For the sedentary nine to five worker exercise and stretching is key to relieving lower back pain as well as preventing heart disease and diabetes. Over time if we repeat certain activities (i.e sitting for prolonged periods) with no counter-active forces we develop tight and over-active muscles which cause pain and inflammation.
While a proper diagnosis and treatment plan is vital for resolving any lower back pain issue. Here are my favourite and most effective stretches for becoming flexible, strong and most importantly pain free!
(Please note: If you have been diagnosed with a disc bulge or sciatica forward bending can be detrimental to your recovery. Please consult with Damian or Georgina if you have any concerns or queries.)
Lower back pain and Sciatica Stretches
1. Hamstring Stretch
Lying on your back, bend your right knee into your chest and place a strap or rolled-up towel around the ball of your foot. Straighten your leg toward the ceiling. Press out through both heels. If the lower back feels strained, bend the left knee and place the foot on the ground. Hold for 3-5 minutes and then switch to the left let for 3-5 minutes
Lying on your stomach, prop yourself up on your forearms. Align your elbows directly under your shoulders. Press firmly through your palms and the tops of your feet. Press your pubic bone forward. You will feel sensations in your lower back, but breathe through it. You are allowing blood flow into the lower back for healing. Hold for 1-3 minutes.
3. Gluteal stretch
From all-fours, bring your right knee behind your right wrist with your lower leg at a diagonal toward your left hip. Square off your hips toward the ground. Bend forward. Widen the elbows and place one hand on top of the other as a pillow for your forehead. Hold 2-3 minutes and then switch to the left side for 2-3 minutes.
4. Cat Cow
Starting on all fours with wrists underneath shoulders and knees underneath hips.
In one smooth motion we move our whole spine into extension. Head extends up, hips tilt anteriorly and shoulder blades pitch back to allow extension through the mid back.
From this position we smoothly move our whole spine into flexion. Head bends forward towards our chest, mid-back pushes towards the sky and pelvis tilts posteriorly by contracting abdominals.
The ‘cat’ and ‘cow’ positions switched back and forth moving slowly and in one smooth motion.
Do 10 transitions back and forth between the two positions.