Lower back pain can be a fact of your everyday life or it can strike from out of the blue. Either way, it leaves you feeling frustrated and helpless, unable to do something as simple as tying your own shoelaces or making the bed.
Whether you’ve woken up with unexpected stiffness or are all-too-accustomed to pain, there are simple stretches that can provide you with relief and greater range of motion. Though the benefit is not always immediate, taking a few minutes each day to repeat each of these stretches five times will usually help.
- Knees to Chest – Lie on your back with your legs outstretched. Slowly lift your right knee towards your chest, wrapping your arms around the bottom of your thigh and pulling it a bit higher. Hold for 20 seconds, then return the leg to its original position and repeat with your left leg.
- CrossBody Knee Twist – Lie on your back with your legs outstretched. Slowly lift your right knee towards your chest and then extend it over the left side of your body until you feel a stretch in the back of your thigh and your glutes. Hold for 20 seconds, then return the leg to its original position and repeat with your left leg, crossing it over the right side of your body.
- Cat and Cow Stretch – Start on your hands and knees with a flat back. Slowly exhale, then arch your spine and tighten your stomach muscles in the way that a frightened cat does, hold for 5-10 seconds then inhale and return to a flat back (like a cow). Repeat this move 10 times.
- Seated Back Stretch – Sit on your bottom with your back straight. Cross your left leg over your right leg, placing your left foot next to your right thigh while stretching your right leg back towards your body. Place your right arm on your left knee and gently pull to stretch, keeping your back straight. Hold for 20 seconds, then switch sides, crossing your right left over your left, right foot next to left thigh.
- Cobra Stretch – Begin by laying on your stomach with your legs extended behind you and resting your upper body on your arms, with elbows to palms extended in front of you on the ground. Slowly push up with your hands, resting your weight on your arms and keeping your hips on the ground. Hold for 10 seconds then return to a prone position. As you become more flexible, you can move to straightening your arms entirely.
- Child’s Pose – Begin on your hands and knees with your knees wider than hip distance, then let your hips settle between your feet and extend your arms in front of you. Relax into this position and hold for 20 seconds, then return to the starting position. If this position hurts your shoulders, rest your arms alongside your body with hands next to your hips instead of stretching them forward.
Do not do any stretch to the point of pain, and if any of these stretches cause you more discomfort do not continue the stretch. To meet with our spine surgeon and get answers specific to your condition, contact our office.