We all experience some kind of lower back discomfort, ache or pain at some point of time. Here are 5 effective stretches (my personal opinion) for soothing a sensitive lower back.... tried and tested after a therapy class!
(PS: I was so amazed at the effects felt after the class that I quickly noted down all the stretches done before forgetting them... :P)
.1. Supported Sphinx Pose Stretch
- Coming onto your belly, place a pillow, cushion or bolster underneath your thighs and knees
- Rest your forearms on the floor or mat, soften shoulders away from ears, coming into sphinx pose
- For those with a tight lower back, you will immediately feel the stretch near the lower back (lumbar spine area). If this is too much for you, place your palms on top of each other (facing down) and rest your chin on your palms (crocodile pose).
- Great pose to do while watching TV! Stay for at least 1 min.
- This is very beneficial for me as I can feel my lower back area open up and becoming less tight after the stretch.
2. Supported Sacrum and Lower Back Stretch
When I first come across the term sacrum in yoga class, I kept wondering where and what exactly is the sacrum?
The sacrum is a large triangular bone located at the base of the spine (see photo above). Don't overthink. Simply put, it is located in between your butt and your lower back.
- Place a foam block (low height) underneath your sacrum, making sure that the block is also supporting the hips (your hips are resting on the block and not sinking down). You should feel very comfortable and supported here
- Stretch your legs straight, relax arms besides body and close your eyes
- You will feel super comfortable and relaxed here, this is a gentle stretch to ease the stiffness and tension in the lower back.
- Super big love for this stretch for its therapeutic benefits!
3. Supported Hamstring stretch
- Simply put, hamstrings are the back of our legs
- Lie down on your back and loop a towel or strap on the ball of your right foot
- Press the ball of the foot into the towel or strap loop
- Pull the towel or strap towards the direction of your right hip, making a right angle (You dont have to pull it towards the direction of your face)
- Left leg is straight, left foot flexed, both shoulders and left hip/leg is touching the floor or mat
- Feel the hamstring stretch here and breathe.
- Change sides.
4. Easy Spinal Twist
- For right side twist, bend both knees, shift your hips slightly to the left and drop both knees towards your right.
- Turn your head to the opposite direction of your knees
- You can use your palm to gently press and support your top thigh, while the other arm can be placed in a 90degree (or "cactus arm" position)
- Remember to switch sides!
- Lovely stretch to "reset" the spine and detoxifies the internal organs (liver and kidneys)
5. Legs up the wall
- As the name suggests, wriggle your sit-bones as close to the wall as possible so that they touch the wall. I like to place a cushion, bolster, or folded towel underneath my hips when I do this as it makes me feel more supported and helps me to stay for a longer period of time
- Your arms can be straightened out to the sides or resting beside your body
- Close your eyes and relax here
Legs up the wall (when held) has the following benefits:
- It reduces water retention (edema) in the legs.
- It increases the blood flow to your lower pelvic region (including lower back and sacrum), flushing away stale blood through the reversal of blood flow, giving you the benefits of inversion poses like headstand.
- Helps to calm down a hyperactive mind and nervous system, relaxing your body after a tired day
- Try to stay for at least 3 mins (put on your music and stay for the duration of 1 favourite song)
- Remember to breathe! Inhale, belly rises. Exhale, belly falls.
- If you only have time for one stretch, choose this !
For easing lower back discomfort, I also like to sleep with a pillow placed underneath my knees.
Last but not least, always remember to engage your core (by pulling the belly in towards the spine) whenever you do yoga or carry heavy stuffs. This will help to take off the compression and strain from our lower backs and eliminate lower back pain in the long run!