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15 Exercises And Stretches For Instant Relief From Lower Back Pain

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ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition
15 Exercises And Stretches For Instant Relief From Lower Back Pain May 24, 2018

Lower back pain affects about 31 million Americans at any given time (1). According to WHO and Global Burden of Diseases, lower back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide (2), (3). It can affect anyone and is caused due to bad posture, obesity, age, and depression. The worst part is, it limits activity and can lead to economic and social burden. And the best way you can reduce this excruciating pain is by exercising and stretching. Read on to know which exercises are best for you depending on the level of severity of your back pain. Swipe up!

Exercises And Stretches For Lower Back Pain

Level 1 – Acute Back Pain

A sudden injury or sitting or standing for prolonged periods may lead to tearing of the ligaments and muscles supporting the lower back. Spinal stenosis, herniated disk, sciatica, or fracture can also cause acute back pain (4). In such cases, apart from seeking medical help, you can also do the following exercises/stretches.

1. Cat/Cow Pose

1. CatCow Pose Pinit

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How To Do The Cat/Cow Pose

  1. Begin by kneeling down on a mat.
  2. Assume the Table Pose by placing your palms flat on the floor. Keep your back straight, shoulders relaxed, look at the mat, and keep your toes pointed out. Also, make sure that your elbows are right below your shoulders, and your knees are right below your hips.
  3. Inhale and push your hips up, bend your spine down, and look up at the ceiling. This is the Cow Pose.
  4. Exhale and curve your belly in and move your spine up toward the ceiling. Lower your hips and neck. This is the Cat Pose.

Sets And Reps

3 sets of 8 reps

Tip: Be gentle and slow when you do this stretch.

2. Child’s Pose

2. Child’s Pose Pinit

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How To Do The Child’s Pose

  1. Kneel down on a mat, and spread your knees wide. Your toes must be pointing out. Extend your arms in the front and bend down. Your forehead should rest on the mat. Keep breathing.
  2. Count till 10 and then get back up.

Sets And Reps

3 sets of 2 reps

3. Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

How To Do The Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

  1. Stand straight and take a step forward with your right leg. Do a lunge, but instead of getting back up, place your left shin on the floor. Your left toes must be pointing out. Keep your shoulders rolled back, spine straight, and hands on your waist.
  2. Squeeze your glutes and abs. Move your upper body forward. Hold this pose for 10 seconds.
  3. Switch your legs and repeat.

Sets And Reps

3 sets of 4 reps

4. Prone Torso Twist

How To Do The Prone Torso Twist

  1. Start by lying down on a mat. Keep your legs straight, arms out in a T-shape, and palms flat on the floor.
  2. Inhale, lift both your legs off the floor, and flex your knees.
  3. Exhale and twist your lower body to your left. Let your knees fall to the left. Keep your upper body stationary and look to the right. Hold this pose for 10 seconds.
  4. Inhale and bring your knees back up. Exhale and twist your body down to your left. Look in the opposite direction.

Sets And Reps

3 sets of 3 reps

5. Seated Torso Twist

How To Do The Seated Torso Twist 

  1. Sit on a mat with your right leg straight and left leg flexed and bent over the right leg. Keep your spine straight.
  2. Twist to the left, place your left palm behind you on the floor, and your right elbow on your left knee. Look back toward your left hand. Hold this stretch for 20 seconds and then release.
  3. Keep your left leg straight, bend your right leg, and place it over your left leg. Twist to the left, place your right palm on the floor behind you, and your left elbow on your right knee. Look back at your right hand. Hold this stretch for 20 seconds and then release.

Sets And Reps

3 sets of 2 reps

6. Shell Stretch

How To Do The Shell Stretch

  1. Assume the Table Pose and sit on your heels.
  2. Extend your arms, bend down, place your palms flat on the floor, and your forehead on the floor.
  3. Inhale and exhale, feel the stretch in your lower back, and relax.

Sets And Reps

2 sets of 2 reps

These are stretches for Level 1 or acute lower back pain. Now, let’s move on to exercises for Level 2. Scroll down.

Level 2 – Less Severe Lower Back Pain

These are a few exercises and stretches that you can do whenever you feel a little tightness in your lower back and flexors.

1. Wall Sits

1. Wall Sits Pinit

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How To Do Wall Sits

  1. Place your back on a wall. Keep your shoulders rolled back, legs shoulder-width apart, and your feet out.
  2. Slide down slowly and come to a squat position. Hold this pose for 20 seconds.
  3. Slide back up to the standing position.

