Published On: November 30th, 2022Tags: , ,

About the Author: James McAfee, PT, DPT

Dr. James McAfee, PT, DPT is a physical therapist with MovementX in Seattle, WA.

Top 5 Daily Stretches for Lower Back Pain

More than 80% of people have at least one episode of low back pain during their lifetime.

Whether it’s chronic or acute, caused by overuse or muscle strains, lower back pain can cause significant strain on your lifestyle and movement.

At MovementX, our team of specialized physical therapists is here to help you manage your lower back pain symptoms and get back to enjoying life. Try these five lower back stretches to ease pain, support movement, and prevent your symptoms from reoccurring.

5 Physical Therapist Recommended Lower Back Stretches for Pain

When lower back pain hits, it can feel like all you want to do is lie down with a heating pad—the heat can stay, but the notion that rest is your only option? That can go.

In fact, that sedentary position might be causing a majority of your symptoms. Moving your body, walking around, and improving your posture can help strengthen your muscles, support your spine, and reduce pain.

Next time you feel pain in your lower back, try these five lower back stretches to improve symptoms and relieve pain.

#1 Knee(s) to Chest

Step 1: Lie on your back with both legs bent at the knees and your feet flat on the floor.

Step 2: Use your hands to hug one knee to your chest with your other foot flat on the floor.

Step 3: Keep your back flat on the floor and hold for anywhere from five to 30 seconds.

Step 4: Release your leg and slowly lower it back to the starting position.

Step 5: Repeat the process with your other leg.

Step 6: If accessible and comfortable, hug both knees to your chest at the same time and hold for five to 30 seconds.

Step 7: Repeat this stretch (right, left, and/or both) two to three times.

#2 Bridge

Step 1: Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and your arms lying on either side.

Step 2: Keeping your shoulders and head relaxed on the floor, engage your core and glutes as you press through your heels and lift your hips up toward the ceiling.

Step 3: With your back in a straight line, hold this position for a few seconds. Then, slowly lower your hips back down to the floor.

Step 4: Repeat 8 to 10 times.

#3 Bird Dog

Step 1: Start on all fours with your hands squarely under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.

Step 2: While engaging your core and keeping your head in line with your spine, extend your right leg straight back and up. Hold for five seconds and then return to all fours.

Step 3: Lift your left leg and hold for five seconds before returning to the starting position.

Step 4: Repeat 8 to 10 times. If you want to make this exercise more challenging, extend your opposite arm (right leg, left arm) as you lift your leg.

#4 Cat Cow

Step 1: Start on all fours in a tabletop position, with your hands on the floor squarely under each shoulder and your knees under your hips.

Step 2: Tuck your chin in towards your chest and slowly arch your back upward as if you’re pulling your belly button up to the ceiling. Hold for a few seconds.

Step 3: Slowly release and bring your spine back into a tabletop position.

Step 4: Then let your back sag toward the floor, drawing your head up and your ears away from your shoulders. Hold for a few seconds.

Step 5: Return to a tabletop. Repeat 8 to 10 times.

#5 Lower Back Rotation

Step 1: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Open your arms comfortably out to the side.

Step 2: Keeping your shoulders flat on the floor and your knees together, slowly roll your knees to the right side of your body.

Step 3: Hold for a few seconds. Then slowly bring your knees back to the starting position.

Step 4: Repeat on the other side, slowly rolling your knees to the left side of your body, holding for a few seconds, and then returning to center.

Step 5: Repeat 8 to 10 times to each side.

Physical Therapy for Lower Back Pain

If you are struggling with lower back pain in Seattle or one of our other locations, sign up now to request care with a specialist who can treat your needs. Receive care at home, in your office, at the gym, or stop by one of our local clinics.

At MovementX, our highly specialized physical therapists and personal trainers are here to support you on your journey toward better movement health.

Connect with a MovementX provider today


About the Author

James McAfee Physical Therapist MovementX Physical Therapy Headshot

Dr. James McAfee is a physical therapist with MovementX in Seattle, WA. A graduate of both UCLA and USC, James McAfee believes that healthy movement across the lifespan relies on a healthy lifestyle. He helps clients reach their movement potential using an individualized approach around education, manual techniques, exercise, sleep, diet, and stress management.

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