One of the most common complaints any doctor will receive, relates to some form of lower back pain. But before recommending surgery or physical therapy, they will often start patients on a stretching therapy. Here are 5 common stretches that can help reduce and eliminate lower back pain.
- Knee to Chest – This is possibly the most common stretch for lower back pain, and it can be done with either one or two knees at once. You simply lie on your back with your legs straight on the floor. Then, you bring one knee toward your chest and hold it for 15-30 seconds. Repeat with the other leg. If this causes too much discomfort, start with both legs at the same time, pulling them toward your chest, together.
- Child’s Pose – Go on your hands and knees, then sit back so that your buttocks is sitting on your heels. Next, either reach your hands forward to stretch the middle of your back, or to the side to stretch the opposite side. Hold for 15-30 seconds.
- Hamstring Stretch – Lying flat on your back, arch one leg so that the knee is pointing up but the foot is on the ground. Hold the other leg up, as straight as possible, with both hands. This will focus on the sciatic nerve. Another version of this stretches both legs at once. Lay down with your back on the floor and your buttocks against the wall. Raise both feet so that they are against the wall. Hold the one legged sciatic version for 15-30 seconds. Hold the 2 leg version for 3-5 minutes (or longer).
- Neck Stretch – Sit on the floor with your legs crossed. Place your right hand on the left side of your head, over the top, and gently pull your head toward your right shoulder. This will cause a stretch down the left side of your body. Hold for 15-20 seconds, then repeat with the left hand and right side of the head.
- Knee Down Twist – Lie on your back with your arms to the sides, palms down, in a T position. Bend the left knee and place the left foot on the right knee, then drop the left knee to the floor on the right side of your body. Look to your left arm and push gently with the right arm on your left knee. Hold for 15-30 seconds, then switch to the other leg.
These stretches will by no means guarantee your back pain goes away, but it’s certainly a good place to start, as it does not involve surgery or physical therapy. But if these stretches do not help, consult a doctor to be sure there is not a larger issue.