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7 Best Lower Back Stretches for Relieving Pain

7 Best Lower Back Stretches for Relieving Pain

Are you one of the many who deal with consistent lower back pain? Back pain is a common widespread issue that many experiences, and it’s bothersome. Whatever the cause, whether childbirth, aging, heavy-duty jobs, or some other underlying condition, there is hope and help–and it may not even be that hard to find relief!

Lower back pain isn’t enjoyed by anyone, but there are a few simple stretching hacks that can help relieve the pain.

Many lower back stretches can help relax the muscles and will make a difference. Here we’re going to go over the best lower back stretches to help turn your life around.

Why Your Tight Hips Could Be to Blame

Tight hip flexors could be a contributing factor to your lower back pain. It may sound strange, but it’s true! What does the hip have to do with the back?

The hip bones are connected to the tailbone, leading to the spine. If there is an issue with your hips, that then puts pressure on the lower back, causing you extreme pain.

It’s important to know that tight hip flexors are common, especially amongst those who regularly participate in certain physical activities. Those exercises including horseback riding, cycling, jogging, or anything that works your legs and not your hips. Prolonged sitting and improper posture while sitting can even cause tight hip flexors!

One way to help reduce lower back pain is by working on improving the flexibility in the hips, which can be done with lower back stretches.

The Importance of Core Stability

Many times, it’s ignorantly stated that the core is strictly the abdominal muscles (abs/stomach area), but that’s not true.

The core consists of those front muscles as well as all the muscles on the side of that area, and the back of that area too. When you strengthen your core, you’re also strengthening your lower back. So, why is this important?

There are many core exercises that cause both your abs to be sore the next day and your lower back. That’s because you generally don’t work one without the other being affected in some way. Basically, this means that if you’re hurting your back, it could be that your core as a whole is weak.

Core stability is important because of the location of the core at the center of the body. If the core is unstable, the rest of the body and limbs have to work that much harder. The part that suffers most? The back!

Core training and strengthening can lead to a stable core and reduces the risks of pain and injuries. A weak core puts more strain on the lower back and causes it to tighten. Tight muscles lead to injured muscles, which is never something we want.

Why Is Stretching Good for You?

Stretching the lower back results in the lengthening of the back muscles. It’s the lengthening of those back muscles that results in a reduction of pain. With age, muscles naturally get shorter and tend to be tighter.

Building the muscles around the spine results in the lengthening of those back muscles. A neutral spine and proper posture helps in keeping those muscles surrounding the spine strong.

This is great because strong muscles in the back are muscles that are consistently stretched and lengthened; the stronger the muscles in the back and in the overall core, the less injuries and the less pain! Isn’t that what we all hope for?

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How to Stretch out Your Lower Back

There are various ways to stretch out your lower back. When you try to get rid of lower back pain, it’s important to stretch.[1] However, there are also some things you should be mindful of before stretching. You don’t want to hurt your back more, so remember to take it easy!

It’s important to listen to your body and take it slow when necessary; and sometimes, you may need to stop altogether.

Another thing to keep track of is your breathing. Breathing is very important as well. Make sure you’re following proper breathing techniques before attempting these stretches.[2]

When stretching any part of your body, pain can increase. While a slight discomfort is normal in any stretch, if you’re experiencing pain, you should stop. This is your body’s signal saying it’s best to take a break and maybe try again the next day. If the pain persists and doesn’t go away, see a professional to be sure to rule out anything serious.

The great thing about lower back stretches is that they are easy to do. Lower back stretches can be performed one to two times a day. Are you short on time? Looking for help but need to get it done in less than ten minutes? These lower back stretches will help you meet that goal!

7 Best Stretches for Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain stretches vary, and in some cases, can seem redundant. However, when they’re performed properly, they can really strengthen the back and core, which can lead to less pain over time. Working on flexibility and core stability is so important.

No matter how busy, here are some stretches you can begin implementing in your schedule:

1. Transverse Abdominis Stretch

First, let’s talk about stretching your transverse abdominis.[3] This is the deepest layer of your abdominal muscles. This muscle is used whenever limbs are moved. Because core stability is so important, this stretch can really help your pain.

