Back pain is the worst, yet we all suffer from it at some point in our lives. It can be debilitating, leaving us so focused on our pain that we are ultimately useless at accomplishing any task whatsoever. After talking with a lot of friends and family about issues they have had in the past with their back, there seems to be one trend: lower back pain. Most people who seem to suffer from back issues have issues with their lower back.
One way of fixing this problem is to stretch your lower back daily. A good daily stretch can keep the back muscles from tightening up and consequently leave you pain-free. So for this reason, I’ve compiled a list of my 12 favorite back stretches to keep your lower back loose, limber and feeling good all day long.
1. Spinal TwistWith this stretch, you are going to lay flat on the floor(preferably on a mat) with both of your arms stretched out wide. Take either leg and lift it up and over your body, keeping your shoulders flat on the ground as you do. Also, make sure your head is facing the opposite direction of the leg that is across your body. Hold the stretch for 8-10 seconds and then release and do the other leg. My recommendation is to repeat this three times for each leg.
2. Spine Stretch
With this stretch you are going to sit on the floor with your feet spread wider than yourhips. Then you are going to stretch your arms together out in front of you, and with your head down begin to stretch your arms forward toward your feet. When you reach the point where you have stretched as far as your body will allow, hold for 8-10 seconds and then release. My recommendation is to repeat the process three times.
3. Sitting Hip StretchSit down with your legs straight on either a mat, carpet or soft surface. As you keep one leg straight, bend the other leg and place it on the other side of the knee of the leg that is straight. After this, you are going to place your arm on the other side of your knee and stretch out as far as you can comfortably go. Hold for 8-10 seconds and then release. Switch legs and repeat this process three times for each leg.
4. Cat StretchFor the cat stretch, you are going to get on your hands and knees with your back flat, make sure your fingers are facing forward and your toes are facing behind you. You will then drop your head and push your shoulders up and out while you elevate your upper back. Hold this pose for 8-10 seconds, and then repeat the process three times for the full effect. You should really feel the stretch in your lower back.
5. Back Extension
For back extensions, you are going to lay face down with your legs straight out and your hands close to your chest with your fingers pointing forward. Using your arms, push your upper body forward while keeping your hips and legs firmly on the ground. After you stretch as far as your body will allow, hold for 8-10 seconds, and then release. To get the most out of the exercise, repeat the process three times before moving on.
6. Side Trunk
For this exercise, you are going to be standing straight up with your feet slightly apart from one another. Grab either your left or right elbow with the opposite arm and lift your arms over your head. Try the best you can to keep your hips from moving as you stretch to the side. Once you have reached the point where you can no longer comfortably stretch out, hold the position for 8-10 seconds and then release. Repeat the process 3 times in order to get the best possible stretch.
7. Low Back Rotation Stretch
For this stretch, you will need to be sitting in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Twist your body to where you are able to grab the chair with both hands, and then continue to turn your torso. Go as far as you can comfortably go and hold for 8-10 seconds. Alternate between the left and right side. Repeat this process three times for each side of your body.
8. Shoulder FlexionStanding straight up with your feet shoulder width apart, place each hand on your lower back. After this, begin to lean your upper body back, keeping your hands firmly on your lower back. Go as far as you can comfortably go and hold for 8-10 seconds. Repeat this process 3 times for the best result.
9. Wall SlideFor wall slides, stand straight up with your back firmly against a wall. Your hands should be facing up and your biceps should be even with the wall with your arms at a 90 degree angle. Keeping your upper back pinched against the wall, slowly begin to slide your hands up towards the ceiling and then back to a 90 degree angle. Do this 8-10 times and repeat 3 times for the best possible stretch.
10. Cobra StretchFor this stretch, you will need to lie face down on a soft surface with feet spread all the way out and your toes pointed outwards. Your hands should be on each side of you just above your hips; make sure your fingers are facing forward. After you are in position, you will slowly bring your head straight up, bringing your upper and middle back with you. Keep your lower back and legs firmly on the ground. Stretch out as far as you possibly can and hold for 8-10 seconds. Repeat this process 3 times.
11. Restful PoseOne of the more difficult stretches, the restful pose requires you to lay down with your feet and butt together. Your chest should be rested against your knees and your arms should be stretched forward with your fingers facing outward. To stretch, you will lower your shoulders and stretch your arms out as far as you comfortably can. Hold the pose for 8-10 seconds and then release. Repeat the process 3 times.
12. Knee to Chest StretchFor the knee to chest stretch, you will need to be lying down on your back on a soft surface with your legs spread all the way out. You will then pull one of your legs into your chest as far as you comfortably can and hold for 8-10 seconds. Alternate with each leg and repeat three times per leg.
Hopefully these stretches will help you prevent or eliminate any future or current back pain you may experience. Even if you can’t find the time to do these stretches everyday, just three times a week can significantly reduce your chance of developing back pain.
If you are like many of us and sit for large portions of the day, then it is very important for you to regularly stretch your lower back so you can continue to feel as youthful as ever.