9 Stretches for your Warm Up to Ease Lumbar Pain
Your lumbar region encompasses the low back from vertebrae L1 to L5. Severe lumbar pain can be caused by muscle damage or by a bulging, slipped or ruptured disc. The lower vertebrae must bear increasing weight as your body moves through space, so lumbar pain can impact every aspect of movement from the navel to the bottoms of your feet. Try to hold each stretch for 10 seconds.
Stand with your feet more than shoulder width apart, toes pointing straight ahead. Place your hands on your hips and bend forward with your spine straight, pointing your head in the same direction as your toes. If this is painful, stretch against a railing or barre so you can support the weight of your upper body as you extend forward until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings.
Cat and Cow
Get on your hands and knees with your knees below your hips and your hands below your shoulders. Arch your back up while you lower your head and hold the pose to stretch the lower back, then lower the tummy and raise your head to stretch the other direction.
From above, come back to a flat back. Slowly lower your seat to your heels while you extend your hands in front of you. If your low back can stretch further, sweep your arms to your sides, palms up beside you, and lower your forehead to the floor between your knees.
While on your tummy, place your elbows under your shoulders and lift your seat, supporting your weight on your feet and elbows. If this is too much pressure on the spine, lower your weight to your knees and elbows. You can reduce spinal pressure further by moving your knees apart and lifting your seat a bit.
Roll onto your back. Draw your knees up to your chest so you can grasp the bottoms of your feet and lift your feet to the ceiling. Don’t worry about straightening your legs.
While on your back, bend your knees and put your feet on the floor. Cross your right foot over your left knee. Grasp the back of your left thigh and pull both legs toward your chest. If you can tolerate it, lean slightly to the left to open the stretch. Switch legs and repeat.
Lay flat on your back. Draw your right knee up to your chest and roll out to the armpit if possible, pressing your right foot against your pelvis. Switch sides.
Knee to Chest
Lower your feet back to the floor from above and draw both knees up to your chest. Hold and breath, pointing and relaxing your toes.
Inner Thigh Stretch
Stand with your feet more than shoulder width apart and hands on your hips. Lean into the right side until you feel a stretch in the left inner thigh. You may need to tilt your upper body to the left, but be sure to support yourself by placing your hand against your thigh. Switch sides.
The most important aspect of low back stretching is to move slowly. Don’t jar the muscles or stress an injured disc. If it hurts, stop and reposition or move to next stretch.