Lower Back Stretches

Today, I want to share with you some stretching exercises published online at Healthline.com. These seven (7) stretches can help reduce pain and build strength in your lower back. Just follow the steps as listed, or incorporate the modifications that are shown below each exercise.

Read the full article here: https://www.healthline.com/health/lower-back-stretches#tips 

EXERCISE 1 – Child’s Pose:

  1. With your hands and knees on the ground, sink back through your hips to rest them on your heels.
  2. Hinge at your hips as you fold forward, walking your hands out in front of you.
  3. Rest your belly on your thighs.
  4. Extend your arms in front of or alongside your body with your palms facing up.
  5. Focus on breathing deeply and relaxing any areas of tension or tightness.
  6. Hold this pose for up to 1 minute.
  7. Repeat as needed

Child’s Pose Modifications

  • For extra support, place a rolled-up towel on top of, or underneath, your thighs.
  • It may be more comfortable to widen your knees and rest your forehead on a cushion.

EXERCISE 2 – Knee-to-Chest Stretch:

  1. Lie on your back with both knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Keep your left knee bent or extend it straight out along the floor.
  3. Draw your right knee into your chest, clasping your hands behind your thigh or at the top of your shinbone.
  4. Lengthen your spine all the way down to your tailbone, and avoid lifting your hips.
  5. Breathe deeply, releasing any tension.
  6. Hold this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  7. Repeat with the other leg.

Knee-to-Chest Modifications

  • For extra padding, place a cushion under your head. If it is hard for your arms to reach your knee, wrap a towel around your leg and carefully pull your knee to your chest.
  • For a deeper stretch, tuck your chin into your chest and lift your head up toward your knee.

EXERCISE 3 – Piriformis Stretch

  1. Lie on your back with both knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Place your right ankle at the base of your left thigh.
  3. Then, place your hands behind your left thigh and pull up toward your chest until you feel a stretch.
  4. Hold this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  5. Then do the opposite side.

Piriformis Stretch Modifications

  • For extra padding, place a cushion under your head. If it is hard for your arms to reach your knee, wrap a towel around your leg and carefully pull your knee to your chest.
  • For a deeper stretch, tuck your chin into your chest and lift your head up toward your knee.

EXERCISE 4 – Seated Spinal Twist

  1. Sit on the floor with both legs extended out in front.
  2. Bend your left knee and place your foot to the outside of your right thigh.
  3. Place your right arm on the outside of your left thigh.
  4. Place your left hand behind you for support.
  5. Starting at the base of your spine, twist to the left side.
  6. Hold this pose for up to 1 minute.
  7. Repeat on the other side.

Seated Spinal Twist Modifications

  • For more comfort, keep both legs straight.
  • For an additional stretch, you can add in neck rotations during this pose by inhaling to look forward and exhaling to turn your gaze backward. Do this 5 to 10 times on each side.

EXERCISE 5 – Pelvic Tilt

  1. Lie on your back with both knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Engage your abdominal muscles as you flatten your back against the floor.
  3. Breathe normally, holding this position for up to 10 seconds.
  4. Release and take a few deep breaths to relax.
  5. Do 1 to 3 sets of 3 to 5 repetitions.

Pelvic Tilt Modifications – NONE

EXERCISE 6 – Cat-Cow

  1. Come onto all fours in a tabletop position (hands and knees on the ground).
  2. Press into your hands and feet as you inhale to look up, allowing your belly to fill with air.
  3. Exhale, tucking your chin into your chest and arching your spine toward the ceiling.
  4. Continue this pattern of movement, moving with each breath.
  5. Do this for 1 to 2 minutes.

Cat-Cow Modifications

  • For wrist concerns, place your hands slightly forward instead of directly under your shoulders. For knee concerns, place a cushion under them for padding and support.
  • For a deeper stretch, simply remain in each position for 5 to 20 seconds at a time instead of moving with each breath.

EXERCISE 7 – Sphinx Stretch

  1. Lie on your stomach with your elbows underneath your shoulders and your hands extended in front, palms facing down.
  2. Set your feet slightly apart. It’s OK for your big toes to touch.
  3. Gently engage your lower back, buttocks, and thighs as you lift your head and chest.
  4. Stay strong in your lower back and abdominals, breathing deeply.
  5. Press your pelvis into the floor.
  6. Gaze straight ahead or gently close your eyes.
  7. Hold this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Sphinx Stretch Modifications – NONE

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