To stretch out your transverse abs, you’ll want to first lay on your back, propping your head up with anything soft–like a pillow. After you’re comfortable in that position, lift your knees so that they are bent, still keeping your feet on the floor.

While keeping the upper body relaxed, tuck your chin. Then, take a deep breath and tighten your core. Think of drawing your belly button down to the ground beneath you. As you release this breath, you’ll want to loosen your muscles. Repeat a minimum of five times. Be sure to breathe in slowly and breathe out slowly as well.

Here’s a demonstration:

This exercise is rather simple, but being sure the breathing, contracting, and releasing are done in the proper order is key. The propping of your head is also important, so make sure to use a pillow!

2. Bird Dog

    Next, here’s an exercise that is more targeted towards your lower back and its mobility. In the fitness world, it’s known as the “Bird Dog” stretch.

    In this stretch, you’ll want to start on your hands and knees with a flat back. Think of your form as a tabletop. The key here is keeping the spine in a neutral position, so be sure to keep your back straight while performing the exercise. Don’t arch your back.

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    Place your hands directly beneath the shoulders. Being sure that your hands start under the shoulders and knees under your hips, breathe in. While breathing out, you want to raise the opposite arm and leg.

    Breathe out while you release those limbs. After holding for a minimum of five seconds, you’ve completed a round. Repeat this exercise eight to ten times being sure to alternate sides.

    3. Bridge

      This next exercise is exactly what it sounds like. You’re making a bridge with your lower body while your arms relax on the floor.[4]

      First, you’ll want to lie down on your back on a towel or an exercise mat. Choose whatever brings more comfort. Then, you want to bend your knees, keeping the distance between your knees no more than hip width apart.

      Breathe in and while you blow that breath out, you want to lift your hips using your arms as a light form of leverage. The key is to lift the hips high enough to line up with the spine and the height of your knees. That brings everything into a straight line, which is when you will feel a light stretch.

      When lowering your hips back to the ground, make sure you’re breathing out. Repeat this stretch eight to ten times.

      4. Pelvic Tilt

        This exercise focuses on the lower back.

        Start on your back with something serving as a small cushion under your head. Same as the other exercises, you’ll want to bend your knees while your legs are slightly apart, no wider than hip distance.[5]

        While keeping your upper body relaxed and chin tucked, draw your lower back into the floor, gently. You should feel your stomach muscles contracting. While your muscles are contracted, shift your pelvis in a forward and up motion, then release. Repeat in a slow and steady rocking motion for a minimum of eight times.

        5. Hip Stretch

          Because tight hip flexors often contribute to lower back pain, stretching your hips can reduce the pain that you feel.

          In this stretch, you’ll want to start on the ground kneeling with one knee up. Both knees don’t need to remain on the ground in this stretch. The opposite foot should be in front of the body with knee bent 90 degrees.

          While in the straddling knee position, push/shift your hips forward and always be mindful to keep your back straight. Hold that stretch for a minimum of 20 seconds and release. Repeat a minimum of two times on alternating knees.

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          When performed accurately, this stretch feels very good to the hip flexors.

          6. Spine Stretch

            This stretch is obviously stretching out your spine, and in the case of lower back pain, this exercise is an excellent tool.

            Start out lying on your back and placing some form of cushion under your head.

            Keep your knees bent and firmly together during the entirety of this stretch.

            Place your arms out wide in a T-shape in correlation with the rest of your body. You want to slowly move your knees from one side of the body to the other side.

            Breathe out as you shift from one side to the other, and be sure to keep shoulders intact with the ground. When turning your body, be sure to shift your pelvis to each side. That will give you the full stretch, which will be more beneficial to your lower back.

            Repeat this exercise a minimum of six times, being sure to alternate sides, counting both sides as one repetition.

            7. Gluteal Stretch

              There is a muscle in the buttocks that can cause lower back pain and tightening. The hips and abdominal muscles can play a part in back pain, but the glutes are a very popular offender.

