The Best Stretches For Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is one of the most common reasons people visit their doctors, and about 80% of people will suffer from lower back pain in their lives (via Cleveland Clinic). Lower back pain is more common among people over 30, overweight, or inactive. If you sit at a desk most of your work day, you could also experience lower back pain. That's because sitting too long makes your back muscles weak so they can't support the discs in your lower back, according to Access Health. The iliopsoas muscles — also known as your hip flexors — also shorten while you're sitting, and they can tug at your lower back as you stand.

If you take these weakened back and hip muscles to the gym, poor form while doing squats and deadlifts can factor into lower back pain (via Men's Health). Although you can work on building more strength in your back and glutes to support your spine, you'll also need to stretch so you can improve your spinal mobility. If you're experiencing back pain, try these exercises once or twice a day, but be mindful that you don't go too far with your stretches (via Healthline).

Stretches for the front and back body

Piriformis syndrome can stem from sitting too long or endurance training, and the back pain might feel like sciatica, according to The Spine Institute of Southeast Texas. The piriformis muscle runs deep in the muscle of your butt, and this muscle can press on your sciatic nerve to cause pain. You can stretch the piriformis muscle by lying on your back with your knees bent. Place the ankle of your right leg on top of your left knee. If this feels okay, draw your left thigh towards your belly, using both hands if possible. Hold this stretch for 30 to 60 seconds, and repeat with the other leg (via Healthline).

To stretch the iliopsoas muscles, find a kneeling lunge position with the right leg in front and the left knee down behind you. Your right foot should be flat, and your hips should be level so you're not favoring one side. Using your hands to help stabilize your torso, lean forward enough to feel the top of your left thigh get a nice stretch (via Spine-Health).

To improve overall mobility in your spine, come to a tabletop position, with hands below your shoulders and hips above your knees. As you inhale, press your belly towards the floor as you arch your spine and lift your chin. During the exhale, pull your belly towards the ceiling as you tuck your chin. Continue moving with your breath for one to two minutes (via Healthline).