Our Best Stretches for Lower Back Pain

Our Best Stretches for Lower Back Pain

Wondering how to stretch your lower back to relieve pain and discomfort? 

You are not alone!

Most people will suffer from lower back pain at some point during their lives. For some people, it can come on suddenly and get better relatively quickly, without any need for treatment. For others, lower back pain can start as a result of a strain or injury, such as bending awkwardly, a sports accident or even sitting with poor posture. 

As we age, general wear and tear can also contribute to back pain as the shock-absorbing pads between the bones of the spine become narrower.

With so many different causes of back pain, it’s not surprising that it’s one of the most common medical complaints, with up to 80% of people experiencing back pain or discomfort at some point in their lives.

But there is good news. Doing something as simple as stretching your back can reduce tensions in your spine supporting muscles and relieve pain. Properly stretching your back muscles can also increase your range of motion and overall mobility. While lower back pain may make you feel like curling up in a ball or reaching for the painkillers, learning how to stretch the lower back will bring you far more benefits. From yoga and pilates, to simple stretches, there are plenty of quick and easy techniques you can do to alleviate the symptoms of back pain.

Below you will find some of our favorite exercises for lower back pain.

A quick note before we start

We recommend that you stretch your back with care and that you talk to your doctor or personal trainer before starting any new type of exercise. You can perform the following stretches for lower back pain once or twice a day, but you should speak to your doctor or personal trainer if your back pain is getting worse, or you feel particularly sore afterwards.

Be mindful of your body’s limits and do not push your body to do too much too soon. Listen to your body and do what feels best for you. You should also take your time and pay close attention to your breathing as you go through the lower back stretches. You should be able to breathe comfortably and smoothly throughout each stretch, and you should use your breath as a guide that you are not straining yourself or overdoing it.

1. Child’s Pose

If you are wondering what exercise is good for lower back pain, this is a good one to have in your toolkit! This classic yoga pose gently stretches your spinal extensors, gluteus maximus and thigh muscles and in turn, helps to loosen up tight lower back muscles. It also promotes flexibility and blood circulation along the spin, which can help promote healing.

To perform this move, follow these simple steps:


  • Place your hands and knees on the ground, sink back through your hips and rest them on your heels.
  • Hinge at your hips as you fold forward and walk your hands out in front of you.
  • Rest your tummy on your thighs.
  • Stretch out your arms in front or alongside your body with your palms facing up.
  • Focus on breathing deeply and relax any areas of tension or tightness.
  • Hold pose for up to 1 minute.

You can perform this move several times during your stretching routine. It’s also an easy exercise to do in between other stretches. Need extra support? Place a rolled up towel on top of or underneath your thighs or widen your knees and rest your forehead on a cushion.

2. Knee to chest stretch

This exercise for lower back pain relaxes your hips, highs and glutes, while promoting overall muscle relaxation.

To perform this move, follow these simple steps:


  • Lie on your back with both knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Keep your left knee bent or stretch it straight across the floor.
  • Bring your right knee into your chest and clasp your hands behind your thigh or the top of your shinbone.
  • Extend your spine all the way down to your tailbone, and avoid lifting your hips.
  • Breathe deeply and hold this pose 30 seconds to 1 minute, releasing any tension.
  • Repeat with the other leg.

For extra padding, place a cushion under your head or wrap a towel around your leg, if it is hard for your arms to reach.

3. Piriformis stretch

This lower back stretch works your piriformis muscle, which is found deep in your buttocks. Stretching and exercising the muscle can help to relieve pain and tightness in your buttocks and lower back.

To perform this move, follow these simple steps:


  • Lie on your back with both knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Place your right ankle at the base of your left thigh,
  • Place your hands behind your left thigh and pull up towards your chest, until you feel a stretch.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Then do the same on the opposite side.

For added comfort, keep your bottom foot on the floor and rest your head on a cushion for support.

4. Seated Spinal Twist

This traditional exercise stretches your hips, glutes and back. It also increases mobility in your spine and stretches your abdominals, shoulders, and neck.

To perform this move, follow these simple steps:


  • Sit on the floor with both legs stretched out in front,
  • Bend your left knee and place your foot to the outside of your right thigh.
  • Place your right arm on the outside of your left thigh.
  • Place your left hand behind you for extra support.
  • Starting at the base of the spine, twist your body to the left.
  • Hold this position for 1 minute.
  • Repeat on the right side.

Need a little extra comfort? Keep your legs straight during this lower back stretch.

5. Pelvic Tilt

The pelvic tilt builds strength in your abdominal muscles, which helps to relieve pain and stiffness in your lower back. This back pain exercise also has a beneficial effect on your glutes and hamstrings.

To perform this move, follow these simple steps:


  • Lie on your back with both knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Contract your abdominal muscles as you flatten your back against the floor.
  • Breathe normally and hold the position for up to 10 seconds.
  • Release and take a few deep breaths to relax.
  • Do steps 1-3 sets of 3-5 repetitions.

General Tips for Stretching to Relieve Back Pain

Keeping the following in mind can help effectively stretch your back muscles without injury:


  • Wear comfortable clothing and suitable footwear that won’t mind or restrict your movements.
  • Do not force your body into difficult or painful positions, Stretching your lower back should be pain free and comfortable.
  • Move into a stretch slowly and avoid bouncing or making sudden movements (which can cause muscle strain).
  • Stretch on a spacious, flat surface that is large enough to move freely.
  • Hold your back stretches for the recommended amount of time to adequately lengthen muscles and improve your range of motion.
  • Stretch one side of your body at a time.

To Sum Up

Regularly stretching the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support the spine is an important part of keeping your back healthy and pain free. Not only can stretching reduce lower back pain, but it can increase your flexibility, which is crucial for your overall health. Improved flexibility can help you perform everyday activities with relative ease and it can help delay the reduced mobility that can come with aging.

Weak back and abdominal muscles can cause or worsen lower back pain. That is why stretching and strengthening your lower back and abdominal muscles is crucial for not only treating lower back pain, but for also helping to prevent its recurrence.

As we have shown in the exercises in this blog, a good lower back stretching and strengthening regime should target your back, abdominals, glutes and hamstrings. Supple, well-stretched muscles are less prone to injury, while less flexible muscles and connective tissues can restrict joint mobility, which increases the likelihood of developing sprains and strains.

If you are new to regular lower back stretching routines, take it slow, just like other forms of exercise, your body needs time to get used to the stretches you are performing.

For one to one advice, get in touch with us and we will be happy to help.

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