              The piriformis is the name of the gluteal muscle that can cause lower back pain if not stretched, so it’s important to stretch it out!

              For this butt stretch, you simply lie on the ground while crossing one ankle over the opposite knee. It feels like an awkward position, but once you begin the stretch, it will feel really good.

              After you place the ankle across the opposite knee, you want to grab the thigh of the leg the ankle is resting on. While breathing in, you want to grab the thigh. And while breathing out, you want to pull that thigh into your chest as far as you can stretch it.

              Holding this exercise for a minimum of 20 seconds will give you maximum results. Repeat at least two times on each side.

              How to Relieve Your Lower Back Pain

              Relieving a Stiff Lower Back

              For a stiff lower back, it’s likely to happen if you live in a cold climate, or have any form of arthritis that tends to flare up due to aging, or when the weather shifts.

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              Stiffness has many leading factors with one being a cold body. Cold weather can make your back ache, so try to keep inside during the winter.

              Back stiffness can also be caused by spasms in the back, injuries that lead to stiffness, improper lifting, and in some cases, lumbar arthritis.

              However, it’s also important to note that any strain to the spine can result in lower back stiffness.

              Many times, lower back stiffness develops due to a lack of mobility and activity. If you aren’t one to go to the gym or lift weights, then be sure to take advantage of the above lower back stretches as often as you can.

              Alleviating Lower Back Inflammation

              Lower back pain can sometimes be the result of inflammation within the lower back muscles. When there is inflammation, over the counter medications can be taken. Physical therapy and chiropractic care are also options.

              Many people also find that hot and cold compresses can help. Ice packs work best when inflammation occurs after a strain or injury of some sort. When using ice with any injury on any part of the body, always be sure to wrap the ice in something, so that there isn’t direct contact to your body.

              Heat to the lower back to help alleviate pain is beneficial as well. It can not only provide pain relief but can also present certain healing factors to the lower back.[6]

              When your lower back becomes tense, there is generally improper circulation in that area. Therefore, heat plays a part by causing blood vessels to dilate, which results in better circulation.

              Tense muscles become tense due to prolonged standing or sitting, stress, a pulled or strained muscle, or certain injuries.

              Besides, you can also try these five tips:

              • Wear comfortable and supportive shoes.
              • Sit in proper chairs that help keep back properly aligned.
              • Watch your posture while standing, sitting, or exercising.
              • When lifting use your legs and not your back (proper lifting is a must).
              • Be mindful of your stress level, keep it low.

              The Bottom Line

              Lower back pain can often be alleviated or ruled out all together with just a few simple tricks. Start with the seven best lower back stretches and see how you feel. However, if you keep experiencing pain, always remember that it’s important to see a medical professional. Cost is often an issue with people seeing a medical professional, but there are many doctors who work with you if you don’t have insurance.[7]

              Remember, it’s easier to get your back fixed now than later on when you need surgery or something else!

              Featured photo credit: Form via unsplash.com

              Reference

              More by this author

              Dr. Brent Wells, D.C.

              Chiropractic doctor currently leading over 10,000 Alaskans to more active, pain-free lifestyles – without addictive drugs or invasive surgeries.

              Simple Hacks on How to Relieve Neck Pain Fast (and Naturally) 7 Best Lower Back Stretches for Relieving Pain 12 Causes of Lower Right Back Pain (And How to Relieve It) 12 Best Back Strengthening Exercises to Relieve Lower Back Pain How to Sleep with Lower Back Pain Using These 13 Tips

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              Last Updated on November 18, 2020

              50 Habits of Highly Successful People You Should Learn

              50 Habits of Highly Successful People You Should Learn

              If you’re like me and really into self-development, you’ve probably read many of the thousands of self-help books out there on the market. But also like me, you probably find all the information a bit overwhelming.

              That’s why I wanted to do the self-less task of taking the most important, life-changing lessons I’ve drawn from these books and condensed them into 50 key points.

