13 Lower Back Stretches Using Yoga To Help Reduce Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain can be very sensitive for some people. Therefore, lower back stretches should be part of your movement routine. This applies whether you are looking for lower back pain relief or gentle stretching to strengthen your lower back muscles. Yoga for the spine and other important back areas is where it all comes in.
There are many causes of lower back pain. However, poor core posture and poor posture (from sitting all day) are the most common. Yoga can help with both of these issues.
It is important to identify the cause of your pain and take steps to prevent it from happening again. In some cases, it may be a good idea to consult a physical therapist or doctor. In many cases, gentle stretching can help relieve tightness and give your lower back some relief. This article will show you how yoga can be used to help your lower back.
Yoga can help reduce lower back pain.
Simply put, yoga movements and the isometric (or movement-free) holds can help build strength and mobility. Both of these factors play a part in reducing low back discomfort.
“Yoga is great to work on flexibility and Core stability. Correcting posture and breathing are all important for a healthy back,” Sasha Cyrelson tells SELF.
Yoga is safe to practice daily, she says. However, it is important to be in tune with your body and not do anything that causes discomfort.
Dr Cyrelson advises that you should not be in pain. “Pain is a sign that something is not right with our bodies.” It should not hurt if it does. This means that you should feel some muscle tension and release. However, if you feel any pinching, sharp pain or numbness, then ease back on the stretch.
Is it OK to do yoga when you have lower back pain?
Dr Cyrelson recommends seeing a physical therapist if you have ever had lower back injuries or disc problems. It’s important to seek medical attention if you have a problem that needs immediate treatment.
Yoga stretches can help with tightness and alignment problems in the lower back. Child’s pose, downward dog and child’s pose are great because they relieve tight spots in your lower back.
What should you do if your lower back hurts?
Each of the stretches is beneficial on its own, but they’re particularly helpful as a flow, New York City-based instructor Shanna tells Self.
You can use the following list to help lower back pain: Choose five to six poses from the list and hold each for 10 to 1 minute. Take deep breaths during the hold.
You can hold each pose for up to three minutes if your lower back feels better after doing this sequence. You can practice yoga every day if that’s what you want, but beginners who have back pain should only do it a few times per week. Many people find it helpful to break down the lower back stretches into small sessions when their back feels tight. This could be after a long day at work or first thing in the morning.
These are some yoga-inspired lower back stretches.
- The Child’s Pose
- The dog that is downward facing
- Standing Forward Bend
- Pose of the Sphinx
- Slow Rock slow Rock
- Pose for a pigeon reclined
- Reclined Supine Twist
- Upward-facing dogs
- Crescent Lunge
- Thread the Needle
- Happy Baby
Jessica Rihal (GIFs 1, 7 and 8) is a plus-size yoga teacher (200-HR) and a strong advocate for fitness/wellness. Shauna Harrison (GIFs 2 & 12), a Bay Area-based trainer and yogi. Shanna Tyler, a New York City-based Yoga instructor. Devon Stewart (GIFs 9-11), a Harlem-based yoga instructor and sexual/reproductive health doula.
The Child’s Pose
- Tyler says that Child’s pose relieves the pressure from your lower back. It aligns and lengthens the spine, which gives you a good stretch and decompresses it.
- Place your knees on the mat, with your hips apart. Keep your feet together. As you inhale, take a deep breath in and place your torso on top of your thighs.
- You can lengthen your neck by drawing your ribs closer to your tailbone and your crown away from your shoulders.
- Place your forehead on the floor, and extend your arms out in front.
- Keep it for 1-2 minutes.
- Tyler states that this is “probably my favorite stretch for my lower back.” It promotes mobility and allows for good flexion and extension of your spine. “It also relieves any tension in the lower back.” The cat/cow can also help you understand what your neutral spine looks like–not too round or too arched–which can improve your posture.
- Start on your fours, with your shoulders over your wrists and your hips above your knees.
- Slowly inhale and exhale. The cat pose is where you drop your head towards the ground.
- As you inhale, lift your head, chest and tailbone towards the ceiling and arch your back to the cow.
- This should take 1-3 minutes
The dog that is downward facing
- Tyler says that sometimes we feel lower back pains due to tight backs. You can stretch your calves and hamstrings by using a down dog. To make it more comfortable, bend your knees slightly if you are particularly tight.
- Keep your hands on the ground in Child’s pose. Next, lift your butt and turn your back towards the downward-facing dog.
- Spread your fingers. Straighten your legs and lower your heels towards the ground.
- Place your head in your arms and relax your neck.
- Keep it for 30-60 second
Standing Forward Bend
- This pose can also stretch the backs of your legs and lengthen the spine. Both of these benefits relieve the lower back. Tyler suggests that you modify this pose by keeping your knees slightly bent if straightening hurts your back.
- Slowly step forward from a downward-facing dog to reach the top of your mat. Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, stand up.
