Do you have a nagging lower back pain that disrupts daily activities for you? Well, lower back pain is a common ailment that affects people living a sedentary lifestyle. Lower back pain is a common problem that stems from several problems like sleep, walking, and sitting. But fret not, because relief may be just a few stretches away. Lower back stretches are like a soothing balm to your spine that gives it comfort and relief.
For the unversed, lower back stretches are exercises designed to target and alleviate tension, stiffness, and discomfort in the lower back region. These stretches typically involve movements that gently flex, extend, or rotate the spine to increase flexibility, reduce muscle tightness, and promote relaxation in the lower back muscle, explains yoga and spiritual leader, Himalayan Siddhaa Akshar.
Benefits of lower back stretches
While lower back stretches are touted as the best way to reduce lower back pain, there are other benefits of doing these stretches as well. Here are all the benefits of lower back exercises, according to Askhar:
1. Reduces lower back pain
Lower back stretches are particularly effective in easing lower back pain, whether it’s caused by muscle tension, poor posture, or minor injuries.
2. Improves flexibility
Regular stretching helps enhance the flexibility of the lower back and surrounding muscles, which can prevent injuries and improve overall mobility.
3. Enhances posture
Stretching the lower back can promote better posture by loosening tight muscles that can pull the spine out of alignment.
4. Reduces stress
Stretching, in general, can help reduce stress and tension throughout the body, including the lower back.
5. Prevents injuries
By maintaining flexibility and range of motion, lower back stretches can reduce the risk of strains and sprains during physical activities.
6. Better Range of Motion
Stretching the lower back can improve your ability to move and perform daily activities with greater ease.
7. Improves circulation
Stretching can increase blood flow to the lower back area, which can aid in the healing process and promote better overall health.
8. Enhances sports performance
Athletes often use lower back stretches as part of their warm-up routines to prepare their bodies for physical activity and reduce the risk of injury.
9. Relief from sedentary lifestyle
People who sit for extended periods at work or during daily activities can benefit from lower back stretches to counteract the effects of prolonged sitting.
Best lower back stretches in yoga
As per the fitness expert, these are the best lower back stretches you should do:
1. Balasna or Child’s Pose
One of the simplest and best lower back stretches, you can begin this by kneeling on the floor with your toes touching and knees apart. Sit back on your heels and reach your arms forward, stretching your lower back gently. Hold the pose for 20-30 seconds while breathing deeply. You can repeat the pose.
2. Pawanmuktasana or Knee-to-Chest Stretch
For this asana, lie down on your back on a mat with your legs extended. Being one knee toward your chest and holding it with both hands, gently pulling it closer to the chest. Switch to the other leg after holding it for 20-30 seconds.
3. Paschimottanasana or Seated Forward Bend
Sit on the floor with your legs extended. Bend forward at your hips slowly, reaching your toes as far as comfortable. Keep your knees slightly bent in case to avoid aggravating lower back pain. Hold the pose for 20-30 seconds.
4. Khandarsana or Pelvic Tilts
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Gently move your pelvis back and forth, tilting it upward and then downward. This movement helps mobilise the lower back and reduces stiffness. Do 10-15 repetitions.
5. Padahasthasana or Standing Forward Bend
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Slowly bend forward at your waist, keeping your knees slightly bent to avoid strain. Try to reach for your toes or as far as you can comfortably. Hold the pose for 20-30 seconds.
6. Supine twist in Shavasana
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Let your knees fall to one side while keeping your shoulders on the ground. This twist encourages spinal mobility and stretches the lower back. Hold each position for 20 to 30 seconds.
Remember to breathe deeply and consistently during these stretches, and never force your body into a position that causes pain or discomfort. As your flexibility increases, gradually lengthen the time spent performing each stretch, advises the yoga expert.
Who should avoid lower back stretches?
While lower back stretches can be beneficial for many people, certain people should avoid these stretches as they can lead to severe problems. Akshar says that people with severe back injuries like herniated disc or fractures should avoid intense stretching of the lower back. People who have undergone surgeries, suffering from a medical condition like osteoporosis, pregnant women, and those with acute pain should avoid lower back stretches. It is best to consult your doctor’s recommendations regarding stretching and how much exercise is good for you.
Plus, you need to keep in mind that proper technique plays an important role in avoiding injuries while performing lower back stretches. Incorrect technique during stretching can lead to injuries. It is crucial to learn and practice proper poses under the guidance of a qualified yoga instructor, especially if you’re new to stretching or have any concerns. Also, listen to your body if it is too strenuous for you, stop and relax. In case you experience any discomfort, seek guidance from a healthcare provider.