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5 Stretches For Lower Back Pain Relief

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5 Stretches For Lower Back Pain Relief

Until or unless your back goes out, this is not a part of your body that you’ve probably given much thought to. However, if you are suffering from back pain, you realize very quickly just how much you use your back in the course of a given day. Your back is actually a complicated and amazing configuration of vertebrae, disc, bones, ligaments and muscles that help your body to bend, sway and stretch as you go about your daily routine. So to baby your back – and to both treat and prevent lower back pain – try these stretches below.

To further alleviate lower back pain, you can’t miss the following posts:

Lower Left Back Pain: Symptoms, Causes And Treatments

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Lower Right Back Pain: Symptoms, Causes And Treatments

5 Effective Yoga Exercises For Lower Back Pain

The Hamstring Stretch

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    In order to do this stretch — which will work out not only your hamstrings but your lower back as well — lie flat on the floor on your back. Bend your right knee into your chest, then straighten the leg slowly towards the ceiling (you can wrap an exercise band around the bottom of your feet to help keep your leg in place if desired). Do not overstretch. Hold in position for 3-5 minutes, then slowly lower the leg to the floor.

    The Downward-Facing Dog

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      This position is one of the best stretches for lower back pain will give your back a deep, gentle stretch, while also working out your hamstrings and calf muscles and strengthening the muscles in your arms. Begin on your hands and knees, with your hands shoulders-width apart and your hands planted firmly on the floor. While breathing out slowly, raise up on your tip-toes and slowly lift your buttocks off the floor so that your body bends in the shape of an “A”. Your weight should be supported by both your hands and your feet. Hold this pose for several minutes, breathing in and our easily, then reverse it by lower your buttocks and legs slowly to the mat. Rest for a few minutes in a prone position.

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      The Bow

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        This provides a deep, relaxing stretch for the muscles in your lower and upper back while strengthening the muscles in your arms and legs. First, bend your knees and set feet on the floor, then bend elbows and spread palms out on the floor behind you. Slowly, lift yourself up on your arms and legs so that you are bent backwards with your navel raised towards the ceiling and your weight balanced equally between arms and legs. Hold for several moments, then lower yourself slowly and gently to the mat.

        The Plow

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          Lie on your back with arms beside you, pressing down against the floor. As you breathe in slowly, lift your feet off the floor and raise your legs towards the ceiling. Then swing your hips upwards and support them on your hands. Then, still breathing gently, lower your legs up and over your head so that your toes touch the floor behind you. Hold this pose for a minute, then gently swing your legs back and resume a prone position.

          The Triangle Pose

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            This position allows you not only to get a great stretch for your lower back but your lateral muscles (the muscles along your sides) as well. In order to begin this pose, get into a standing position with your feet 3-4 feet apart. Raise your arms to shoulder height so that they are parrellel to the floor. Then, turning your left foot in, breathe out and bend your torso to the right and bend from the hips so that your hand can touch your calf, ankle or the floor, depending on how deep you want to stretch. While exhaling, pull yourself back to a standing position and lower your arms.

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            If you are suffering from back pain, these poses can help to stretch the muscles gently and get you back on your feet again. However, it is important to talk to your doctor before doing these or any other exercises to make sure they are right for you. You should also discuss a care plan which combines these exercises with the use of anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxers, rest and warm or cold applications to help treat this condition.

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            Brian Wu

            Health Writer, Author

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            Last Updated on September 8, 2021

            10 Fitness Excuses You Need to Stop Making Now

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            10 Fitness Excuses You Need to Stop Making Now

            “You can have results or excuses. Not both.” – Anonymous

            Human beings tend to only ever do as much as they absolutely need to.

            Motivational speakers call this innate trait laziness, biologists call it efficiency. Either way, the fact remains: we are evolutionary wired to minimize time and energy wherever possible.

            And this is not necessarily a bad thing. If we weren’t wired this way, we probably wouldn’t have survived this long as a species.

            Back in our caveman days, before supermarkets, calories were worth their weight in gold. For cavemen, trying to actively burn off calories would have spelled certain death.

            In this light, our fitness excuses make total sense. Our reptilian brain comes up with believable sounding rationalizations to stop us from burning off our precious calories; to minimize time and energy.

            Unfortunately, due to our present access to highly calorific foods, the fitness excuses that once ensured our survival, now send us to an early grave.

            Below I’ve provided the 10 most common fitness excuses our reptilian minds trick us into believing and why, ultimately, they’re all nonsense.

            1. I don’t have enough time.

            This is probably the most common fitness excuse of them all.

            First off, when you say you don’t have enough time, what you’re really saying is “I don’t have enough time for that”. 

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            Do you really think that if you were to add up all the time you spend watching TV and surfing the web throughout the average week you couldn’t replace any of it with a workout?

            A 30 minute workout takes up 2% of your day.

            Don’t ask yourself how much time you’re going to waste by working out a few times a week. Ask yourself how much of your life you’re going to waste being unfit and overweight.

            2. I’m way too tired to workout.

            Your mind, when it comes to exercising, is like a spoiled child. If you give in to its demands without a fight, it will see weakness and prey on it often.

            If you miss one planned session, you’re much more likely to miss the next. The biggest journey always starts with one step and the biggest failings always start with one step backwards.

