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Published on April 23, 2021

10 Knee Stretches For Knee Pain Relief

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10 Knee Stretches For Knee Pain Relief

Knee pain is a common problem that affects people from all walks of life, and it often requires some sort of therapy or knee stretches to resolve. The causes of knee pain can range from overexertion, sedentary lifestyle, strains, sprains, injuries, and even structural challenges. Obesity, lack of exercise, or arthritis are also some commonly known causes of knee pain.[1] But there can be other reasons, too.

For example, I got the first knee pain of my life when I was in college. My right knee nearly collapsed because I pushed myself more than the average participant in a mountaineering trip we took that summer.

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Another common cause of knee pain for an average-aged person can be the faulty positioning of the laptop workstation—being at the wrong distance and height—and intensified by a chair too low, too high, or even placed in such a way that you are keeping your knees bent for long periods of time.

So, what are some good knee stretches that you can do to get relief from knee pain and keep them healthy over time? Well, here we go!

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Here are 10 knee stretches for effective knee pain relief.

1. Single Knee to Chest stretch

  1. Lie down on your back.
  2. As you inhale, bend the left knee and bring it to the chest.
  3. Interlock your fingers, placing them behind the left thigh or above the knee. Gently begin to draw the leg closer to your body, keeping the other leg flat on the ground.
  4. Keep your spine stretched and tail bone tucked touching the floor. Relax the shoulders.
  5. If your neck, shoulders, and upper back are tight, you may keep a pillow or a blanket under your head and neck. Count to five and then interchange the feet.
  6. Complete five rounds with left and right foot, together making one round.

2. Quad Stretch Sideways

  1. Lie down sideways on your left, with elbow bent on the ground, supporting the head with the palm.
  2. Inhale and bend your right leg, toes pointing backward. Grab the ankle with the right arm and bring the heel as close to the buttock as possible. Hold it for five seconds, and exhale release.
  3. Turn to the opposite side on your right.
  4. Inhale and bend your left leg, toes pointing backward. Grab the ankle with the left arm and bring the heel as close to the buttock as possible. Hold it for five seconds, and exhale release.
  5. Make sure to have a good round grip around the ankle—fingers together, thumb apart.
  6. Complete five rounds with right and left, together making one round.

3. Figure 4 Stretch

  1. Lie down on your back.
  2. Bend your knees and place your feet on the ground, hip-distance apart.
  3. As you inhale, place your lower right leg on the left thigh, crossing the ankle over. At this point, your right knee should naturally be pointing sideways, creating a figure 4 shape.
  4. Interlock your fingers behind your left thigh and gently begin to draw your legs closer to your body, lifting the left leg away from the ground until it becomes parallel to the ground.
  5. Keep your spine stretched and tail bone tucked touching the floor, relax the shoulders.
  6. If your neck, shoulders, and upper back are tight, you may keep a pillow or a blanket under your head and neck. Count to five and then interchange the feet.
  7. Complete five rounds with left and right foot, together making one round.

4. Single-Leg Raises

  1. Lie down on your back, arms by the side of the body, palms facing down.
  2. As you inhale, lift the left leg, keeping the knee straight. The right leg can either be resting straight on the ground or bent with the foot firmly placed on the ground as per your convenience.
  3. Keep your spine stretched and tail bone tucked touching the floor, relax the shoulders.
  4. If your neck, shoulders, and upper back are tight, you may keep a pillow or a blanket under your head and neck. Do 5 lifts on one side and then change the feet.
  5. Repeat from the other side.

5. Leg Extension Sideways

  1. Lie down sideways on your left, with elbow bent on the ground, supporting the head with the palm.
  2. Inhale and lift your right leg, keeping the knee straight and toes pointing diagonally. Exhale and bring it down. Repeat five times at a medium speed. Do not use jerky movements, and do not do it too slowly.
  3. Turn to the opposite side on your right.
  4. Inhale and light the left leg up, exhale down. Repeat the same exercise five times.
  5. Make sure that the core is engaged for better results.

6. Tiger Stretch

  1. Come down on the ground on all fours—knees and palms. Ensure that legs are hip-width apart and knees in line with the hips. Also, ensure that wrists and shoulders are in one line. Relax the toes.
  2. As you inhale, lift the right leg, toes pointing up. Try to bring your toes as close to the head as possible. Let the back arch naturally. Lift your neck as if trying to meet the toes.
  3. As you exhale, bring your leg down bending the knee, and sliding it from under the body to meet the forehead. Drop your neck looking down trying to meet the knee.
  4. Repeat the stretch from the left side—both times slowly and mindfully.
  5. Complete five rounds with right and left together, making one round.

