Lower back pain can be a debilitating and painful condition.
Fortunately, staying physically active may be the most effective and cost-efficient way to soothe or prevent it.
Here are 8 simple stretches to relieve lower back pain.
Although its origin varies, changes in the lumbar, or lower back, structure due to musculoskeletal damage are considered to be the main cause (4).
Your musculoskeletal system is made up of bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues that provide form, support, stability, and movement to your body.
Other muscles that play an important role in maintaining the normal curvature of your spinal column are reported to be associated with lower back pain. These include the hip flexor and hamstring muscles (5).
Minor lower back pain normally gets better on its own within a few days or weeks. It can be considered chronic when it persists for more than three months (6).
The remainder of this article provides eight stretches for lower back pain, all of which you can do in the comfort of your own home with minimal or no equipment.
Summary Lower back pain is an incredibly common condition that can be relieved or prevented with regular exercise and stretching.
The knee-to-chest stretch can help lengthen your lower back, relieving tension and pain.
To perform the knee-to-chest stretch:
To make this stretch more difficult, simultaneously bring both of your knees to your chest for 15–20 seconds. Do this 3 times, separated by 30 seconds of rest.
Summary Perform the knee-to-chest stretch by lying on your back and pulling and then holding one or both knees to your chest.
The trunk rotation stretch can help relieve tension in your lower back. It also works your core muscles, including your abdominals, back muscles, and the muscles around your pelvis.
To perform the trunk rotation stretch:
Summary Perform the trunk rotation stretch by keeping your knees together up toward your chest, gently rolling your knees to each side, and holding the position.
The cat-cow stretch is a useful exercise to help increase flexibility and ease tension in your lower back and core muscles.
To perform the cat-cow stretch:
You can also perform this exercise in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your hands on your knees, making it perfect for sneaking in a few stretches at work.
Summary Perform the cat-cow stretch by arching your back for the cat pose, then letting your pelvis fall forward for the cow pose.
The pelvic tilt exercise is a simple yet effective way to release tight back muscles and maintain their flexibility.
To perform the pelvic tilt:
Summary Flatten your back against the floor by tightening your abdominal muscles and tilting your pelvis toward the ceiling.
The seat forward bend stretches the hamstring muscles to relieve tightness and release tension in your spine.
To perform the seat forward bend:
You can increase or decrease the tension of this stretch by grabbing the towel closer or farther from your feet.
As you become more flexible over time, you can increase how long you hold the stretch, or reduce the time between stretches.
Summary While seated on the floor with your legs extended, hook a towel around the bottom of your heels and use it to pull yourself forward and stretch your hamstring and lower back muscles.
The flexion rotation exercise helps stretch your lower back and buttocks.
To perform the flexion rotation exercise:
Summary With your leg bent and foot hooked around your other knee, slowly rotate your upper body backwards by touching your shoulder blade to the floor until you feel a mild stretch in your lower back.
Use a foam roller or firm cushion to perform the supported bridge. It helps decompress your lower back through supported elevation.
To perform the supported bridge:
You can increase the stretch in your lower back by extending one or both legs from their bent position.
Summary After positioning a foam roller or firm pillow underneath your hips, relax your entire body.
Similarly to the supported bridge exercise, the belly flop exercise uses a rolled towel to decompress your lower back through supported elevation.
To perform the belly flop:
Summary Lie front-side down on a rolled-up towel or blanket that’s positioned under your hip bones and relax your entire body.
Lower back pain is a painful condition that affects many people.
Regular physical activity and stretching are proven ways to help reduce lower back pain and prevent it from returning.
The trunk rotation, pelvic tilt, and supported bridge are just a few exercises that will help soothe lingering lower back pain.
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