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Stretching for Lower Back Pain: Does It Work?

A man suffering from lower back pain while sitting

Lower back ailment can be a debilitating condition that affects daily life. Fortunately, people can do stretching for lower back pain. It works as gentle stretching that targets specific low-back muscles. This may be hamstring muscles, quadratus lumborum, and piriformis muscles. By performing stretching exercises, individuals aim to improve flexibility and range of motion in these body muscles. As a result, it reduces muscle strain and muscle tension, which contribute to lower back pain levels.

When a person experiences lower back ailment, it is often associated with tight muscles. It can be chronic pain and acute pain and can be due to various factors, such as poor posture or underlying health concerns. Different types of exercise have long been recommended as a way to alleviate this ailment and improve flexibility in the back muscles. This article will present how stretching works, the best exercises, and other equipment, including Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS).

How Does Stretching for Lower Back Pain Work?

Regular stretching for lower back pain can be an effective way to relieve discomfort. When a person performs simple stretches, several vital physiological processes come into play. Firstly, when a person engages in basic stretches, the muscles in this area are gently elongated. Hence, the stretching action helps to increase the blood circulation to the muscles, which delivers nutrients and oxygen to connective tissues.

Secondly, a back-strengthening routine helps to improve flexibility. This makes it easier to have comfortable movement and perform daily routines effectively. Thirdly, by engaging in targeted stretching exercises, people can help correct postural imbalances and reduce muscle soreness. This physical activity can help lengthen tight muscles that may pull the spine out of alignment.

Furthermore, when the muscles and connective tissues are tight, they can exert pressure on nearby nerves. Stretching helps to release this tension, reducing the pressure on the nerves. Nevertheless, individuals should always consult a healthcare professional or physical therapist before engaging in any new stretching routine.

Benefits Over Other Methods

  • Unlike certain medications or passive treatments, stretching actively engages the muscles and soft tissues. As a result, it leads to long-term improvements in flexibility and mobility.
  • Stretching can target the root issues of the condition by addressing muscle tightness, stiffness, and postural imbalances.
  • Regular stretching can contribute to strengthening the muscles that support the spine and promote better posture. This helps people better manage and prevent recurring lower back ailments.
  • Individuals may be able to manage their condition with less reliance on oral medications.
  • Engaging in body stability exercises empowers people to take an active role in managing their discomfort.

A woman doing a stretch in a gym

Stretching for Lower Back Pain: Best Exercises to Try Out

In stretching for lower back pain, there are effective exercise programs. One of the best exercises to try out is the child’s pose. This classic yoga pose gently elongates the muscles of the lower back. Hence, it promotes relaxation and reduces tension in the area. Another is the cat-cow stretch. It helps improve the mobility of the spine and promotes better posture.

There is also a knee-to-chest stretch. Holding this position gently helps release tension and improve flexibility in the lower back and hips. Accordingly, the piriformis stretch specifically targets the piriformis muscle. This exercise involves crossing one leg over the other and gently pulling the knee towards the opposite shoulder.

Moreover, tight hamstrings can contribute to lower back discomfort. Performing hamstring stretches can effectively target the back of the thighs and the lower back. Also, there is a spinal twist. This exercise involves lying on the back and gently rotating the legs to one side while keeping the shoulders flat on the ground. The twist helps to mobilise the spine and promote flexibility in the lower back region.

How to Do the Knee-to-Chest Stretch

Start by lying back on a comfortable surface. Then, bend the knee while keeping the feet flat on the surface, ensuring that the lower back is in a comfortable and neutral position. Gently bring one knee up towards the chest, using both hands to clasp the knee or just below it.

Hold the stretch in this position for 15 to 30 seconds. The person may feel a gentle pull in the lower back and buttocks of the leg being stretched. Slowly release the leg back to the starting position and then repeat the stretch with the other leg.

A woman wearing a large wing TENS on her lower back

Stretching for Lower Back Pain: Equipment and Paraphernalia

One of the most commonly used pieces of equipment when stretching for lower back pain is the yoga mat. Exercise mats can help cushion the body and provide stability during stretching movements. Another valuable piece of tool is the exercise resistance band or yoga strap. These pieces can assist individuals in achieving proper form and alignment during the stretching exercise.

The foam roller can be a beneficial tool for those seeking a more targeted approach. Foam rollers apply pressure to specific muscles, promoting relaxation and release of tension. By incorporating the tool, individuals can address tightness and discomfort in the lower back. This is through targeted self-massage and myofascial release techniques.

In addition to equipment, paraphernalia, such as yoga blocks, can provide support and stability during lower back stretching exercises. Yoga blocks can help individuals to maintain proper alignment and form. Hence, it ensures that the stretch effectively targets the intended muscles while minimising strain on the lower back and surrounding areas.

A Closer Look at TENS Machines

When exploring options for managing lower back ailments, individuals may consider using TENS. It is a portable, battery-operated device that can alleviate discomfort by delivering electrical currents to the treatment area. Accordingly, electrical stimulation can block pain signals travelling to the brain, reducing the sensation of pain. Also, it can trigger the release of endorphins, the natural painkillers of the body.

Additionally, TENS provides numerous benefits. It is non-invasive and drug-free. Thus, it eliminates the need for invasive procedures and the intake of oral medications. TENS are also customisable. People can modify the frequency, intensity, and duration based on personal needs.


Lower back ailment can occur due to poor posture, muscle strain, or underlying condition. Fortunately, there is stretching for lower back pain, which is an effective and important practice. It helps to improve flexibility and strengthen the muscles in the lower back. Hence, it reduces the risk of injury and promotes overall spinal health. Accordingly, it works by promoting blood flow, correcting postural imbalances, and relieving pressure on nerves.

Numerous exercises can effectively alleviate the discomfort. This may include a child’s pose, cat-cow stretch, knee-to-chest stretch, piriformis stretch, hamstring stretch, and spinal twist. Moreover, there are beneficial equipment and paraphernalia. This may involve an exercise mat, resistance band, foam roller, and yoga blocks. People seeking an alternative to stretching may try TENS therapy. It is a treatment that works by delivering electrical impulses. Individuals may purchase the machine at online platforms like iTENS Australia.

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