Sets And Reps

3 sets of 2 reps

2. Lower Back Flexion Stretch

How To Do The Lower Back Flexion Stretch

  1. Lie down on a mat, flex your knees, and place your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Lift your right leg, and grab the back of your right thigh with both hands. Pull your thigh so that your knee is very close to your chest. Hold this pose for 30 seconds.
  3. Do this with the other leg as well.
  4. Lift both your legs, grab the back of each thigh with each hand and pull the legs so that your knees are close to your chest. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.

Sets And Reps

3 sets of 3 reps

3. Back Extension

How To Do The Back Extension

  1. Lie on a mat, facing the floor. Flex your elbows and place your palms flat on the floor just beside your chest. Your elbows should point toward your feet.
  2. Inhale, press your tailbone down, and lift your shoulders and chest off the floor. Make sure your bottom ribs are on the mat. Look at the floor when you stretch.
  3. Exhale and lower your chest and shoulders on the floor.

Sets And Reps

3 sets of 3 reps

4. Lying Pelvic Tilt

How To Do The Lying Pelvic Tilt

  1. Lie down on the floor. Keep your legs shoulder-width apart, hands by your side, knees flexed, and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Engage your deep core muscles and bring your belly button inward toward your spine. Your spine or lower back area will now be able to touch the floor.
  3. Hold this pose for 3 seconds and then relax.

Sets And Reps

3 sets of 5 reps

 These exercises are great to get instant relief. Now, let us learn which exercises or stretches are best for Level 3 back pain.

Level 3 – To Build Spine Strength And Mobility

It is always good to give your spine a good stretch to release all the tension from the muscles and ligaments holding it.

1. Foam Rolling For The Lower Back

How To Do Foam Rolling For The Lower Back

  1. Sit on a mat. Take a foam roller and place it right behind you. Lift your buttocks by supporting your body on your feet. Place your lower back region on the foam roller, and both palms on the floor behind you. Cross your right leg on your left to stabilize your body.
  2. Move back and forth rolling the foam roller on the floor. Do this for about 20 seconds.

Sets And Reps

2 sets of 2 reps

2. Downward Dog Pose

2. Downward Dog Pose Pinit

Shutterstock

How To Do The Downward Dog Pose

  1. Get into a plank position.
  2. Lift your hips toward the ceiling, and move your upper back toward your legs. Keep your palms and feet flat on the floor (if possible). Try to touch the floor with your forehead. Hold this pose for 5 seconds.
  3. Flex your toes and get back to the plank position.

Sets And Reps

3 sets of 2 reps

3. Bird Dog Pose

How To Do The Bird Dog Pose

  1. Assume the Table Pose.
  2. Take one leg out behind you and point your toes.
  3. Lift the opposite hand off the floor and extend it in front of you.
  4. Hold this pose for 5 seconds and then release.
  5. Do the same with the other leg and hand.

Sets And Reps

3 sets of 3 reps

4. Hip Thrust

How To Do The Hip Thrust

  1. Rest your upper back against a bench. Keep your knees flexed, and feet flat on the floor. Rest your arms (fully extended) on the bench.
  2. Lift your hips and come to a position where your thighs are in line with your spine. Look up at the ceiling.
  3. Slowly go back to the starting position by lowering your hips.

Sets And Reps

3 sets of 5 reps

5. Piriformis Muscle Stretch

How To Do The Piriformis Muscle Stretch

  1. Lie down on a mat. Flex your knees, and keep your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Place your right leg on your left. Your right ankle should rest against your left knee.
  3. Place your right hand on your right knee, and your left hand on the right ankle.
  4. Slowly pull your right knee toward your left shoulder. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.
  5. Release the stretch and do the same with the other leg.

Sets And Reps

3 sets of 3 reps

These are the stretches and exercises that will help relieve and prevent lower back pain. Here is a list of precautions you must take before you start with the stretches.

Precautions

  • Consult your doctor before doing any exercise or stretches.
  • If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor to know which stretches are best for you.
  • If you have acute lower back problems, you must do the stretches with caution.

To conclude, doing these exercises and stretches regularly will definitely help alleviate lower back pain. You must also undergo regular check-ups and physiotherapy and take your medicines to heal and restore your lower back muscles. If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the box below. Take care!

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Charushila is an ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness Nutrition and a full-time contributor to Diet & Weight Loss at Stylecraze. She believes that food has healing powers and eating good food is the best way to lose weight. A binge eater-turned-fitness enthusiast, Charushila likes to share her knowledge and experience with the world. When she is not working, she loves to cook healthy food, watch movies, travel, workout, and read Bengali literature.