13 Stretches for Lower Back Pain

July 27, 2023

10 min read

Are you suffering from chronic or acute lower back pain? That could be due to a bulging disc, arthritis, or osteoporosis. Your lower back bears a lot of weight during your normal activities of daily living, so you must keep it strong to help protect during your normal activities and demands of employment.

The following lower-back stretches are easy to do and maintain as part of your daily routine. You can use a yoga mat or folded up towel to perform these exercises.Remember to be gentle with your body and never move to the point of pain.

1. Child’s Pose

The Child’s pose combines gentle stretching with rest, allowing you to take a deep breath while relaxing the muscles around your hips, thighs, ankles, shoulders, and neck. It’s one of the best stretching poses for people experiencing low back pain.

How to do the Childs pose:

  • Kneel down on the yoga mat and sit on your feet. Spread your knees a bit.
  • Stretch your back all the way down while resting your belly between your thighs.
  • Touch the yoga mat with your forehead and stretch your arms in front of your head.

Stay like this for as long as it feels comfortable.

2. Cat-Cow Stretch

If you spend most of your day sitting down, your spine will thank you for making the Cat-cow stretch a part of your routine. It involves not one but two movements that are essential for disc circulation and overall back health – flexion and extension.

How to do the Cat-cow stretch:

  • Get down on your knees and hands like a cat. Make them square.
  • Your knees should be aligned with your hips, wrists with the shoulders.
  • Drop your belly down while looking up and sticking your tailbone. Inhale.
  • Tuck in your tailbone, drop your head, and round your spine up. Exhale.

Keep changing positions for up to 10 breaths.

3. Supine Knee-to-Chest Stretch

Supine knee-to-chest stretch is another go-to exercise for low back pain, especially if you’re diagnosed with sciatica. It helps reduce stiffness and elongate muscles, making it a suitable lower back treatment for various conditions.

How to do Supine knee-to-chest stretch:

  • Lie down with your knees bent. Your lower back should be pressed to the floor.
  • Gently bring one knee to the chest and keep the other foot flat on the floor.
  • You can keep the other leg straight on the mat if it feels more comfortable.

Change legs after 15–30 seconds and repeat.

4. Figure 4 Stretch

Figure 4 stretch should feel fantastic if you have tight hips. Pain and discomfort from tight hips almost regularly include low back pain, in addition to hamstring strains and pain in the upper groin area. Tight hips or not, this stretch will help your back.

How to do Figure 4 stretch:

  • Lie down on the floor and bring the right knee up, making a right angle.
  • Your back should be straight, flat, and pressed against the yoga mat.
  • Cross the left ankle over your right knee and keep the left foot flexed.
  • Grab your right thigh with both hands and pull it toward your chest.

Hold this position for 5 seconds, then change legs.

5. Seated Forward Bend

The Seated forward bend looks easy enough, but don’t let it trick you. Whether you’re in pain right now or not, it’s unlikely you’ll get it on your first try. Bending forward requires flexibility, which is something we lose long before our backs start to hurt.

How to do a Seated forward bend:

  • Sit down on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Flex your feet.
  • Lean forward with your spine straight. Extend your arms as far as you can.

Keep inhaling and exhaling for 1 minute or longer.

6. Standing Forward Bend

This position is beneficial for low back health and helps properly stretch the hamstrings and calves. It is especially helpful if you experience low back pain due to stress caused by lifting heavy objects or high-impact sports like running or golf.

How to do a Standing forward bend:

  • Stand tall and raise your arms above your head. Inhale.
  • Exhale, strengthen your core, and bend forward.
  • Rest your hands on the floor or hug your thighs.
  • Press your heels into the floor and let your head hang.

Try to hold on for 1 minute or longer if you can.

7. Cobra Stretch

Cobra stretch targets the muscles on the front side of your thighs, called hip flexors. It also lengthens your core all the way up to your chest, making it strong enough to carry your spine and put stress away from your sore lower back.

