury over time and lower a person’s quality of life. Don’t worry though, even if you are experiencing back pain right now, there are still ways to reduce the risks and occurrences. In this article, we’ve rounded up some gentle floor stretches that you can do to relieve lower back pain. Check them out!
Does Stretching Help Back Pain?
When your back is already aching, the last thing that you probably want to do is to move more. You might be thinking that it’s better to just lay down, but according to a study, stretching, in addition to aerobic exercises and strength training, can help prevent and ease low back pain if done two to three times a week.
Stretching is one of the most gentle ways that you can do to relieve your pain. Aside from being a low-impact exercise, it can loosen your back muscles, cutting down the tension and pressure that you’ve accumulated in your spine. Moreover, stretching exercises often provide the fastest relief whenever back pain strikes.
What is the Simple Stretch to Relieve Back Pain?
Sometimes, lower back pain can get better on its own in a couple of days or weeks. But if it’s persistent, it can definitely hamper how a person can go about day to day. Whether you have minor lower back pain or a chronic one, being physically active and regularly stretching can help reduce your aches or even prevent them from returning.
We’ve provided you with a number of stretches that you can do to alleviate any pain that you may be experiencing. Do take note that most of these stretches require you to lie down on the floor, so it’s best to have a yoga mat with you or something similar before you do them.
What Helps Back Pain on the Floor?
When doing these stretches, keep in mind to wear comfortable clothing. Also, move into the stretch slowly and gently to avoid muscle strain. Additionally, don’t force your body into difficult or painful positions. If you feel any discomfort, it’s best to slowly stop the stretch and take care of yourself first.
It’s also important to note that our list of stretches cannot be compared to professional medical advice. These are simply suggestions on what you can do to relieve yourself of pain experienced by your body. That said, here are some low back pain stretches for you to try!
Knee to Chest Stretch
The knee to chest stretch promotes overall relaxation and can relax your hips, thighs, and glutes. To do this, lie on your back with both knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Next, extend one leg straight out along the floor or keep a knee bent, in this case, it’s the left knee. Pull your right knee to your chest with your hands clasped behind your thigh or at the top of your shinbone.You can also place your hand on your knee and pull towards your chest. As much as you can, try to keep your left foot flat on the floor. If you choose to extend your left leg out straight instead, keep it flat down as well.
Afterward, lengthen your spine all the way down to your tailbone. Avoid lifting your hips as much as you. Breathe in deeply to release tension and hold the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Slowly bring your leg down, and then repeat the motions with the other leg.
You can also modify this stretch by placing a cushion under your head or adding a towel around your leg if it’s difficult for you to reach. Additionally, if you want to deepen the stretch, you can tuck your chin into your chest and lift your head up toward your knee.
This yoga pose can gently stretch your gluteus maximus, thigh muscles, and spinal extensions. It can also relieve tension accumulated along your neck and shoulders. Moreover, it also has a relaxing effect on the body, loosening up any tight back muscles.
Place your hands and knees on your mat and sink through your hips, resting them on your heels. Fold forward by the hinge of your hips and walk your hands out in front of you. Next, rest your belly on your thighs and extend your arms in front or alongside your body with your palms facing up. Center your focus on breathing deeply and relax any muscle that is tight, like your jaw or shoulders. You can hold this pose for up to 1 minute and do it several times a day if you desire.
The cat-cow stretch is another yoga pose that helps in increasing flexibility and easing tension in the lower back and core muscles. This can also relieve your shoulders, neck, and chest. To do this stretch, start by arranging yourself in a tabletop position. This means that you should be on your hands and knees with your knees hip-width apart. Next, do the cat part of the stretch, gently arching your back, pulling your belly button up toward your spine, and letting your head drop forward. Feel a gentle stretch in your lower back as you hold the pose for 5 to 10 seconds.
For the cow part of this stretch, slowly return to starting position. Next, raise your head up and allow your pelvis to fall forward, curving your back down toward the floor. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds before returning to the starting position. Repeat this stretch for 15 times.
Seat Forward Bend
Tight hamstrings are a major contributor to chronic lower back pain and injuries. To loosen up this group of muscles, you can do a seat forward bend. First, sit on the floor or mat with your legs straight out in front of you. Using a regular bath towel, hook it around the bottoms of your feet, preferably at the heels.
Next, gently bend forward at your hips, bringing your belly down to your thighs. Try to keep your back straight as you grab the towel to help you bring your belly closer to your legs. Stretch until you feel a slight tension in the back of your legs. Remember that the tension must not be painful or uncomfortable. Hold for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds, and repeat for 3 to 4 times.
A pelvic tilt stretching exercise can help release tightness in the back muscles and aid in maintaining flexibility. Additionally, it can help in stabilizing your abdominal muscles, improving your core. To perform this, first lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, arms by your sides. Because of the natural curvature of your spine, your lower back will be positioned slightly lifted off the floor.
Slowly arch your lower back and push your stomach out to stabilize your core. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds, and then relax. Next, push your pelvis slightly up toward the ceiling; it must not leave the floor. Tighten your buttocks and abdominal muscles as you do so, allowing your lower back to press on the floor. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds, and then relax. Do about 10 to 15 repetitions of this daily.
This one allows you to be both active and relaxed, strengthening the spine, buttocks, and chest. First, lie down on your stomach with your elbows underneath your shoulders and your hands extended in front with your palms facing down. Next, set your feet slightly apart. Your big toes can rest against each other.
Lift your head and chest and gently engage your lower back, buttocks, and thighs as you do so. Take slow deep breaths as you press your pelvis into the floor. While you do, gaze straight ahead or close your eyes. Hold the position for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Supine Figure 4
This yoga pose can help open up the muscles and massage the low back. To do this, lie on your back with both knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Keep one bent knee on the floor as you lift your right leg. With your one leg up, flex your right foot, and then cross your right ankle over your opposite leg. You can stay in the pose or if you want a deeper stretch, you can gently pull your left knee toward the chest by placing your hands behind your left thigh. Hold for 10 to 15 breaths before switching to the other side.
Seated Spinal Twist
This move can increase the mobility in your spine and can stretch your core, shoulders, and neck. Additionally, it stimulates your internal organs. To do this, first sit on the floor with both legs extended out in front of you. Bend one knee, your left one as an example, and place your foot outside of your right thigh.
Place your right arm on the outside of your left thigh, and place your left hand behind you for support. From the base of your spine, twist to the left side. Hold the pose for up to 1 minute before repeating on the other side. For an extra stretch, you can add in neck rotations when holding your pose. Simply take a deep breath to look forward, and slowly exhale to turn your gaze backward.
Do note that neck rotations and neck circles are two different things. Neck circles are ones where you repeatedly roll your head around the neck. They should be avoided as they can add additional stress to the muscles.
Supine Twist Stretch
Similar to the other stretches in this list, this one requires you to lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. This is your starting position. Next, extend your arms out to the side in a “T” position. Keep your shoulders on the ground as you gently roll both knees to one side. Stay in the position for 20 to 30 seconds or until you feel a gentle stretch, then return your knees to the center and repeat on the other side.
Regular stretching can lead to a lower occurrence of lower back problems and a better spine health. If the pain you’re experiencing is too much and you feel that it can’t be resolved with stretches, do seek a physical therapist or orthopaedic surgeons who can provide medical advice and help you in a professional manner. Stay healthy and stay safe!