Note: You can keep a towel and anything that gives slight support to the knee while you place them on the ground in case you need more support.

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7. Knee Extension Sitting

  1. Sit up on a chair with your back straight.
  2. Interlock the fingers placing them behind the left knee.
  3. As you inhale, lift the left knee, bringing it parallel to the ground. Do it with medium speed without any jerky movement. Repeat five to ten times.
  4. Keep your spine stretched and shoulders relaxed.
  5. Interchange the feet and repeat the same exercise on the right leg.

Note: The image suggests holding the chair rather than the back of the knee, but I would recommend holding the back of the knee as it provides better support. Choose based on your convenience.

8. Dynamic Squats

  1. Squat down and bringing your right arm from inside, slide your right palm below the sole of the right foot, palm facing up. Bring the left arm from the inside, slide your left palm below the sole of the left foot, palm facing up.
  2. For those who cannot squat, please roll a mat and keep your heels on it and stand facing a wall at an arms distance from the wall so you can place your palms on the wall.
  3. Once you have found your comfortable position, hands are not to be moved from where they are.
  4. While exhaling, come up and straighten your knees, maintaining the position of the palms.
  5. Inhale squat and exhale come up again while straightening the knees.
  6. Repeat five times, slowly and with awareness of breath.

Note: Contrary to what some people think, squats are very good for knee strengthening and, therefore, reduce knee pain in the short and long term. Do it slowly, and you will be okay. In case you feel that it is too challenging for you—the hips aren’t open enough or there is severe pain, you can simply sit down on a chair and then stand up—keep repeating with arms stretched in front.

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9. Kneeling Lunge

  1. Exhale and bring both your palms on the ground coming into an inverted V position.
  2. Inhale and bring the right foot firmly between the palms, left knee on the ground and toes relaxed.
  3. Sit up keeping the spine straight and bring the palms to the waist.
  4. Make sure that the right knee and ankle are in one line. Look forward.
  5. Inhale and bring the left foot firmly between the palms, right knee on the ground, and toes relaxed.
  6. Complete five rounds with one set of left and right making one round.

Note: Place a towel or any other cushioning fabric for more knee support.

10. Mill Churning Stretch

  1. Sit up with your legs apart and away from each other as much as is comfortable for you. Choose your maximum and convenient distance.
  2. Bring your palms together and interlock the fingers. Stretch your arms forward while straightening the elbows. The arms will remain in this position throughout this stretch, do not bend the elbows.
  3. Inhale and exhale. Start making a big circle with your torso, turning towards the right and your arms moving with it. Imagine your hip is fixed at one point and your body is encircling around it. Go as big a circle as you can by going as far back as possible.
  4. Exhale as you go down and inhale as you come up. Encircle five times.
  5. Repeat the same stretch from the left side, making a big circle five times by rotating the body from the left side.

Consistency Is the Key

Knee stretching and strengthening is a gentle and gradual process. Therefore, consistency in practicing these knee stretches goes a long way.

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The knees are one of the most important joints in the foundational structure of your body. So, take good care of them and enjoy pain-less healthy knees, irrespective of your age and occupation. I wish you the best!

More Stretches You Can Try for Better Fitness

Featured photo credit: bruce mars via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Roli Jain

Internationally Certified Hatha Yoga Coach & Therapist. On a mission to transform lives through Yoga after transforming my own.

10 Knee Stretches For Knee Pain Relief 5 Energy-Boosting Yoga Poses to Try Anytime Daily 15-Minute Stretching Routine to Stay Fit and Flexible

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

12 Causes of Lower Right Back Pain (And How to Relieve It)

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12 Causes of Lower Right Back Pain (And How to Relieve It)

Lower right back pain can be hard to shake. Even mild back pain can damper your energy levels and take away your focus at work. If you’re experiencing lower right back pain, it’s time to get to the bottom of your back pain.

Don’t write off your pain as simply a bad night’s rest. You deserve to know the cause of your lower right back pain – and how to relieve it.

Luckily, most cases of lower right back pain are a result of musculoskeletal issues and not an urgent medical crisis. Of course, that doesn’t make your back pain any less serious. Whatever the cause, you’ll need to treat your condition to get better, even if that means self-care remedies that you can easily find at home.

Lower right back pain should be taken seriously: it’s often a sign that some area of your body is out of balance. And with everything going on in your life, back pain is the last thing you need.

Today, we’ll look at common causes of lower right back pain and how to relieve it. Let’s get your back on track, so that you can feel great again.

Urgent Lower Right Back Pain Symptoms

Before we get started on common causes of lower right back pain, let’s look briefly at urgent symptoms to watch out for.

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, you should go to the emergency room to rule out urgent conditions.

