Question

Back Pain

What stretching exercises can I do if I have lower back pain?

A Answers (1)

  • AGrant Cooper, MD, Physical Medicine/rehabilitation, answered
    Try this hamstring stretch if your lower back hurts. Lie on your back with your legs fully extended. Flatten your back so there is no space between your lumbar spine and the mat. You can do this by contracting your gluteal muscles (also called glutes or buttocks) to raise them slightly off the mat. You should also contract your abdominal muscles, pushing your belly button into the mat. This is a good strengthening exercise that will help protect your lower back.

    Next, bend your left knee so that your left foot is flat on the mat. Now, lift your right leg up to the ceiling, keeping your leg completely straight and your ankle bent. Lift your leg as far as it will go. If your hamstrings are relatively flexible, you may be able to get your right leg to 90 degrees. If not, don't be discouraged. Your goal is to increase your flexibility, slowly and smoothly. Hold this stretch for 20 seconds. Remember to keep your back flat on the mat by contracting your gluteal and abdominal muscles. Return to the starting position. Repeat this exercise with the other leg. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat this entire procedure 3 times. This exercise stretches the hamstrings, and it also stretches the calf muscles and strengthens the hip flexors, gluteal muscles, and abdominal muscles.
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