Regularly stretching the back muscles and other supporting structures of the spine help relieve stiffness. It reduces tension in the back muscles, improves the range of motion, and helps spine mobility.
The following tips should be kept in mind while stretching:
- Always wear loose and comfortable clothing.
- Stretching should always be pain-free. If exercises give you pain, stop immediately.
- Stretch slowly and gently to avoid muscle strain.
- Stretches must be held for at least 15-30 seconds to be effective.
- Repeat a stretch at least five times for maximum effect.
- Stretch one side of the body at a time.
- Always warm up before exercises. Gentle bending, rotation movements at the joints, and a five-minute walk help the body prepare for the exercise.
How do you stretch out your lower back?
Following are the orthopedist- and physiotherapist-recommended exercises for stretching the lower back:
- Back arch:
- Lie face down on the floor.
- Now push upward with your arms, while your hands are placed below your shoulders.
- Your pelvis must keep touching the floor all the while.
- Only raise your back.
- Repeat 10 times daily.
- Bent leg side raises:
- Position yourself on the floor on all fours.
- Raise your left leg off the ground and swing it to the left side away from your hip.
- Slowly return it to the middle and rest it on the floor.
- Repeat 10 times.
- Now repeat the same with the right leg.
- Knee raises:
- Support yourself on all four limbs.
- Now move your left knee to the right elbow slowly.
- Return to the original position.
- Now move your left knee to the left elbow slowly.
- Repeat 10 times and do the same with the other leg.
- Kneeling back extension:
- Be on your hands and knees with your shoulders positioned over your palms.
- Rock forward onto your arms and around your shoulders.
- Allow your low back to drop toward the floor.
- Hold for five seconds.
- Rock backward and sit your buttocks as close to your heels as possible. Extend your arms and hold for five seconds.
- Do this 10 times a day.
- Sitting rotation stretches:
- Sit on the floor with both legs straight out in front of you.
- Cross one leg over the other.
- Slowly twist toward your bent leg, putting your hand behind you for support.
- Place your opposite arm on the side of your bent thigh and use it to help you twist further.
- Look over your shoulder and hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
- Slowly come back to the center.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Repeat the entire sequence four times.
- Knee to chest:
- Lie on your back on the floor.
- Lift one leg and bring your knee toward your chest.
- Grasp your knee or shin and pull your leg carefully in as far as it will go.
- Tighten your abdominals and press your spine to the floor.
- Hold for five seconds.
- Repeat on the other side, then pull both legs in together.
- Repeat the sequence 10 times.
- Hip bridge:
- Lie on your back on the floor with your arms at your sides.
- Your knees should be bent, and your feet should be flat on the floor.
- Tighten your abdominal and buttock muscles.
- Lift your pelvis so that your body is in a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.
- Hold this position for 15 seconds.
- Prayer-Cat-Camel pose:
- Start on all fours.
- Prayer: Breath out as you sit back onto the heels, lower head, tuck chin, and reach arms out.
- Cat: Breath in as you arch your back up and pull in the belly muscles while head remains tucked.
- Camel: Breath in and lower belly and reach chin toward ceiling. Tuck chin and sit back into prayer position. Repeat five times.
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