Back pain is one of the most common ailments in the United States, affecting 8 out of every 10 Americans at some point in their lives. Although it might seem counterintuitive, staying active is one of the best ways to help alleviate symptoms of back pain. Try performing these five stretches on a regular basis to help you stay flexible and keep doing the activities and hobbies you love.
1. Lying Knee Twist
To perform the lying knee twist, start by lying flat on your back with your legs outstretched in front of you. Keeping your left leg straight and your left foot pointing upwards, bend your right knee up and cross it over the left side of your body. Hold this stretch for 20 to 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
2. Knee to Chest
For this stretch, start the same way as the lying knee twist. Start with the right knee and bend it up towards your chest. Using both arms, gently pull your knee in as far as is comfortable. Hold here for 20 to 30 seconds before switching sides and repeating the same stretch.
3. Hip Flexor Stretch
The hip flexor stretch can be a great option for people with lower back pain and hip pain. There are a few different ways to perform this particular stretch. The first is to start in a standing position and step your right foot out in front of you. Keeping your left leg stretched straight behind you without bending your knee, slowly bend your right knee to drive your hips towards the floor.
A modification of the hip flexor is to start in a kneeling position. Lift your left leg so that it’s at a 90-degree angle with the floor. Without changing the position of your left knee, gently drive your hips into the floor and hold the stretch here for 20 seconds before switching sides and repeating.
4. Cobra Stretch
The cobra is another good stretch to help with low back pain. Start by lying face-down, legs extended behind you. Slowly push yourself upwards so that you’re resting on your forearms. Once you’re comfortable with this stretch, you can raise yourself up to rest on your hands for a deeper stretch.
5. Child’s Pose
You might recognize this stretch, also sometimes called the restful pose, from yoga class. To perform it, kneel with your feet flat on the floor beneath you. Let your upper body fall forward, with your arms outstretched in front of you. Push your hips backward to feel the stretch. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds, or as long as you need to relax and reduce stress!