Approximately 80 percent of all adults experience lower back pain at some point during their lives, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke. This back pain can be caused by car accidents, work or- sports-related injuries, working out, or even due to the aging process. Fortunately, there are some short-term remedies for lower back pain, including rest, pain medications, ice and heat treatments, and exercise. That said, here’s how to stretch lower back muscles to alleviate back pain.
Lower Back Press to Floor
Lie on a hard surface with your knees bent and feet placed flat on the floor. Next, tighten your abdominal muscles and slowly press your lower back to the floor. Hold that position for 10 seconds, then relax. Repeat 10 to 20 times. With this exercise, you can either place both hands at your sides or overhead — beneath your head with your palms facing upward.
Single Knee Stretch
Muscles get tight, especially as people get older. To alleviate tight and painful lower back muscles, continue lying on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat against it. Raise your right knee up and pull it toward your chest as you extend your left leg forward. Hold that position for 30 to 60 minutes, then repeat the same movement with your opposite leg. Perform three to five sets with each leg.
Double Knee Stretch
Using the same starting position as in the two previous exercises, slowly pull both knees up to your chest, hold them there for 30 seconds to a minute, then lower your feet back to the floor. Do five to 10 repetitions and relax. You should really start feeling your back muscles loosening up at this point. However, while these exercises can assuage your discomfort, you want to make sure you aren’t stretching something that is out of alignment. Therefore, a trip to the chiropractor is also advisable, especially if the pain persists more than several days.
If you’re looking how to stretch lower back muscles from a different position, try the prayer stretch. Kneel on a mat with your legs tucked underneath you and your butt on your heels. Keep your toes extended behind you so the arch of your foot is against the mat. Now, lean forward and stretch your arms as far as you can in front of you, placing both hands on the mat. Hold this movement for up to a minute and repeat the motion three to five times.
Standing Trunk Extension
One way how to stretch lower back muscles from a standing position is with the trunk extension. With your feet shoulder-width apart and hands placed on your lower back, lean back slightly and arch your lower back. With this position, you should feel a mild strain on your abdominal muscles and a slight stretch in your lower back. Stay in the arched position for 15 to 20 seconds, then relax. Perform three to five repetitions of this motion.