            You need to show your mind who’s boss. You won’t always have lots of energy when you go to the gym but that doesn’t matter. The only thing that counts is showing up and giving it a shot.

            If you’re too tired to workout, change your sleeping habits, not your workout habits.

            3. But exercise is so boring!

            You don’t want to exercise because it’s boring?

            So you find brushing your teeth, taking showers, styling your hair and getting dressed highly entertaining? No. We do these things because we have to. We accept them as part of life.

            The people who never miss a workout are the ones who view it just like brushing their teeth. Complaining about it is just pointless. To be successful sometimes you’ve got to do things that aren’t as fun as watching your favorite TV show. That’s just life.

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            If don’t enjoy your workouts, you don’t stop working out, you just workout differently. Try crossfit, martial arts, hiking, body building, powerlifting, running, or swimming. Try music. Try anything, but keep showing up.

            4. I have no motivation to workout.

            If you think you need motivation to train you’re already half beat.

            What you really need is meta motivation: the motivation to train even when you’re not motivated. If you rely on your feelings to decide whether to workout or not, you never will. As you know, your feelings are designed to keep you caged up in your comfort pit.  Your feelings want you to be safe, not successful.

            That said, there is a trick you can use to get yourself motivated to workout, and it’s  backed up with research. It’s called ‘the few minutes’ principle.

            The basic idea is that procrastinators often put off doing certain things because the size of the task in front of them seems too overwhelming. By deciding to just go to the gym for a ‘few minutes’ you’ll often see the workout through to completion.

            Are you motivated enough to train for two minutes? That’s all you need.

            5. I have kids to look after.

            One day your kids might have someone to look after too: you.

            Don’t burden them with an ill parent when they have their own kids to look after. And don’t be the kind of parent who tells their kids exercise is good for them but doesn’t follow their own advice. Kids are smarter than that.

            If you’re really struggling with managing your fitness and your kids, combine the two. Find a field and play frisbee for a few hours, go swimming, take a walk around the lake and feed some ducks. There are so many fun and cheap ways to exercise with your kids, the only limits are your imagination.

            You kids should be your biggest reason to exercise, not your biggest excuse.

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            6. I don’t have anyone to train with.

            What you’re really saying with this fitness excuse is that you don’t have anyone to talk with while you train. If you’re training properly, you won’t need to talk.

            Don’t get me wrong, having a training partner is great but here’s what you’ve got to understand: most people first meet their training partners at the gym. The reason you probably don’t have anyone to train with is because you don’t have many friends who train. Like attracts like.

            By becoming someone who regularly trains, you’ll start attracting people into your life who also value health and fitness. You have to earn your training partners, they don’t come free.

            7. I don’t feel very well.

            After you get into the habit of overriding your fitness excuses and working out regularly, the thought of missing a workout starts to drive you insane. When I broke my jaw in two places the doctors told me I couldn’t lift heavy weights for three months. What did I do? I lifted light weights instead. Train smart, not hard.

            At some point in our lives we’ve all pretended to be ill so we could skip a day of school. Some of the better actors among us probably blurred the lines in their mind between real symptoms and those imagined. It’s easy to exaggerate things when it fits our agenda.

            If you’re really sick, I don’t recommend you train. But feeling a bit tired or achy – that’s no reason to skip a workout.

            8. The gym is too expensive or far.

            If you think you need a gym to achieve your fitness goals, you’ve been seriously misled.

            The world is your fitness playground. Ever watched a training scene from a Rocky movie? He chases chickens, runs up steps, punches meat, and chops wood. Many people cite these scenes as their favorite.  Something about training dirty and raw resonates deep within us.

            There are whole fitness subcultures dedicated to working out outdoors, and without formal equipment. Ever heard of Calisthenics, Tai Chi, Yoga or Parkour? Look them up.

            If you want to put on muscle, try some typical strongman training like chopping wood, flipping tires, lifting barrels. Remember, if it’s important enough to you, you’ll find a way. Arnold Schwarzenegger made his own gym equipment out of chairs and sticks for the first year he trained. He claims he gained 25 pounds of muscle from doing this.

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            9. I don’t know how to train properly.

            If you’re reading this article, you’re obviously more than capable of figuring this out. The internet is brimming with routines and training tips. This site alone will give you more than you need. Read these 10 tips for better workouts, perfect for beginners.

            However, it’s important that you don’t get too engulfed in the theory of ‘training properly’. Like most things in life, you learn best on the job. Ask people in the gym to show you how to use proper technique, then practice through action.

            People love giving out tips. You might even get a training partner out of it.

            10. I feel intimidated by the fit people there.

            This is normal and everyone has this when they first start out. The environment is new, everyone there looks like they know what they’re doing. You feel like you’re in someone else’s home.

            The number one reason you feel intimidated when you go to the gym is because you don’t go enough! If you started going regularly you’d get used to the place, the people and your fitness would improve. Everyone knows training improves your confidence. Just stick with it. It’s something you’ll laugh at a few months down the line.

            Anyone can get in great shape. Anyone can become fit. But very few people ever do because they give in to their natural inclination to minimize time and effort.

            Stop making excuses and just stick with it for two months. After that you’ll be finding excuses to workout even when you do have important stuff to get on with.

            Featured photo credit: United Artists, Chartoff-Winkler Productions via Rocky (1976)

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