Lower back stretches are a great way to maintain the flexibility in your lower back especially if you’ve had an injury before or  if you’re very active. The lower back muscles are not only responsible for movement but also protect the spinal joints from injury. This is exactly why they can tighten up if they’re being overworked as in doing a heavy physical job or traning. But also they can spasm if you’ve ended up hurting your lower back. Simple lower back stretches can help to reduce stiffness that you’re bound to feel after an injury. So here are some simple lower back stretches that you can do to ease stiffness and get more flexibility in your back.

Lower back stretches #1: cat stretch

lower back stretches

Cat stretch is actually a yoga pose but a great inclusion to have in your repertoire of lower back stretches. It is well tolerated even if your pain is more than 5/10 with activity. And it actually feels quite relieving. So the first step is to go on your hands and knees or as we call it “all 4’s” position. Make sure that your hands are right under your shoulders and knees are right under your hips so you’re nice and square. Take equal weight between your hands and knees. Now look up and dip your pelvis and jut your butt out. Hold that position for at least 5 seconds before moving in the other direction. So this time, arch your back and look down so as to form a hump of your back. And hold this position again for 5 seconds. Now, repeat at least 5 to 6 times in each direction. It’s also important to repeat it at least 2 to 3 times during the day.

Lower back stretches #2 child’s pose

child pose lower back stretches

Oh this one feels so good to do! Some of my patients say that they can stay in this position all day! This is one of the best lower back stretches if you have a strained joint in the back. You sit back on your knees from a kneeling position. Have your arms extended above your head and just sit back on your knees and feel the stretch in your lower back. It’s always good to hold a stretch for 10-20 seconds to feel the muscles relax. Needless to say, there shouldn’t be any pain, only a feeling of stretch in your lower back. And again, repetition is the key. So it’s improtant to do 2 to 3 sessions a day coupled with other strengthening exercises.

Lower back stretches #3: cobra stretch

upward dog pose scaled

I really like this particular one especially if you’re feeling more pain with bending over and sitting than standing or walking. This is a good stretch for disc bulges as well. Of course you need to be guided by your physiotherapist. It’s important that you’re not lifting your pelvis off the bed though while stretching. It’s about getting that backward movement happening on the lower back. Because most of the time we are in a forward bent position with our activities during the day. So doing these kind of lower back stretches helps in offsetting some of that forward movements which can strain the spine. It’s also called a cobra stretch and it’s in fact a yoga exercise. So you roll on your tummy and place your hands directly under your shoulders and push your uper body backwards. If you can’t completely extend your elbows, don’t worry. Go as far as you can. This stretch is especially good first thing in the morning to reduce stiffness that you may feel on getting out of the bed.