As a doctor of physical therapy, low back pain is without a doubt the most common injury that I see in my clinic. For those of us who have experienced it before, we know how utterly debilitating this pain can be!
Whether it’s “come and gone for years” or you just experienced it for the first time after mowing the lawn or shoveling the driveway, it’s estimated that about 80% of us will experience some degree of back pain in our lives.
Today I wanted to share with you four of my favorite lower back stretches to help decrease your pain. I recommend these more than any others and I hope they can help you get back to doing those things that you love!
Now before I provide you with these exercises, it’s important to make one thing very clear – not all back pain is created equally. Depending on the exact source of where your back pain is coming from, physical therapists recommend different exercises for different injuries. As always, my first recommendation would be to go have your back pain assessed by a medical provider so as to come up with a very specific, tailored plan that addresses your unique individual needs.
The following is offered for informational purposes and is, in no way, meant to be a treatment plan for your injury*. If any of these hurt while you’re doing them or increase pain afterwards I strongly advise you to seek individual medical treatment.
Here they are! Click PLAY below to watch the video…
- Lumbar rotation stretch: Lay on your back with your knees bent – feet together and knees together. Drop both knees to the left until you feel a stretch in the right hip/lower back area. Hold this for 20 seconds and then repeat to the other side. 3×20 second-holds each direction.
- Piriformis stretch: Lay on your back with your knees bent. Cross your right ankle over your left knee. Pull your left knee up towards your left shoulder until a stretch is felt in the right lower back/posterior hip area. Hold this for 20 seconds and then repeat to the other side. 3×20 second-holds each direction.
- Cat/Cow pose: Get down on all fours, hands under shoulders and knees under your hips. Arch your back up towards the ceiling and tuck your chin into your chest until a stretch is felt (CAT). Next arch your back – sag your belly button down towards the floor as far as you can (COW). Hold each pose for about 10 seconds; repeat about 10 times.
- Child’s pose: While down on all fours, leave your hands where they are and sit down on your heels. This should round out your back – you should feel it stretch along the whole length of your spine.
There you have them! Four of my favorite stretches for the treatment of low back pain symptoms. I hope this helps; please let me know if you have any questions.
Try them out and we’ll see what kind of improvements we can make!
Make it happen,
*Participation in these exercises is completely voluntary on the part of the participant. By choosing to participate you waive Tone and Tighten of all incidents associated with your back pain.