- Straighten your legs as far as possible and let your torso hang free.
- To create a long spine, tuck your chin into your chest and relax your shoulders.
- Keep it for 30-60 seconds.
- Dr Cyrelson’s tip: “Keep your butt out of this move, so the bend comes from your hips and not your back,”
Pose of the Sphinx
- Tyler says that the “sphinx pose creates an attractive natural curve of your lower back.” This pose also engages your abdominals, which can help support the lower back.
- Place your legs together on your stomach and extend your arms straight behind you.
- As you raise your chest off the ground, place your elbows below your shoulders.
- Place your hips, thighs and knees on the floor. Next, think about lengthening and keeping your shoulders open.
- You should only raise your back enough to feel some stretch in your lower back. Do not hyperextend and stop immediately if there is any discomfort or pain.
- This position should be held for between 30-60 seconds.
- Dr Cyrelson recommends that you tuck your tailbone under and pull your belly button toward your spine to reduce hyper extension.
Slow Rock slow Rock
- Tyler says she enjoys adding a slow rocking motion in this basic stretch, as it gives her a “nice, natural bodyweight massage”.
- Place your head on your stomach.
- Bring your knees to your chest.
- Slowly rock your trunk back and forth while still holding on to your legs.
- This should take 1-2 minutes.
Reclined Supine Twist
- Tyler states that this stretch is great for your lower back. It can also provide pain relief if you are tight. However, some people may find twisting too irritating to their lower backs. Stop doing this pose if it causes pain. If you feel tight, you can place a towel under your knees.
- Place your head on your stomach.
- Bring your knees to your chest. Next, lower your knees to the chest and then twist your torso in the opposite direction.
- When you draw your legs toward the ground, make sure your hips and knees are in line. Also, keep your chest as straight as possible.
- This stretch should be held for 30-60 seconds. Then, go back to the beginning and do it again.
Pose for a pigeon reclined
- Tyler explains that figure four is a movement that stretches the hips and inner thighs.
- Place your head on your stomach.
- Cross your right foot over your left quad, and bend your left knee.
- Gently pull your left leg toward your chest by holding it in your back.
- You can stretch for 30-60 seconds until you feel comfortable.
- Reverse the process and do it again.
- Carol Mack, D.P.T. C.S.C.S, a physical therapist and strength coach, tells SELF that if you have back pain from bending forward, this can help. She says that this also activates the muscles around your spine, which helps to support painful areas.
- Begin with a low plank. This means that you should be in a plank position as if you’re about to do push-ups. Then lower half of the way to the ground, keeping your elbows close to your body.
- Now, lower your hips to the ground and then flip your toes so that your feet touch the floor.
- To push your chest upward, tighten your core. To open your chest, pull your shoulders back and squeeze your shoulder blades.
- Start by stretching for 30 seconds. Then, work your way up to holding the position for 1 minute or more.
- Dr Mack suggests another way to relieve pressure from the lower back. This is because it targets your quads and hip flexors, which allows them to stretch and strengthen for better support.
- To start, take a step forward with your left leg and place your feet about a foot apart.
- Keep your front knee bent and your heel up off the ground. Your front leg should be bent, so your thigh is parallel with the floor. Square your hips towards the front.
- Stretch your arms out to the ceiling, extending your arms towards the sky on either side of your head. You can also press your hips into the mat, feeling the stretch in your hips.
- Keep it for 30-60 seconds, then switch sides.
- Dr Mack says that although this is not a stretch, it can help strengthen your core. This supports the spine and can reduce the pain by taking pressure off the lower back.
- Start on your fours with your knees below your hips and your hands on the ground directly beneath your shoulders.
- Your knees should be lifted off the ground and your legs extended behind you. Now, you should be on your toes with your hands and body in a long straight line.
- Your palms should be flat on the ground, your hands shoulder-width apart, your shoulders in line with your wrists and your core engaged. Look down at your mat to ensure your spine and neck remain neutral.
- You can hold this position for 30 seconds. However, you might need to increase your effort to keep it that long. You will get longer if you plank more often.
Thread the Needle
- Dr Mack suggests that rotation of the upper body and thoracic spines is essential for a healthy back. This gentle yoga stretch is great for this purpose.
- Place your hands on a table and place your shoulders over your wrists.
- Place your right arm under your left, and cross your body with your palm facing upward.
- As you bend your left elbow, gently lean towards your right side. You should feel a stretch at the back of your right shoulder.
- This pose should be held for one minute, then move on to the left side.
- Dr Mack describes it as a child’s pose. It is gentle and effective for supporting your back while also helping to strengthen your muscles, she says. Your hip adductors and hips will be stretched in this instance.
- Place your face up with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground.
- Grab your feet off of the ground and lift them with your hands.
- Pull your feet towards your chest, and then let your knees drop toward the ground on either side. Keep your back flat to the floor.
- Keep it for 1-2 minutes.