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woman with back pain

How to stretch the lower back

Got a twinge in your back? It’s probably nothing to worry about. Lower back pain is very common in the UK, and most of the time has no serious underlying cause.

Sometimes heavy lifting or an awkward fall can be the root of the problem, but more often than not it’s just something you simply wake up with in the morning. Thankfully, simple lower back pain doesn’t usually last forever and typically disappears within a matter of weeks. Nevertheless, it’s key to stay active and keep mobile as long periods of inactivity can make the pain worse1.

Even if you don’t suffer from back pain, regularly stretching out your lower back is a good idea as it will help improve your strength and flexibility while protecting your back from any future damage.

Many of us spend long days working at a desk and, unfortunately, this encourages poor posture, which may lead to chronic back problems in later life. Walking, swimming and yoga are all excellent ways to safely strengthen the muscles in your back.

If you’re after lower back stretches which you can perform easily at home, there are numerous options, many of which, when done every day, can help reduce pain in just two weeks2.

Three stretches for your back:

Knee rolls

  1. Lie flat on your back with a small cushion under your head and your arms stretched out to the sides. Relax your upper body.
  2. Bend your knees, keeping them together.
  3. Keeping your shoulders flat and in contact with the floor, slowly roll your knees to one side as far you comfortably can. Next, slowly roll them over to the other side.
  4. Repeat these movements 10 times.

Press-up back extensions

  1. Lie on your front, with your upper body propped up on your elbows, forearms and the palms of your hands. Your hands should be roughly in line with your shoulders.
  2. Keep your neck straight and look towards the floor.
  3. Push down with your hands, lifting your shoulders and extending your lower back. Hold this pose for up to 10 seconds and then slowly return to your starting position.
  4. Repeat 10 times.

Pelvic tilts

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor and slightly apart. Place a small cushion beneath your head if needed.
  2. Slowly tense your abdominal muscles and flatten your lower back. At the same time, gently tilt your pelvis towards your heels until you feel your lower spine start to arch. Hold that position for a few seconds and then gradually return to your original position.
  3. Repeat up to 15 times.

Lower back pain usually eases off within a few weeks. If there is no improvement or the pain gets worse and starts to impact your day to day life, it could be worth seeing your GP.

Last updated: 29 April 2020