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Straighten It Out: The 10 Best Stretches for Lower Back Pain

Dr. Sikandar Iqbal

2 min read

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Lower back pain is a common 21st century dilemma promoted by exceeding daily life stressors and prolonged sitting hours. However, instead of taking ‘rest days’, or booking an appointment with a top orthopedic surgeon in Islamabad, it is best relieved through exercise, which strengthens the weakened back, stomach and leg muscles supporting the spine. Not all exercises work best with back pain, though.

Running and weight training can aggravate muscular pain. Light stretches are a better alternative as they reduce tension in spine supporting muscles, while also improving mobility and range of motion.

1-Pelvic Tilts:

This exercise helps improve range of motion and increase mobility in the entire pelvic region, which is greatly affected by lower back pain.

How To:Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Tighten your stomach until you feel your back pressing into the floor, your hips and pelvis going back, and the muscle in this area stretching. Keep one hand over your stomach and the other under your lower back.  Hold the position for 10 seconds and repeat 8-12 times. Avoid pressing down your neck, shoulders, or feet.

2-Bridges:

They help strengthen the gluteus maximus, one of the body’s strongest muscles responsible for stabilizing the hip joint and lower back during movement, and a major cause of lower back pain.

How To: Lying on your back with knees bent. While keeping only your heels on the floor, press them down, squeeze your buttocks, lift your hips off the floor until the shoulders, knees and hips align, and hold for 6 seconds. Slowly lower your hips, rest 10 seconds, then repeat 8-12 times. Keep the abdomen tightened and avoid arching your lower back throughout the lift.

3-Piriformis Stretch:

This particular exercise focuses on stretching the piriformis; another back pain contributor located in the buttocks.

How To: Cross your right ankle over the left knee while lying flat on your back. Inhale deeply after gripping your left thigh and pull your left knee towards you while exhaling. Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat twice for each side.

4-Bird Dog:

This exercise is highly effective for mobilizing a stiff lower back.

How To: Sit on your hands and knees in a crawling position, then lift and extend your left leg behind you while keeping the stomach muscles clenched. Switch legs after holding for 5 seconds and repeat 8-12 times per leg. For an added challenge, try lifting and extending the opposite arm during lifts. Keep lower back muscles from sagging and only lift as far as easily possible.

5-Knee Rolls:

This exercises simultaneously engages the hips and legs to treat lower back relief.

How To: With a flat cushion or book under your head for elevation, lie down, relax your upper body and tuck in your chin. While keeping your knees bent and joined, roll them to one side, hold, inhale deeply, and return to the start. Repeat 8-10 times one either side. Avoid lifting your shoulders during a roll and place pillow between the knees for comfort, if required.

6-Knee To Chest:

This motion helps lengthen the contracted lower back muscles as a result of regular, prolonged sitting.

How To: Lie on your back, bend your knees, rest your hands behind your knees or right below the kneecaps, and plant your feet firmly on the floor. Keeping one knee stationary, bring the other knee to your chest by gently pulling with your hands, hold for 15-30 seconds, and continue with the other leg. Repeat 2-4 times per leg.

7-Hip Stretch:

This exercise stretches the tightened hip flexor muscles that cause back pain by forcing your butt to stick out much farther while walking and standing.

How To: Kneel with one knee on the floor, straighten your back, and bring the other foot forward while keeping the knee bent. Push your hips forward and hold for 20-30 seconds. Bring back to the starting position, rest, and repeat twice on each side.

Stretching Tips:

  • Gradually extend your stretch time to adequately lengthen muscles and improve range of motion
  • Reduce discomfort through regular, even breathing
  • Do not force yourself into difficult or painful positions
  • Refrain from bouncing while stretching to avoid muscular strain
  • Always consult your doctor before starting an exercise plan

Lower back pain generally passes within 2-4 weeks with exercise. However, if you continually experience moderate-to-severe pain that lasts over 15 minutes during exercise, consult with your doctor as it may be due to an underlying condition or past injury. You can also book an appointment with a top Orthopedic Specialist in Rawalpindi, Karachi and Lahore through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your skeletal concerns.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Sikandar Iqbal - Author Dr. Sikandar Iqbal is among the Best Orthopedic Surgeons in Lahore. Dr. Sikandar Iqbal is a Orthopedic Surgeon practicing in Lahore. Dr. Sikandar Iqbal has the following degrees: MBBS, MSc. (Surgery of Trauma), MSc (Orth), FRCS (Ed.) and has 30 years of experience.

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