Most U.S. adults — 50 to 80 percent, to be more precise — will suffer through back pain during their lives. While pinpointing the cause isn’t always easy, some simple exercises can go a long way in relieving chronic discomfort, especially lower back pain. This is because the act of dropping into a deep stretch reduces muscle tension around the spine, which is vital to lower back pain relief.
With that in mind, here are some of the best stretches and exercises for lower back pain.
Big Toe Pose
Also known as a forward fold, big toe pose is a gentle stretch that opens up the lower back on the spot. Begin with feet shoulder-width apart. On a deep exhale, fold forward, clasping your big toes and bringing your nose to your shin. Too difficult? A simple modification is to rest your hands on your thighs, folding as far forward as is comfortable. Either way, be mindful about not rounding your back. Yoga Journal offers fabulous step-by-step instructions.
Cat & Cow Pose
This beginner-friendly exercise begins on all fours, then alternates between two key stretches—arching the back and rounding it. These twin movements stretch the muscles around the spine, bringing about some much-needed relief for the lower back, especially if your pain can be traced back to sciatica. An added bonus: this pose also stretches the hips and abs. Catch a breakdown on how to do it here.
Insiders say this deep stretch increases rotational range in the rib cage, triggering relief in the lower back. You can do it sitting up or lying down, whichever feels more comfortable. The idea is to twist your torso to open up tender muscles. If beginning on your back, bring the right knee to the chest, then extend the right arm out straight before twisting your body to the left, bringing the right knee down as far as you can.
If you try this calming pose to ease lower back pain, you might experience a serene feeling—this posture is said to promote mental clarity. Kneel on the floor or yoga mat with feet together, then recline down so that you’re sitting on your heels before creating some space in between your feet. Recline forward, while aiming to get your chest to rest on your thighs. If this feels too difficult, don’t push it. The more you get in the habit of stretching your lower back, the easier it becomes.
Adopting an exercise regimen that targets lower back pain is a natural way to relieve discomfort without medication or invasive surgeries. When paired with the right complementary treatment, you tackle the pain from more than one angle, giving you the best chances for success. Begin your journey here for lower back pain treatments in Montgomery or Prattville.