If you’ve ever experienced lower back pain when lifting one of your grandchildren, bending over to tie your shoe, or even getting out of bed in the morning, you’re not alone. In fact, 31 million Americans suffer from lower back pain, and it’s the single leading cause of disability worldwide.
What causes lower back pain?
When you consider the typical weekday of someone who works a nine-to-five job, it’s easy to see why lower back pain is so prevalent. Many of us spend most of the day sitting – whether in the car, at the office, or on the couch. As a result, the hamstring muscles and iliopsoas muscles (hip flexors) become tight and shortened, which puts a strain on the lower back. Of course, sports injuries and accidents can cause lower back pain, too. Add poor posture, arthritis, obesity, and stress to the mix and back pain becomes even more complicated.
Whether you have joint stiffness, aches, or muscle spasms, lower back pain requires consistent care to banish it for good. Luckily, you don’t have to visit your chiropractor every time you wake up with pain. By performing specific stretches each day that targets your back, hips, and hamstrings, you can soothe a sore back and prevent flare-ups in the future.
Stretches to relieve lower back pain
Hamstring floor stretch
Lie on your back with both legs flat on the floor. Bend your right knee and hug it into your chest. Place a belt or rolled up towel around the ball of your right foot and gently straighten your leg toward the ceiling. If you feel a strain in your lower back, bend your left leg and place your foot on the floor. Hold the position for 3-5 minutes, and then stretch your left side.
Knee to chest stretch
Lying on your back with both knees bent and feet on the floor, hug your right knee into your chest. This posture helps strengthen and lengthen your glutes. Hold the position for 20 seconds, and then switch legs to stretch your left side. Repeat once to stretch each side for 40 seconds.
Reclined twist stretch
Lie on your back and bend your knees, feet flat on the floor. Bring your knees into your chest and open your arms straight out at your sides to form a “T.” With both shoulders pressing down firmly, exhale and slowly drop both of your knees to the right. Hold for 1-2 minutes, and then repeat the stretch on your left side.
The piriformis stretch
Lying on your back, bend your knees and place your feet on the floor. Lift your right foot and cross it over your left knee with the ankle pressed against the top of your thigh. Lift your left foot into the air to bring your shin parallel to the floor. Thread your arms through your legs and interlace your hands on top of your left shin. Hold for 2-3 minutes, and then repeat on the other side.
The quadriceps stretch
Lie down on your right side and bend your right elbow to support your head. Bend your left knee, reaching behind you with your left hand to catch your ankle. Gently pull your left heel into your left buttock, feeling the stretch in the front of your thigh and hip flexor. Hold the position for 30 seconds, and then switch to your left side. Repeat once to stretch each side for 1 minute.
Are you suffering from lower back pain from a workplace injury?
If you are in constant pain from a back injury suffered in the workplace, Gerald Brody & Associates can help. We can make workers' compensation claims to get you workers' compensation benefits. If you are interested in a free consultation, call us at (619) 528-9800.