  • Intense pain that’s sudden or sharp
  • Intense pain coupled with fever, nausea, vomiting or incontinence
  • Intense pain coupled with swelling or feelings of fullness
  • Intense pain coupled with urinary symptoms

These symptoms could be signs of urgent conditions such as appendicitis, kidney infections, kidney stones or endometriosis. Don’t take any chances and see a doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.

Common Causes of Lower Right Back Pain

Now, let’s turn to common musculoskeletal causes of lower right back pain. By learning more about these causes, you’ll be better prepared to get quick pain relief.

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1. Sprains and Strains

Sprains and strains are the number one cause of lower right back pain.

What’s the difference between a sprain and a strain? In essence, they are similar injuries. Sprains happen when you overextend or tear ligaments (tissues connecting joints); strains happen when you tear muscles or tendons (tissues connecting muscles). Typically, you’ll feel swelling, stiffness, bruising, cramping and/or spasms in your lower right back.

You usually know when you have a sprain or strain because you did something to trigger it. This could be an everyday activity, such as a sports injury, lifting something heavy, household falls or overexercising. Any sudden movements, or unnatural twisting and turning can also injure your muscles.

While both sprains and strains can heal on their own, you can help speed up the recovery process. Generally, the R.I.C.E. formula is recommended, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.[1] The idea is to limit the use of your back muscles, ice them and apply any compression bandages. By following this formula, your lower right back should feel better in no time.

Since back sprains and strains often recur, you should also consider stretching and strengthening exercises to prevent re-injury. Building up your back muscles, following warm-up or cool-down exercises and learning proper form and posture can also boost your back and prevent it from becoming chronic pain.

2. Disc Degeneration

While a natural part of the aging process, disc degeneration can also cause lower right back pain. Disc degeneration happens when the discs that hold up the vertebrae start to decay. With this wear-and-tear, the vertebrae have less protection and begin to rub together painfully.

Getting relief from disc degeneration can be tricky, because there’s no cure for this natural decay. Sometimes doctors will recommend physical therapy, massage therapy or chiropractic for possible benefits by changing your posture and movements, as well as using adjustments and the therapeutic touch for pain relief.[2]

In extreme cases, you may even consider steroid injections or surgery. However, most people with disc degeneration will focus on getting relief at home.

3. Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is another aging condition that can cause lower right back pain. As the most common arthritis condition, osteoarthritis occurs when the cushion on your joints wears down with age, especially for commonly used joints, such as your spine, knees and hips.

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Specific symptoms of osteoarthritis involve stiffness, swelling, tenderness and loss of range of motion. Since the damage of osteoarthritis can’t be reversed, treatment usually focuses on physical therapy and lifestyle changes, including low-impact exercise and weight loss. Home remedies such as hot and cold packs and supplements are also effective.

4. Herniated Disc

A herniated disc may also be the cause of your lower right back pain. When the spine is working correctly, discs cushion and protect the spine. According to experts at the Mayo Clinic, a disc is like a jelly donut. When a herniated disc occurs, the jelly inside is pushed outside of its case.[3] This material then makes contact with nerves, causing pain, numbness and tingling.

Treatment for this condition can be as simple as physical therapy and pain relievers, or as complex as surgery. In any case, lifestyle changes can help with pain relief, including regular low-impact exercise such as yoga, weight loss, massage therapy and home remedies.

5. Muscular Imbalance

At times, lower right back pain can be hard to pinpoint, especially if you don’t remember an initial injury or movement that caused it. However, the way you move and exercise can impact your back pain. Specifically, muscular imbalance is an extremely common source of lower right back pain.

Muscular imbalance occurs when the natural balance of your muscular system is disrupted. This typically happens when you use certain muscles more than others, or do physical activity in an unnatural position.

For example, if your abdominal muscles are weak, your lower back will take the load, creating a muscular imbalance that may cause you pain. In athletes, this a common problem when you use certain muscle groups for sports, leaving others unfit or unused. Muscular imbalance can cause pain spots, such as in the lower right back.

Muscular imbalance is best treated by a physical therapist or chiropractor who can identify the imbalance among the muscle groups and create exercises for boosting weak areas. In the meantime, home remedies are a good way to stay pain-free.

6. Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis can cause serious lower right back pain. This condition occurs when the spaces in between your spine narrow, which puts excess pressure on your nerves.

Imagine your spine contracting or “crunching” together. Symptoms include lower right back pain, as well as numbness and weakness. Sometimes spinal stenosis is a secondary symptom of osteoarthritis too.

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The treatment of spinal stenosis is lifestyle-based, including building up strength, flexibility and balance. For extreme cases, doctors may also recommend decompression treatment or surgery. However, many get pain relief from staying active, losing weight and using home pain relief remedies.

