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  • Writer's pictureAJ Kirkpatrick, PT, DPT

5 Effective Stretches for Lower Back Pain Relief

Lower back pain is a common ailment that can affect people of all ages and lifestyles. Whether you're sitting at a desk all day or staying active with sports and exercise, the strain on your lower back can lead to discomfort and decreased mobility. However, incorporating stretches into your daily routine can help alleviate tension and promote flexibility, ultimately providing relief from lower back pain. In this blog post, we'll explore five effective stretches that may help you find relief and improve the health of your lower back.


1. Cat-Cow Stretch:

The cat-cow stretch is a gentle yet effective way to mobilize the spine and alleviate tension in the lower back.


  • Begin on your hands and knees with your wrists aligned under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.

  • Inhale as you arch your back, lifting your chest and tailbone towards the ceiling (cow position).

  • Exhale as you round your spine, tucking your chin to your chest and pressing your hands into the floor (cat position).

  • Repeat this movement for 8-10 breaths, focusing on the fluidity of the motion and the stretch in your lower back.


2. Child's Pose:

Child's pose is a relaxing stretch that targets the muscles of the lower back, hips, and thighs.


  • Start on your hands and knees, then sit back on your heels with your knees wide apart.

  • Extend your arms forward on the floor, lowering your chest towards the ground.

  • Rest your forehead on the mat and allow your spine to lengthen as you breathe deeply into the stretch.

  • Hold this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute, focusing on relaxing tension in your lower back.


3. Piriformis Stretch:

The piriformis stretch is particularly beneficial for relieving lower back pain caused by tightness in the piriformis muscle, which runs from the sacrum to the thigh bone.


  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.

  • Cross your right ankle over your left knee, flexing your right foot.

  • Reach your hands behind your left thigh and gently pull your left knee towards your chest.

  • Hold this stretch for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then switch sides and repeat.


4. Standing Hamstring Stretch:

Tight hamstrings can contribute to lower back pain by pulling on the pelvis and creating strain in the lower back. This standing hamstring stretch helps to lengthen the hamstrings and alleviate tension in the lower back.


  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent.

  • Hinge forward at your hips, keeping your back flat and your chest lifted.

  • Reach your hands towards the floor or place them on a chair or yoga block for support.

  • Hold this stretch for 30 seconds to 1 minute, feeling the stretch along the back of your legs and in your lower back.

  • If this is too difficult you can adjust to a seated hamstring stretch. Sit on the edge of a chair, straighten one leg out in front of you with your heel on the ground and, while trying to keep your back flat, try to reach for the toe of the leg that is extended forward.


5. Supine Twist:

The supine twist is a gentle stretch that helps to release tension in the muscles of the lower back and hips while improving spinal mobility.


  • Lie on your back with your arms extended out to the sides in a T position.

  • Bend your knees and draw them towards your chest.

  • Lower both knees to one side, keeping your shoulders flat on the ground.

  • Hold this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then switch sides and repeat.


Incorporating these five stretches into your daily routine can help alleviate lower back pain and improve the health of your spine. Remember to listen to your body and modify the stretches as needed to suit your individual needs and abilities. If you experience persistent or severe lower back pain, it's important to consult with a physical therapist or healthcare professional for personalized guidance and treatment.

If you're near the Mission Viejo area and think you, or someone you know, might benefit from physical therapy, or to get any questions answered, please don’t hesitate to reach out for a free consultation! (just mention this blog)

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