              Here’re 50 habits of successful people you should learn:

              1. Believe It to See It

              Our minds tend to focus on what’s happening around us and refuse to see what could happen. Only when you trust in what’s possible and dare to dream big, big things can happen for you.

              2. See Problems as a Wonderful Gift

              While others only see problems and give up, successful people use the problem as a lesson to find improvement in themselves or the task at hand.

              3. Keep Looking for Solutions

              Even if they’re knee-deep in problems, successful people will still put all of their focus on finding solutions.

              4. Remember It’s All About the Journey

              Successful people are conscious and methodical in creating their own success. They don’t sit around doing the bare minimum, hoping success finds them.

              5. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

              There’s so much fear on the road to success, but instead of letting that fear control and limit them, successful people do a good job of just forging ahead regardless.

              6. Always Ask Productive Questions

              It’s all about asking the right questions. Successful people make sure they are questions that will elicit information for a more productive, creative and positive mindset moving forward.

              7. Understand the Best Waste of Energy Is Complaining

              Successful people know that choosing to see the negative side of things will only create a useless and unproductive state.

              8. Don’t Play the Blame Game

              Taking responsibility for actions and outcomes is a form of empowerment that you can build your success upon. While the act of blaming others or outside circumstances takes this empowerment away from you.

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              9. Maximize Your Strengths

              Not every successful person is simply more talented than the rest, but they do use what they know they’re good at to achieve more successful results.

              10. Be in It to Win It

              Successful people are busy, productive and proactive. Instead of sitting around over-thinking and over-planning a great idea, they just take a step towards it no matter how small.

              11. Know That Success Attracts Success

              People who are successful surround themselves and seek out like-minded people. They understand the importance of being part of a team and forge win-win relationships.

              12. Actually Choose to Be Successful

              Dreaming big is a massive part of being successful even if your dream seems impossible. Ambition is a mindset that needs to be a daily conscious choice.

              13. Visualize, Visualize, Visualize!

              You’ve got to see your success in your mind’s eye even before it comes. Successful people clarify and get that certainty about what they want their reality to look like rather than being mere spectators of life.

              14. Be a One-Off Original

              Successful people look for what’s working and then create a unique spin on it. Imitating only regurgitates other people’s ideas with no originality.

              15. The Perfect Time to Act Is Now

              Waiting for the right time to act is basically procrastination wrapped up in an excuse. Successful people know there’s never a perfect time so they may as well just do it now.

              16. Keep Learning, Keep Growing

              Continuous learning is the key to a successful life. Whether it’s academic, being a student of life or actionable learning, it’s all about expanding your knowledge and personal development.

              17. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

              Successful people have the knack for finding positive aspects in all people and circumstances no matter what.

              18. Having a Bad Day? Do It Anyway!

              We all have bad moods but it shouldn’t be an excuse to stop everything. Giving into a bad mood just stop-starts your life, slowing success way down.

              19. Sometimes Risky Business Is Needed

              Calculated risks are a must for success. It’s about weighing the pros and cons while moving forward with that element of trust.

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              20. Accept Challenge All the Time

              Dealing with problems head-on is a must to be successful. Successful people also face challenges in order to improve themselves.

              21. Make Your Own Luck

              In the mindset of a successful person, there’s no such thing as ‘luck’ or ‘fate’. They take control to actively and consciously create their own best life.

              22. Ignite Your Initiative

              While many people are reactive, successful people are proactive – taking action before they have to.

              23. Be the Master of Your Emotions

              Being effective at managing emotions is key on the road to success. That’s not to say successful people don’t feel like we all do, but they’re just not slaves to their emotions.

              24. Champion in Communication

              Consciously working on effective communication skills gets anyone closer to success.

              25. Plan Your Life Strategically

              Successful people’s lives aren’t a clumsy series of unplanned events and outcomes, they methodically work at turning their plans into a reality.

              26. Become Exceptional at What You Do

              To become exceptional, you typically have to do things that most won’t. To become successful, hard decisions need to be made and acting on them is crucial.