7. Sciatica

If you’re experiencing sharp pain on your lower right side, you may have sciatica. Your sciatic nerve runs from your lower back down your legs. If it becomes pinched, you may feel pain that spreads all along the nerve, including your lower back. Common symptoms of sciatica also include numbness and tingling.

The majority of sciatica cases are relieved by home treatment. Typically, physical therapists will recommend a stretching routine and regular low-impact exercise. Sometimes, steroid injections are also beneficial for pain relief, though most cases can be successfully minimized by home remedies.

8. Bone Spurs

Another possible cause of your back pain is bone spurs. As the name suggests, bone spurs occur when bones in your spine rub together painfully.

When your discs start to decay, bone spurs become more likely, as the cushioning is no longer there between the vertebrae. Bone spurs are difficult to prevent, but you can get pain relief from home remedies.

9. Spinal Infection

Though less common, a spinal infection can also cause lower right back pain. There are many different types of spinal infections, but the most frequent happen when bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus or Escherichia coli enter the spine via the bloodstream.[4] This bacteria then causes swelling and tenderness, and may also manifest as a fever, muscle spasms and lower right back pain.

A spinal infection should be treated as soon as possible before the bacteria causes irreparable damage. The biggest clue is a fever: if you have a high fever in addition to lower right back pain, be sure to see a doctor as soon as possible. Antibiotics will typically resolve the condition, or surgery in extreme cases.

10. Scoliosis

The back condition scoliosis is another culprit of lower right back pain. Scoliosis is when the back curves in an unnatural shape, usually a C or an S. This curvature then places undue pressure on certain areas of the back. A doctor or chiropractor can easily diagnose scoliosis by looking at X-rays of the spine. Other symptoms of scoliosis include other misalignments in the body, as well as muscular weakness or numbness.

A physical therapist is extremely important for mitigating scoliosis and trying to correct spinal curvature in young adults. Other lifestyle treatment options include using a brace, regular exercise, chiropractic adjustments and home remedies for pain relief.

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11. Joint Dysfunction

Joint dysfunction may also account for lower right back pain. Joint dysfunction can cause inflammation in and around the spine. Specifically, joint dysfunction occurs when the joint in question moves too much or too little, causing muscle tension and tenderness. This inflammation then affects the surrounding area, including the spine.

In the case of sacroiliac joint dysfunction, the sacroiliac joint that connects the hips and the lumbar spine becomes inflamed, which causes pain both in the lower back and legs. To get pain relief from joint dysfunction, you can get chiropractic adjustments, wear a brace or use home remedies to get rid of the pain.

12. Cauda Equina Syndrome

Cauda Equina Syndrome is a serious and urgent spinal condition that results from nerve endings of the Cauda Equina becoming compressed. When this happens, the patient may experience motor weakness or sensory loss, since these nerves are involved in these physical sensations.

Cauda Equina syndrome is considered a medical emergency. If you’re experiencing lower right back pain, in addition to motor weakness, bladder dysfunction or sensory abnormalities, you may have Cauda Equina syndrome.

Home Remedies for Lower Right Back Pain

Depending on the cause of your lower right back pain, home pain relief remedies may help. If you’re looking to improve your back pain today, you can try the following options. Sometimes these self-care options are a matter of trial and error. Be sure to find the remedy that works for you.

  • Hot and cold packs
  • Natural supplements, such as white willow bark, devil’s claw or capsaicin
  • Anti-inflammatory spices turmeric and ginger
  • Green tea
  • Essential oils, including peppermint and lavender
  • An anti-inflammatory diet, including lots of fruits, veggies, fish and olive oil
  • Regular low-impact exercise, including yoga or Tai Chi
  • Good posture habits
  • Hot herbal baths
  • Regular massage therapy and chiropractic
  • Healthy sleeping positions 

The Bottom Line

Remember that getting relief for your lower right back pain is up to you. It’s important to take the time to make sure you’re creating good back-friendly habits and finding ways to incorporate these home remedies in your day-to-day life.

If you’re not sure how to get started with recovering from back pain, you can also see a professional chiropractor, who will create a customized back pain plan to get your back condition resolved.

Whatever you decide, don’t just ignore your lower right back pain. It’s essential that you address the pain and find ways to overcome the condition and get pain relief. Don’t let your back pain take over your busy schedule – you’ve got better things to do!

Reference

[1] National Institute of Health: Sprains and Strains
[2] Better Health Chiropractic: 65 Proven Facts about Chiropractors and Chiropractic Care for Back Pain and Other Conditions
[3] Mayo Clinic: Herniated disk
[4] American Association of Neurological Surgeons: Spinal Infections

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