5 Best Lower Back Pain Stretches and Exercises

I used to wake up each morning with severe lower back pain. I suppose it is an unfortunate combination of getting older and being overweight for so many years. Although I have gotten a lot healthier these past few years and lost over 50 pounds, I still get periods of back pain on the lower right side of my back, especially in the mornings. I have done a considerable amount of physical therapy for my lower back over the years, and have learned a lot from the experts about lower back pain stretches and lower back pain exercises to help reduce and alleviate the pain.

There are five exercises that I do routinely each morning for mobility, flexibility, and strengthening of my lower back. In the video below you will see examples of these exercises, demonstrated in detail, by the top experts in physical therapy and pain management. After the video, you will find a list of these lower back pain exercises and brief descriptions as well for those who prefer to read about it. However, I do advise that you watch the video at some point for visual instructions on how to complete each exercise.

Best Lower Back Pain Stretches and Exercises

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Standing extensions are great for alleviating lower back pain due to a herniated disc. I had a herniated L5/S1 disc and the standing extensions were one of the most beneficial exercises that were prescribed by my physical therapist for reducing the back pain on my lower right side.

To do this lower back pain exercise, you need will stand up straight with your abdominals engaged. Place your hands on your lower back, push your pelvis forward, then return to your starting position. That is one rep. I usually do three sets of 5-8 reps. You may feel a slight pinch during the extension, but the pain shouldn’t worsen. If it does, then you may need to start with some of the other exercises until your lower back strengthens a bit before attempting the standing extension.

2. Side Plank

The side plank is an exercise that can be done to strengthen the muscles in the lower back and is useful if you are experiencing back pain on the lower left side of your back or the lower right side of your back. You can isolate one side, however, I recommend working both sides equally. You can start with a 20-30 second hold per side, and as that gets easier over time, you can increase either your length of time or amount of reps.

3. Piriformis Stretch

This stretch feels amazing. It comes in as a close second to an actual orgasm (I am not joking). To execute this lower back pain stretch, you do the following. Lie on your back, cross one leg in front of the other bringing your knee toward your chest and pull. Hold this stretch for as long as feels comfortable, usually about 15-20 seconds per leg.

4. Cat/Cow

The Cat/Cow is a beginner yoga exercise and one that is extremely useful for stretching and flexing the spine and abdominals. The movement involves starting on all fours and moving the spine from a rounded position to an arched position. In yoga, each movement is done with a corresponding inhalation and subsequent exhalation of breath.

The Cat/Cow is a wonderful exercise for increasing flexibility of the spine, alleviating lower back pain on either the lower left or right side, as well as improving your overall posture. It is one of the easier, yet more effective lower back pain stretches.

5. Knee Rolls

This is the first exercise I do each morning when I wake up. You can do it in bed, or from the floor directly next to the bed. It is simple. All you need to do is lie flat on your back, and roll your knees from one side to the other. This is a great mobility exercise for relieving lower back pain. It really loosens up my lower back and allows me to progress to the other lower back exercises easily and effectively.


Final Thoughts

There are a variety of other lower back pain stretches and lower back pain exercises that I often incorporate into the above morning routine. Once you master these five lower back pain exercises, I recommend learning the child’s pose, glute bridges, superman stretch, hyper-extensions, standard planks, and knee to chest stretch.

In the future, I may write about these additional stretches and mobility exercises for lower back pain, but for now, I recommend mastering the five exercises featured in the video.

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