10 Stretches For Lower Back Pain Relief

Lower back pain is the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading reason for missed work. About 80% of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lifetimes.

It can be annoying and can affect your daily activities. However, there are stretches you can do anywhere to help relieve it and prevent back pain from returning. It’s always good to discuss with your doctor about your back pain before starting any stretch routines.

10 Lower Back Stretches

1. Child’s Pose

Child’s pose is a resting pose that stretches out the muscles at the lower back.

    • Go down on fours
    • Ensure your wrists are directly under your shoulders in a straight line and your knees directly under your hips
    • Move your body to the back to sit on your heels with your arms stretched out in front of you
    • Maintain this pose for 30 seconds
    • Release and return to the starting position

2. Piriformis Stretch

One of the major causes of low back pain is a tight piriformis muscle. The piriformis muscle is found in the buttock. It starts from the sacrum so when it gets tight it affects the mobility of the back.

      • Lie on your back with your knees bent
      • Place your right ankle on your bent left knee
      • Put your two hands behind your left thigh
      • Use your two hands to pull your left thigh towards your chest
      • Hold for 30 seconds
      • Release and repeat on the other side

3. Knee To Chest Stretches

    • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor
    • Pull your knee towards your chest with your two hands
    • Hold for 30 seconds
    • Release and repeat on the other leg
    • This can be done with both knees towards your chest
    • It will look like you are hugging your knees

4. Downward Facing Dog

    • This pose stretches the hamstrings, calves and the lower back muscles
    • Go on fours on your mat. This means your palms and knees should be on the mat
    • Your wrist should be directly under your shoulder and your knees directly under your hips in a straight line
    • Push back through your hands, straighten your elbows and lift your hips towards the ceiling and straighten your knees
    • Let your heels reach for the ground. They do not have to touch the ground but if your heels can, why not?
    • Your palms should be shoulder-width apart and your feet hip-width apart
    • Hold for 30 seconds and slowly go back to starting position

5. Pigeon Pose

Pigeon pose
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    • This pose stretches the hip flexors and also stretches the lower back muscles
    • Go into a downward-facing dog position
    • Take your right leg to the back
    • Slide your right leg forward under you towards your wrist with your right knee bent
    • Keep your left leg straight behind you and ensure your right buttock is on the mat
    • Place your palms by your side and slowly bend from your waist forward to rest on your bent right leg
    • Extend your arms in front of you
    • Hold for 20 seconds
    • Release and repeat on the other leg

6. Cat-Cow Pose

    • Go on all fours on the mat
    • Ensure your wrist is directly under your shoulder and your knees directly under your hips to avoid strain on your wrist
    • Curve your back out with your head pointing towards the ground and then slowly curve your back in with your head pointing towards the ceiling
    • Repeat 5 times

7. Forward Fold

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    • Stand erect with your feet slightly apart
    • Raise your two hands over your head
    • Contract your abdominal muscles and slowly bend from your waist with your hands reaching for the mat with your palms in front of your toes
    • Bend your knees slightly
    • Remain in this position for 20 – 30 seconds
    • Slowly come up and return to starting position

8. Seated Spine Twist

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    • Sit on a mat with your legs straight in front of you
    • Bend your right knee and then cross it over your straight left leg
    • Twist your upper body towards the right and place your left elbow in front of your right knee
    • Place your left hand behind you
    • Stay in this position for 20 – 30 seconds
    • Release and repeat on the other side

9. Quad Rockers

    • Go on all fours on a mat
    • Rock your body back into a child’s pose then rock your body forward past your wrists
    • Repeat this rocking for 30 seconds

10. Static Lunge

    • One of the major causes of low back pain is tight hip flexors. This exercise stretches the hip flexors and then causes a domino effect to relieve pain at the lower back.
    • Stand on a mat with feet together and look straight ahead
    • Take a big step forward with your right leg
    • Lower your body towards the ground till your knee is flexed at 90 degrees
    • A stretch will be felt in the thigh of the left leg
    • Hold for 5 seconds and continue by alternating the legs till you have done 10 reps.

Benefits Of Stretching

Stretching has a lot of positive benefits. They are not only recommended for pain relief but for pain prevention.

Some of the major benefits are:

  1. It increases the range of movement of a stiff joint.
  2. It reduces tension in the muscle. A tense or tight muscle can lead to lower back pain.
  3. It increases blood flow. There may be a restriction of blood flow which may lead to muscle soreness. Stretching on a regular basis can increase blood flow to the muscles.

Precautions To Take While Stretching

  1. Before doing any of these stretches, see a doctor. Some of these stretches may not be suitable in certain conditions.
  2. The stretch does not have to be 100% accurate. All that matters is the correct technique.
  3. Do not bounce while doing a stretch as it can cause an injury.
  4. Always warm-up before stretching. A warmed up muscle will be supple and pliable for stretching.
  5. Do not force your body. Remember, to take it slow.

How To Prevent Lower Back Pain

  1. Be active and exercising regularly.
  2. Reduce your sitting time.
  3. Take stretch breaks at work or meetings or even at presentations. Just 5 minutes, 5 times a day can help.
  4. Sit correctly.
  5. Lift the right way, flex your knees when you need to pick up an item from the floor.
  6. Wear the right kind of shoes especially if your job involves a lot of standing and walking.


Low back pain can be very disturbing and hinder your regular daily activities. Stretches are a non-pharmacological way of relieving and preventing back pain and can be done anywhere and at any time.

You should discuss with your doctor first to be sure what’s causing your back pain before attempting any stretch routine.

Latest posts by Adekanmi Lipede, M.Sc, MPH (see all)
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