Did you know that lower back pain is the second most common medical complaint that most people have? (Headaches are the first.) In some ways I guess it’s a good thing–if you’re being optimistic–since there are things you can do to get some lower back relief.
For those who are living more sedentary lives right now, you might find that you’re getting lower back pain, so this might be helpful for you, too.
First, I am going to list some stretches for you to do to relieve some of that lower back tension/pain. These stretches are also great to do when you wake up or before going to bed. They decompress your lower back pretty effectively.
Knees to Chest (in yoga speak: Apanasana)
Lie down with your back on the floor. Bring your knees to your chest, wrapping your arms around your knees. Raise your head off of the floor toward your knees. You can rock back and forth in this balled up position to give the muscles around your spine a slight massage.
Knee to Chest
This isn’t the same exact exercise as the one above, but it’s a little similar. Start on your back with both legs straight out and then bring one in toward your chest, lacing your hands together and pulling the knee in. Hold for a few seconds, keeping your abs tight and your spine flat to the floor. Release and repeat with the other leg.
Lower Back Rotational Stretches
Lie on your back, stretch your arms out at your sides making a T, bring your knees in toward you, and then gently rotate your lower body to one side. Hold for a few seconds, bring your knees back toward the middle, and then rotate to the opposite side.
Still lying down with your back on the floor, bend your knees and keep your feet on the floor. Gently arch your lower back and push the stomach out. Stay in this position for a few seconds, and then release. Then flatten the back and pull in your stomach (picture your belly button being pulled toward your spine). Hold this position for a few seconds, and then release. Repeat.
There are a lot of other stretches that you can do to help alleviate lower back pain, but these are just some really basic ones to start with. I’ve said this in other blogs, but yoga is also very useful for back pain. Child’s pose, cat-cow stretches, downward-facing dog, cobra pose . . . these are only a few of the many yoga positions that would help with lower back pain. So if you have chronic lower back pain, I would highly recommend doing yoga.
In terms of prevention, these are the most important things you can do to keep lower back pain away:
- Improve your posture (I actually wrote a blog about that! This is really important if you’re sitting at a desk for prolonged periods of time.)
- Don’t put strain on your back (i.e., remember to lift with your legs and not your back, but I’d avoid lifting anything too heavy altogether…)
- Stay active and maintain a healthy weight
Back pain is common, but that doesn’t mean that you have to just put up with it! Try these stretches out and always work on building up your core strength.