Lower Back Stretching Exercises
The lower back can be a sensitive area, where many people feel tightness or pain. Causes can include tight hamstrings, weak abdominal muscles, injury due to heavy lifting and even disk damage. Being too sedentary or sitting all day in an office or at a computer can aggravate lower back problems as well. In addition to being more active throughout the day, there are many stretches that can help alleviate your tight lower back. To prevent further damage, check with a doctor before engaging in any stretching exercises.
Stretch for Tight Hamstrings
Tight hamstrings are one of the most common causes of lower back problems. Your hamstrings start at your tibia and fibula and run up into your sitting bones. When they're tight, they can pull on the lower back, causing the area to be out of alignment. If you engage in sports or physical activities, such as running, there's a good chance that you'll experience tight hamstrings at some point. So stretching your hamstrings is imperative in order to alleviate lower back tightness or pain.
Knee to Chest
The knee-to-chest exercise stretches your lower back, glutes and hamstrings. Lie on your back on the floor or on a mat with your legs extended in front of you. Bend your right leg and clasp your hands around the shin. Gently pull the knee toward your chest. Hold this for 30 seconds and repeat with the left leg. Do a second round, and this time try to bring the knee even closer to your chest. Repeat on the left side. Continue for several rounds until your lower back begins to feel a little relieved.
The hand-to-foot exercise helps stretch your hamstrings, as well as your lower back. Lie on your back with your legs extended in front of you. Raise your right leg until it's perpendicular to the floor. Take hold of your big toe, foot, ankle or calf, depending on where you are able to reach, and gently bring the leg toward your chest. Depending on your flexibility level, it may only move a few inches, or it may move very close to your torso. Repeat on the other side.
Wide-Legged Forward Bend
This exercise stretches your lower back, glutes and hamstrings while strengthening the inner thighs. Stand with your feet together, pointing forward, and step your right leg about three feet to the right. Slightly turn your toes in and your heels out. With your hands on your hips, stretch your torso up, bend at the hips and then extend your torso all the way over so that your head is on or slightly above the floor. Hold this for several minutes. Repeat as often as necessary