Back to basics

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Lower back stretching exercises are an excellent daily routine for people who want to mobilise and stretch their back before or at the end of a long day. These exercises are suitable for people with mechanical lower back pain - if you have nerve pain or symptoms in the legs, then it is definitely best to seek advice before trying to stretch or mobilise the problem.

These stretches are designed to loosen the muscles of the back and to encourage the lower spine to move more freely. If you get pain when doing these stretches, you should stop. All stretches should be applied slowly and with due care.

Stretch 1

  • Carefully kneel with legs tucked under you.

  • Lower your head and place your palms and elbows on the floor.

  • Slowly lower your bottom towards your heels.

  • You should feel a stretch in the lower back.

  • Hold the stretch for 20+ seconds and breath slowly.

  • Use your hands and arms to returns to an upright position.

Stretch 1

Stretch 1

Stretch 2

  • Carefully bring one knee towards your chest and hold with both hands (20 seconds).

  • Repeat with the other knee (20 seconds).

  • Now use both legs for a double knee hug – bring them up one leg at a time (20 seconds).

  • You can carefully rock the knees towards the chest 10 times.

  • Lower the legs back to the floor one at a time in bent position.

Stretch 2 - first stretch

Stretch 2 - first stretch

Stretch 2 - second stretch

Stretch 2 - second stretch

Stretch 3

  • Hold your knee with the opposite hand and pull towards that shoulder

  • Hold the stretch for 20 seconds. Repeat 3 times.

  • Repeat the same stretch with the other side.

Cease this stretch if it causes any groin pain.

Stretch 3

Stretch 3

Stretch 4

  • Lie on your back with knees bent and arms spread to stabilise yourself.

  • Rock your knees from side to side slowly.

  • Your hips can move but your shoulders must remain flat.

  • I advise no more than 45° to either side for acute back pain.

  • Expect to feel a stretch on the side you are rocking away from.

Stretch 4

Stretch 4

Stretch 5

  • Lie on your back and spread out your arms for stability.

  • Bend one knee up and place carefully over and beyond the other leg. Straighten the leg and hold for about 15 seconds.

  • Bend the knee again before moving the leg back to the original position.

  • Repeat twice on each side.

Your hip will lift off the floor with the rotation, but the shoulders should remain flat.

Stretch 5

Stretch 5