              27. Choose to Live Outside of Your Comfort Zone

              While many people are pleasure junkies and avoid pain and discomfort at all costs, successful people understand the value and benefits of working through the tough stuff that most would avoid.

              28. Live by Core Values

              Successful people firstly identify their core values and what’s important to them, then do their best to live a life that reflects these values.

              29. Realize Money Isn’t Everything

              Money and success are not interchangeable and the most successful people understand this. Putting money on a pedestal and equating it to success is a dangerous mindset to have. Success comes in many forms.

              30. Don’t Get Carried Away

              Successful people understand the importance of discipline and self-control and as a result they are happy to take the road less travelled.

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              31. Self-Worth Is Not Tied to Success

              Successful people are secure. They do not derive their self-worth from what they own, who they know, where they live or what they look like.

              32. Kindness Breeds Kindness (And Success)

              Generosity and kindness is a common trait among long-term successful people. It’s important to take pleasure in helping others achieve.

              33. More Humility, Less Arrogance

              Successful people are humble and happy to admit and apologize for mistakes. This is because they’re confident in their ability. They are happy to learn from others and happy to make others look good rather than seek their own personal glory.

              34. Change Opens New Doors

              People who are successful are adaptable and embrace change, while the majority are creatures of comfort and habit. They are comfortable with, and embrace, the new and the unfamiliar.

              35. Success Requires a Healthy Body

              It’s not just how you think, it’s about how you show up for success. Successful people understand the importance of being physically well, not for vain reasons but because being in tiptop condition creates a better personal life for success.

              36. Laziness Just Doesn’t Exist

              Successful people are never considered lazy. Yes, they can relax when they need to, but working hard is their game.

              37. Resilience by the Bucket Load

              When difficulty strikes, most would throw in the towel, but successful people are just warming up.

              38. Feedback Is Just Another Chance to Improve

              How people react to feedback determines their potential for success. Being open to constructive criticism and acting on it to improve is most seen in those who are successful.

              39. Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe

              If people are hanging out with toxic and negative people, then they need to take a look at themselves. Successful people hang out with others who are positive and supportive.

              40. Can’t Control It? Forget It

              Successful people don’t invest time or emotional energy into things which they have no control of.

              41. Swim Against the Tide

              Successful people are not people-pleasers and they don’t need constant approval from others in order to move ahead.

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              42. Alone Time Is Valuable Time

              More self-worth means being more comfortable with your own company. Successful people are more happy and see the value in spending time alone.

              43. Self-Standard Is Higher Than Most

              Everyone has a choice to set high standards for themselves. Successful people do this, which in turn produces greater commitment, more momentum, a better work ethic and of course, better results.

              44. Failure Isn’t Rationalized

              While many use age, health, lack of time, ‘bad luck’, or lack of opportunity to explain away their failure, the key to success is finding a way to succeed despite facing these challenges.

              45. Down Time Is an Important Part of a Routine

              Having an off switch and taking time to do things that make them happy is a common trait of a successful person. Take a look at here The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

              46. Career Isn’t Who You Are, It’s What You Do

              Successful people know their career isn’t their identity. They are multi-dimensional and don’t define themselves by their job.

              47. Be Interested in Only the Path of Resistance

              While most people look for the easiest way or the shortcut, successful people are more interested in the most effective way. They look for the course of action which will produce the best results over the long term.

              48. Follow Through

              Many spend their life starting things that they never finish, but successful people get the job done. Even when the excitement and the novelty has worn off they still follow through and finish.

              49. Invest in All Your Dimensions

              We’re not just physical and psychological beings, but emotional and spiritual creatures as well. Successful people consciously work at being healthy and productive on all levels.

              50. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

              To obtain success, it’s important to practice what you preach. Successful people don’t talk about the theory, they live the reality.

              So there you have it, a summary of what I’ve learned from self-help books. But of course, you need to start taking actions so you will get closer to success too.

              Bonus: 5 Bad Habits To Quit

              More About Success

              Featured photo credit: Juan Jose via unsplash.com

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