Maybe you spent the weekend doing yardwork, or you’re stiff and uncomfortable following a long week spent hunched over your computer. Whether it’s that or any of a thousand other possibilities, you’re now suffering from lower back pain that’s making your life miserable. Back pain has almost become an adult rite of passage, but it doesn’t need to be that way — you don’t have to be one of the more than 26 million Americans who suffer.
So, what’s the solution? The answer depends on how severe and chronic your pain is, and whether you’re truly suffering from stress and overuse or whether there’s real damage or degenerative process going on with your spine. If it’s the latter, then your only effective answer is to seek diagnosis and treatment from a qualified spine specialist, but if your symptoms reflect temporary tightness and achiness, then some simple stretches may just do the trick.
Many people who suffer from lower back pain think that’s where the problem has started, but the truth is that many times an ache in the back may come from an overly tight hip flexor, which is connected to the lumbar spine. Some of the most effective lower back stretches that can quickly provide relief stretch those flexors as well as the back, and may even involve tight hamstrings. Here are some of our favorites:
- Happy Baby – To stretch the hip flexors and open up the lower back, this easy stretch delivers relief quickly. Start by lying on your back and bending your knees up towards your chest. Raise your arms up between your thighs, grabbing the outside edges of your feet or ankles. Keep your lower back pressed into the floor, rock from side to side for about 30 seconds as if giving yourself a gentle massage.
- Child Pose – If you’ve ever taken a yoga class you’ll be familiar with this one. Start on your hands and knees with a flat back, then point your big toes towards each other and spread your knees wider. Rest your backside down onto your heels while stretching your arms out as far forward as you can, until your head is resting on the ground and you can relax your arms on the ground. Hold this position for about 30 seconds, feeling the stretch in your back and glutes and opening up the hips.
- Runner’s Lunge – You don’t need to be a runner to do this stretch for the hips and quads. Start on your hands and knees with a flat back and then bring your right foot up next to or slightly ahead your right hand. Keeping the left knee down and your hands planted, press your hips forward so that you can feel the stretch in the front of your hips. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides and repeat.
- Forward Fold with Wide Legs – This stretch opens the lower and upper back, the glutes and the hamstrings, and is easy to do too. Stand up street with your feet spread wide apart and your toes pointing forward. Bend your knees and then let your head hang down between your knees, letting your hands touch the ground and shifting your weight slightly forward until you can feel the lower back and glutes release. Hold for 30 seconds, then roll back up.
If your pain persists or you believe that you have injured something in your back, you need more than a few stretches. Contact our office today to set up an appointment for a diagnosis and treatment plan.