6 Stretches to Relieve Lower Back Pain

Inactivity can make lower back pain worse. One good way to relieve this common problem is to do some gentle stretches.
6 Stretches to Relieve Lower Back Pain
Elisa Morales Lupayante

Reviewed and approved by the pedagogue in physical education and nutritionist Elisa Morales Lupayante.

Last update: 26 May, 2022

Lower back pain (also known as lumbago) is one of the most common forms of discomfort. As the name suggests, it consists of pain in the lower part of the back. Instinctively, many people react by limiting any movement involving the back muscles. However, this can actually make the problem worse. Have you tried doing some stretches instead?

Lower back pain can last for hours, days or even weeks. It’s a form of muscle pain that usually appears after lifting heavy objects. But this isn’t the only cause. Sudden or awkward movements and staying seated for long periods of time can also cause lumbago. It can also be caused by a car accident, an accident at work or in the home.

Experts recommend that those experiencing lower back pain should stay active, as inactivity can make things worse. One effective way to combat this common problem is to do some low impact exercises. Walking short distances (eg. around the yard) or doing stretches are two good examples.

In this article, we’ll show you 7 super easy stretches which can be really useful for reducing discomfort.

1. Hamstring stretch

  • To start, lie down facing up, so that your back is totally supported by the floor.
  • Bend your left knee at a 90° angle to keep your hips stable. At the same time, raise your right leg, trying to keep it as straight as possible. Your right hip should not lift off the floor; the movement should come from the hip only.
  • Try to keep the leg in this position for 30 seconds to feel the stretch in the back of the right leg.
  • Now, relax your knee.
  • Repeat three times with the same leg before switching sides.

2. Knee to chest stretch

leg-stretch relieve lower back pain
  • Lie down with your back to the floor, keeping your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  • While keeping one foot on the floor, raise the knee of your other leg towards your chest and try to hold this position for 15-20 seconds. For additional support, you can grab your raised knee with your arms.
  • Relax and return to the starting position.
  • Do 2-4 repetitions with each leg.

NB.: You should avoid this exercise if the pain in your lower back increases or spreads to the legs.

3. Spine stretch

back-stretch relieve lower back pain

This exercise is designed to stretch the paravertebral muscles.
  • Lie down on your back with your legs outstretched.
  • Raise your right leg and bend the knee at a 90° angle, then gently twist to bring it down toward the floor on your left side.
  • Hold this position for at least 20 seconds to feel the stretch in the muscles of the spine and buttocks.
  • Try to tense the muscles at the base of your spine.
  • Then, repeat with the other side.
  • Do three repetitions for each side.

4. Piriformis stretch

  • Lie on a cushioned mat with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Raise your right knee towards your chest, and pull it with your left hand towards your left shoulder. Hold this position for 5 seconds. Gradually increase the amount of time to 30 seconds.
  • Repeat the exercise with the other leg.

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5. Quadriceps stretch

  • Lie on your left side.
  • Place your right hand on your right ankle, bending your left leg slightly.
  • Relax your glutes and start pulling your right ankle towards them, while trying to extend your leg.
  • NB.: you must be careful to keep your knees together while maintaining this posture.
  • Hold this position for as long as possible.
  • Repeat with the other leg.

6. Total back stretch

  1. While standing, extend your arms over a table or other sturdy object. Lean forward with your knees slightly bent so that you can reach the edge of the table with your hands.
  2. Try to keep your arms as straight as possible and your head level with your shoulders. Hold this position for 10 seconds.
  3. Then, while standing, stretch your left arm forward and raise your right arm over your head with your elbow bent, while moving the upper body to the left to stretch your side.
  4. Try to hold this position for 10 seconds.
  5. Change sides and repeat.

Finally, we would just like to underline how important these stretches are for strengthening the muscles in the lower back. Doing them regularly is the safest and most effective way to relieve the pain of lumbago.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Atlas, S. J., and Deyo, R. A. (2001). “Evaluating and managing acute low back pain in the primary care setting”, J Gen Intern Med, 16 (2): 120-131.
  • Kucharz, E. J.; Mastalerz-Migas, A.; Kwiatkowska, B.; Gasik; R.; Kotulska, A.; Kowalczewski, J. (2016). “Inflammatory low back pain: diagnostic and therapeutical recommendations for family doctors”, Family Medicine & Primary Care Review, 18 (3): 399-407.
  • Leffler, D. A.; Green, P. H., and Fasano, A. (2015). “Extraintestinal manifestations of coeliac disease”, Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol, 12 (10): 561-571.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.