As avid adventurers, we have all experienced the nagging, irritating, and tight feeling of lower back pain. Many people at some point in their life will experience lower back pain, and back in the day, the prescription from the doctor was usually bed rest. But nowadays, we’re all far too busy and too restless to stay cooped up in bed for a few days. If you’re looking for a more active approach to curing back pain, here are a few stretches to help relieve back pain.

*When performing these exercises, listen to your body and stop if you feel any pain.

*If you experience chronic back pain, consult your local physio and create a professional plan to combat the problem.

1. Strengthening Lower Stomach Muscles

It is important to strengthen your lower stomach muscles because they work in tandem with your lower back muscles. If your lower stomach muscles are weak, your lower back muscles will have to compensate for the lack of strength, causing tightness and possibly resulting in pain.

There is a great exercise to strengthen these lower stomach muscles in an effective, but gentle and easy manner. Lay on your back with your knees bent to a point where your feet are flat on the floor. First breathe in, and then simply bring one knee to your chest as you breathe out, slowly return your foot back to the ground as you breathe in again. You should repeat this exercise about 6-8 times for each leg.

2. Bird Dog

 

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If you already have lower back pain and you’re trying to recover, or you are trying to prevent it, mobilising the muscles in your lower back is extremely important. The bird dog is an excellent exercise to accomplish this, and it is very easy to learn. To start this exercise, begin on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders, and your knees directly under your hips. Your spine, along with your head, should be parallel with the ground, in a neutral position. First, take a deep breath in. As you breathe out, extend one arm and the opposite leg in line with your spine.

It is important to keep your lower back from sagging down towards the floor during this exercise. After holding for 5-10 seconds, lower your arm and leg slowly as you breathe out. Repeat this exercise 8-12 times on each side for the best results.

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3. Leg Stretch

When experiencing lower back pain, one’s hamstring muscles are likely to be tight. Stretching your hamstring muscles can reduce tightness and pain in your lower back muscles. For this stretch, lay on your back, with your feet on the floor and knees bent. Next, loop a towel, or something similar, around the ball of your feet. Straighten your knee as you slowly pull back on the towel, providing some resistance.

Continue this until you can’t pull your straightened leg any closer to your chest. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds as you should feel a gentle stretch down the back of your leg. Repeat this exercise twice for each leg. Be careful, and work with a physical therapist if you feel numbness from this stretch for the best results and to avoid injury.

4. Cobra Stretch

 

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The Cobra stretch helps to loosen tight abdominal muscles and your lower back. Begin by lying on your stomach with legs extended and your palms, forearms, and elbows flat on the ground. Next, slowly push your body upwards off the ground, so your body weight is resting on your forearms. If the position is comfortable and you can feel a gentle stretch in your abdominal muscles and your lower back, hold the position for 10 seconds. If your back is flexible enough, you can try straightening your arms for an even greater stretch.

5. Hip Stretch

Comparable to the hamstring muscles, your hip flexor muscles are usually very tight if you are experiencing lower back pain. Tight hip flexor muscles can result in a number of problems with your posture on top of lower back pain. A good way to stretch your hip flexors is by kneeling with one knee on the ground while extending your other leg so your knee is bent and your foot flat on the ground. Keep your back straight and push your hips forward as you hold this position for 20-30 seconds. Repeat two times for each side.

6. Bridge Pose

 

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Again, mobilising the lower back muscles is a great way to reduce lower back pain, as well as prevent it. To perform the Bridge stretch you should lie on your back with your knees bent, and feet placed hip distance on the floor. After a deep breath in, lift your hips off the floor as you breathe out until your hips and knees are in a straight line. Repeat 8 to 12 times.

7. Lying Knee Twist

This movement helps stretch the paraspinal muscles and strengthen the abdominal muscles, both important steps in eliminating lower back pain. Start by lying on the ground with your legs extended straight. Next, bend one knee and cross it over the opposite side of your body. Hold this position for 20 seconds, as you should feel a gentle stretch through your back and buttocks muscles.

 

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