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Low back pain is common in adults. In fact, it’s estimated that 80% of the population will suffer from some type of back pain in their lives.  While that figure is staggering, athletes can pose an even higher risk for back injuries resulting in downtime from exercise and training. It is critical to research the best stretches for low back pain relief.

As frustrating as back pain is, not being able to workout may be even more devastating.  The best stretches for low back pain relief can help ease muscle tension in the spine and improve range of motion.  Here are 5 stretches that will get you back to your active lifestyle.

Cat-Cow Stretch

  • Start on all fours.
  • Knees should align under hips and wrists under shoulders.
  • For cow pose — Start with a neutral spine and inhale, expanding the stomach towards the floor, gently lift your head and gaze at the ceiling.
  • Exhale, and begin drawing your belly button towards your spine, causing your back to round.  Slowly bring your head down.
  • Repeat 5-10 times.

This easy stretch will feel amazing and targets the multifidus and paraspinal muscles.  It also aids in lumbar spine flexion and extension mobility, which is bending forward and leaning back.

These muscles are important for lower back health as they provide spine stability and range of motion (rotation, extending, and side-bending).

Lower Trunk Rotation Stretch

  • While on the floor, bend your knees with feet flat.
  • Engage your abdominals to support your spine.
  • With arms outstretched and knees together, slowly rotate knees to one side and hold.  Rotate to the other side.
  • Repeat 5-10 times.

This stretch helps to strengthen core abdominal muscles while also increasing lumbar spine mobility, rotation, and flexibility.  Since trunk rotation is used frequently in daily life, especially during sports or workouts, it’s important to perform stretches to aid in the strength, mobility, and function of these muscles.

Double Knee to Chest Stretch

  • Get on your back, feet on the floor.
  • Gently pull both knees towards your chest.
  • Hold position 20-30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3-5 times.

The stretch helps to promote lumbar spine flexibility and movement and can be done before or after workouts to prevent muscle strain and injury.  This exercise also gently activates cores muscles which can improve overall body performance and help to reduce lower back pain.

Press Up

  • Lay on the floor with your hands under your shoulders.
  • Press your shoulders up like your going into a push-up.
  • Keep your hips on the floor.
  • Hold the position for 2-3 seconds and return to the floor.
  • Repeat 5-10 times.

Press-ups provide a deep stretch to the abdominals and help with lumbar extension mobility.  Focusing on extension mobility can help ease tension and pain within the lower back, and allow you to perform exercises within a wider range of motion.

Child’s Pose Stretch

  • Start with hands and knees on the floor.
  • Spread knees out to the side of the mat, keep your big toes touching.
  • Bring your forehead to the floor.
  • Bring arms either in front of your with palms facing down or pull them behind you, palms facing up.  Either variation will work.
  • Hold the position as needed.

This pose helps to stretch your lower back muscles, including the lumbar paraspinal, which helps to support and stabilize the back, while also aiding in bending, twisting, and arching.

If you experience back pain, Peak Physiotherapy and Performance can help. We are experts in treating the cause of low back pain and getting you back to doing what you love. These stretches only scratch the surface in providing low back pain relief. Contact us for more information or to schedule a free phone consultation with Dr. Junak.

If you’ve tried the best stretches for low back pain relief and are looking for even more information, download the free ebook 5 Easy Tips to Reduce Back Pain.

About the Author

Dr. Andrew Junak is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and Board-Certified Orthopedic Specialist. Dr. Junak received his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Walsh University and completed his Orthopedic Specialist training at the Cleveland Clinic. He is the owner of Peak Physiotherapy and Performance, a physical therapy clinic in Canal Winchester and Blacklick, Ohio. He serves the local communities of Lancaster, Grove City, Blacklick, Pickerington, and Columbus. Dr. Junak is passionate about helping people solve their problems in order to get them back to doing the things they love.

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