5 Stretches To Ease Your Lower-Back Pain
When you’re dealing with the aches and oftentimes debilitating soreness of lower-back pain, there’s a good chance all you want to do is stay in bed. Yet research published in JAMA found that any kind of exercise—whether it’s core strengthening, aerobic exercise, or stretching—is the best way to ease pain and reduce the risk of another back pain attack.
The nice thing about gentle stretching is that it’s feasible to do when you’re in pain—and often provides the fastest relief, says Jamie Costello, fitness director at the Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa, who recommends these 5 stretches for the next time back pain strikes.
A few tips to keep in mind before you get started: Try to hold each stretch for at least 10 seconds and preferably 30 seconds or longer. The pain-relieving benefits will increase the longer you hold these stretches, says Costello. What’s more, these stretches will feel even better if you enjoy them. Rather than rush through the moves, Costello recommends turning on soothing music and using this stretching time as a chance to relax and renew (here are 6 ways to manage your chronic back pain).
Here’s how to use a foam roller to ease back pain:
This common yoga posture gently stretches the muscles of the low back, which are likely contracted if you’re in pain (here are 7 Natural Remedies for Shoulder Blade Pain).
Begin on your hands and knees on the floor, with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Reach out directly in front of you, extending your arms and placing your palms flat on the floor. Slowly sit your hips back toward your heels, dropping your head and chest downward as your arms extend further. If this stretch is too much, place a pillow under your belly to prop yourself up a bit and lessen the stretch of the low back muscles. Stay here 20 to 30 seconds or even longer.
This dynamic movement moves the low back muscles in two directions, building on Child’s Pose to help lengthen contracted muscles and soothe soreness.
Begin on your hands and knees on the floor, with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Your spine should be parallel to the ground in this position. Then, round your back, stretching your mid-back between your shoulder blades—similar to how a cat stretches by rounding its back. Hold for 5 seconds, then relax and let your stomach fall downward as you gently arch your low back and hold here for 5 seconds. Repeat these movements for 30 seconds or longer. (here is what you can do for upper back pain)