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Health and Fitness News

Stretch Out Your Back Pain

Try these stretches to relieve low back pain.

Is low back pain slowing you down? Heavy lifting, poor posture, sitting too long, or even mopping the floor can cause pain in your lower back. Many people make the mistake of avoiding exercise when their back aches.

What they don’t realize is a few good stretches can do wonders for relieving back pain and regular exercise helps strengthen back muscles to prevent and treat pain.

Before taking medication or making an appointment with the doctor, seek relief by doing a few gentle stretches every day. Keeping your back, abdominal, hip, and leg muscles loose is a proven way to relieve low back pain.

Want to fend off back pain with stretches? Check out the stretches below. Plan to do each stretch at least three times and hold each stretch for 10 to 30 seconds. The longer you hold the stretch, the better. And remember to move slowly and deliberately, never stretching to the point of pain.

Stretch 1: The Cobra

Loosen tight lower back and abdominal muscles with the cobra. Lie on your stomach, bend your elbows, and place your palms on the floor next to your shoulders. Use your arms to push your upper body off the floor until your arms are straight. Your hips should still rest on the floor. Hold and then return to the starting position. Repeat.

Stretch 2: Knee to Chest

Stretch your lower back and glutes with this exercise. Lying on your back, bend your left knee and slowly bring it up toward your chest. Hold onto your shin, knee, or back of the thigh to gently press your knee into your chest. Repeat three times on each leg.

Stretch 3: Lying Knee Twist

While you’re still on the floor do the lying knee twist for an effective lower back/glute stretch. While on your back, bend your left knee and drop it over toward the floor on the right side of your body. Hold, then bend your right knee and cross it to the floor on the left side of your body.

As a variation, lie on your back, extend each arm out to the side, and bring both knees up toward your chest. Now, keeping both shoulders on the floor, slowly drop your knees to the floor on the right. Hold then rotate them toward the floor on the left.

Stretch 4: Child’s Pose

A lower-back stretch commonly done in yoga is the child’s pose. Get on your hands and knees on the floor. Place your knees a little wider than hip width. Slowly push your hips back until you’re sitting on your feet. Your arms should be extended and your head relaxed between your arms. Relax in this position then return to all fours. Repeat.

Stretch 5: Cat/Cow Stretch

Another yoga pose is the cat/cow stretch. Get on all fours with your hands placed beneath your shoulders and your knees below your hips. Your back should be parallel to the floor (like a cow). Then tighten your core and arch your spine to round your back like a frightened cat. Lower your back to the cow position and repeat. Hold each position for 5 to 10 seconds.

Stretch 6: Seated Twist

A good stretch to do if your back is aching while you’re seated in a chair is the seated twist. Sit up straight with both feet on the floor. Hold onto the left arm of the chair and twist the right side of your body towards the left. Hold, and then turn your body toward the right side of the chair and hold. Repeat.