Many people experience low back pain. It can be triggered by their lifestyle (prolonged sitting or standing), lack of exercise or, vice versa, overexercising their bodies/ bad technique. Being a personal trainer and a private yoga teacher for many years, I’ve worked with several clients with low back tightness or pain. Here are some exercises I suggest all my clients do everyday as a form of therapy for lower back:
- Roll out your back. Place the roller under the low back, lay your chest and had on the ground and lift your legs up. From there, you should play around by rocking hips side to side, doing leg circles, and any other movements that feel good. Spend at least 5 min doing that.
- Stretch your low back. One of the easiest stretches for low back is child’s pose. Start in all fours position, spread your knees a little wider than your hips, bring your big toes together, and sit back on your heels. Stretch your arms forward or let them rest by your sides. Breathe into your back body. I suggest you use pillows under belly/head to allow your body relax into this stretch even more (see the picture above). Hold for several minutes.
- Stretch your hips. Oftentimes, low back tightness is correlated with tension in your hips. My favorite hip stretch is supine figure four – it’s very accessible for most people. Lie down on your back, cross your right ankle over your left thigh, grab under your left thigh with both hands and pull your legs towards your chest. Maintain your tailbone on the ground. You should feel the stretch in your right butt. Breathe into it for at least 45 sec up to 2 minutes. Switch.
- Stretch your calves. Very often low back pain is correlated with calf tightness. One of the best stretches for the calves, hamstrings and low back is downward facing dog pose (Ada Mukha Svanasana). Start on all fours, then lift your knees off the ground and walk your hands forward until your body is in an inverted V shape. Straighten your legs and arms. Reach your tailbone up and back, push your heels towards the ground. Pull your belly in. Look down at your navel. Breathe up and down your spine for at least 45sec-60 sec. Take a break and repeat another 2-3 times. Rest in child’s pose in between sets.
- Use heat. I found very helpful personally for myself to use a heating pad on my back when it is sore. Heat helps to bring more blood circulation to the area of pain and thus help muscles recover sooner. Do it at least once a day, right before sleep or while resting in bed.