If you remain within your comfortable zone and are comfortable, a gentle stretching routine may be a great way to ease back pain. New exercise may sometimes increase discomfort temporarily as your body adapts to the exercise, but the pain should diminish quickly.

Stretches for Lower Back Health: Essential Exercises for Flexibility

Start on all fours, putting your hands shoulder-width apart. As you arch your lower back move your hips forward and then extend them backwards.

Stretching the muscles of the lower back can help relieve back pain and avoid re-injury. It can also improve your posture, which is crucial for your overall health and also to keep a dowager’s hump from occurring.

Bring one leg up to your chest while lying flat on the ground. Repeat until you feel comfortable. This stretch targets the piriformis muscle which can alleviate lower back pain and tightness in the buttocks.

If you’re flection-sensitive, meaning leaning forward creates pain, try beginning this stretch with just a small comfortable arc of motion, and gradually increasing the size as your back becomes stronger. Also, be sure to always do these stretch on a clean and hard surface. If you feel any discomfort then stop the exercise and seek out with a physical therapist or physician. Ideally, you should aim for at least 60 seconds of stretching every day to get the most benefits.

Targeted Hip Stretches to Alleviate Lower Back Discomfort

Stretching your hips can help loosen the lower spine. Include hip-opening exercises in your stretching routine can improve your posture and increase mobility in the spine, says Jamie Costello M.S.C, the fitness director at Pritikin’s Longevity Centre + Spa in Miami.

One of the most commonly used back stretches is the cat-cow, that gently increases flexibility and mobility in the spine, while also targeting the joints and muscles of the hips and shoulders. This exercise is suitable for the majority of people. It can be done while sitting. It is important to keep the stretches in an appropriate range of movement.

Lay on your back, with both knees bent, resting the bottom foot of each leg on the floor for support. Slowly move your right leg forward to be in contact with the outside of your left knee while lowering your head towards the floor.

The importance of stretching the outer thighs

If your lower back or hips are tight, you’ll also be looking to stretch your upper thighs. The muscles in your outer thigh, called abductors, help you move your legs to the side while stabilizing the pelvis. Sitting on your back, place your fingers behind your knees and then lift your leg towards your upper body until you feel a gentle stretch in the back of the leg. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, then repeat with the other leg.

This exercise is gentle and reaches the front of the upper thigh. It might feel uncomfortable in the beginning but don’t push yourself beyond what you feel comfortable with. Stop exercising immediately if notice a sharp pain or tingling. Consult your doctor.

This video will allow you to squeeze in your stretches even if you are short on time. Cassy Ho makes this workout enjoyable thanks to her unique personality and engaging music.

The arms, the triceps and the lower back

Stretching your back muscles is just as important as stretching your arms to reach for your wallet or tie your bra. Experts advise avoiding over-stretching and stretching the same muscle groups too often since it could cause injury to the delicate muscles. Additionally, bouncing during stretches can actually injure these muscles, which is why you should move slowly and with ease, says Litzy.

To stretch your triceps and biceps, bend one arm over your head with your fingertips towards your shoulder blades. Then grasp the back of that elbow with the other hand. Keep this posture until you feel a slight stretch across your chest and shoulders. Repeat the stretch on the opposite side. This stretch can help improve circulation in the wrists as well as forearms. It can also help you improve your posture. The deltoid muscle is a triangular musculature at the top of your shoulders and this stretch will help loosen it and ease some lower back pain, as well.