How to do Cobra stretch:

  • Lie with your stomach down and the tops of your feet pressed against the floor.
  • Put your palms down along your ribs and make a straight angle with your elbows.
  • Inhale and start lifting your torso up. Squeeze your stomach and shoulder blades.
  • Your shoulders should go back and away from your ears to protect your back.

Stay in this position for at least 30 seconds.

8. Pigeon Pose

When a doctor recommends hip opening exercises, that usually includes the Pigeon pose – a more advanced stretching exercise that targets both hips and back. It’s excellent for prevention but might be too much while you’re in pain.

How to do Pigeon pose:

  • Sit on the floor and slide your right knee forward toward your right wrist.
  • Extend your left leg straight back, keeping the top of the feet pressed on the floor.
  • Slowly lower your torso down over your right knee and keep your spine straight.
  • If you can, rest your forehead down and forearms on the ground over your head.
  • Make sure that your hips are level and square to the front of your yoga mat.

Hold the pose for 1 minute, then switch legs.

9. Thread the Needle Stretch

Whether you’re feeling sore in your neck or struggling with chronic low back pain, Thread the needle is one of the best ways to stretch an aching back. It helps relax the shoulders and mobilize the spine, allowing for painless movement.

How to do Thread the needle:

  • Get down on all fours, your wrists under the shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  • Extend your right arm high towards the ceiling and let your gaze follow your fingers.
  • Now, lower it under your chest, between your left arm and left thigh.
  • Let your torso follow your arm as you lay your right shoulder on the yoga mat.
  • Extend your left arm straight over your head and tilt your head to the left.

Stay like that for as long as you can, then switch sides.

10. Spinal Twist

Twisting motions can make or break your spine, and quite literally so. Before you add this pose to your daily routine, you should find a health professional or chiropractor in Mesa and have your back condition properly diagnosed by a professional.

How to do a Spinal twist:

  • Lay flat on your back and lay your feet flat on the floor with your knees bent.
  • Extend your arms out to the sides to form a “T” shape with your body.
  • Lift your hips slightly off the floor and gently shift them to the right, just an inch.
  • Now, bring your right knee to your chest and extend your left leg on the yoga mat.
  • With your left hand, gently guide your right knee across your body to the left side.
  • Keep your right shoulder grounded but allow your hip to lift slightly off the ground.

Hold this pose for 30 seconds before you switch sides.

11. Bridge Pose

Bridge pose is a popular “chest opener” that holistically affects your body. As it opens your chest, it also stretches your thighs, glutes, and back muscles. It’s very soothing for your central nervous system, which helps alleviate stress and anxiety.

How to do a Bridge pose:

  • Lay down with your knees bent and your feet flat on the yoga mat.
  • Separate your legs a little – just a hip distance away from each other.
  • Keep your arms alongside your body, your palms facing the ground.
  • Gently lift your hips up, but keep your shoulders and upper back down.
  • Keep pressing through your feet, glutes, and core to maintain stability.

Hold the pose for a few breaths and repeat.

12. Pelvic Tilt

The pelvic tilt is highly effective in alleviating persistent pain, as it reduces stiffness in the muscles in the lower back by stretching them gently. It should feel very easy on your back, abdomen, and glutes, so there’s no need to put additional pressure on it.

How to do a Pelvic tilt:

  • Lie flat on your back and bend your knees.
  • Tighten your core and strengthen your back.
  • Then, slowly start bending your pelvis up.

Stay in this position for 10 seconds and repeat.

13. Hamstring Stretch

The hamstring stretch is a good solution for a pinched nerve, but you must be careful. To avoid making the injury worse, consult a professional and ease into it. This stretch can improve tension in your lower back in only a few days.

How to do a Hamstring stretch:

  • Sit on the yoga mat and extend your legs in front of you.
  • Strengthen your back and engage your core muscles.
  • Bend your right knee while keeping the foot flat on the floor.
  • Reach forward with both hands and touch your toes if you can.

Keep your back straight for 30 seconds, then switch.


Back pain can often be a result of muscle tightness but also physical stress, so remember to never push yourself too far in a stretch. Find the position that feels the most comfortable and allow your body to gradually increase the range of movement as you become more flexible.

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