Lower back and hip pain are arguably the most uncomfortable conditions that make getting through the day extremely difficult. And, those who suffer from it have tried every pill, pain relieving balm, and heating pad but in vain.
More than one-quarter of American adults suffer from lower back and hip pain. And, the two are some of the most common conditions that affect one’s quality of life.1
Whether you have the occasional pain or have a chronic condition, certain stretches can help ease the pain. Here are a few that you could try.
1. Double-Knee Torso Rotation
This stretch targets your back, chest, hip, and outer thigh. Here’s how you can go about it.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent. Be sure to keep your feet together and flat on the floor.
- Place your arms on either side of your body at shoulder level.
- Tighten your abdominal muscles and lift both knees toward your chest.
- Keeping your shoulders relaxed, lower your knees to the right side of the floor. Look in the opposite direction.
- Hold this position for a few seconds and feel the stretch across your chest and torso.
- Bring both knees back to center and return your left and right foot to the floor.
- Repeat in the opposite direction.
Be sure to stretch only to the point of mild tension, not pain. To make this stretch easier, place a rolled towel between your knees.2
2. Child’s Pose
Yoga is steadily growing in popularity when it comes to back pain relief. And, a few studies do state that it effectively relieves chronic lower back pain.3
While, you’d have to step into a class designed for lower back pain specifically for long term benefits, a child’s pose is believed to relieve tension in the lower back. Here’s how you can go about this pose.
- Kneel on the floor, touch your big toes together, and sit on your heels.
- Separate your knees about as wide as your hips. Take a breath and lower your torso to the floor, between your thighs.
- Place your forehead on the floor and extend your arms in front of you.
- Broaden your upper back and feel the slight stretch in your back.
- Hold this pose for five slow breaths.
- Walk your hands back to your knees and sit back on your buttocks.
To modify this pose, keep your knees and thighs together. And, if you feel intense pain at any point during this stretch, stop immediately and consult a professional.
3. Downward Dog
Although this pose stretches your entire body, recent research has shown that the pose reduces spinal pain. Here’s how you can go about this pose.4
- Position yourself on all fours with your hands shoulder-width apart, legs hip-width apart, and fingers extended.
- Exhale as you lift your knees off the floor.
- Straighten your legs until you’re in an upside down V position. Be sure not to lock your knees.
- Without placing any stress on your neck and spine, align your ears with your biceps.
- Distribute your weight evenly between your hands and feet.
- Press your heels down toward the floor while keeping your shoulders down and rolled back.
- Hold this position for 5 breaths and return to the starting position.
Be sure to soften your elbows and lengthen your spine. To make this stretch a little easier, bend your knees slightly and stay on your toes.
4. Floor Hip Flexor Stretch
This stretch eases pain and improves mobility in the hip. To add to this, it could strengthen it as well. Here’s how you can go about this stretch.
- Lie on your back with your legs extended on the floor.
- Relax your shoulders against the floor and bend your right knee.
- Interlock your fingers at back of your right thigh and pull your knee toward your chest. Flex your left foot and press the left leg toward the floor as you do so
- Hold this position for 30 seconds.
- Return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg for 1 repetition
You should feel this stretch in the front of your left hip and top of your thigh. Be sure to stretch to the point of mild tension and not pain. Try to stay as still as you can during the stretch.5
5. Pelvic Tilt
This stretch is more of an exercise that strengthens both, your back and hip muscles. Here’s how you can go about it.
- Lie on your back with your arms on the floor. Place your hands next to your hips, bend your knees, and keep your feet flat on the floor and slightly apart.
- Press your waist onto the floor. Slowly lift your vertebrae off the floor starting with the lower back, then the middle, and then the upper back.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds and then roll down one vertebra at a time, starting from the upper back down to the lower back.
Repeat this as many times as manageable and give yourself 30 seconds of rest between each repetitions. If you’ve got acute or chronic lower back pain then it might be best to skip this stretch.6
6. Chair Twist
This exercise will improve mobility and flexibility in the lower back. It’s easy, comfortable, and requires a chair. Here’s how you can go about it.
- Sit at the edge of a chair and keep your spine as straight as possible. Place your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
- Slowly, twist to the left from your waist without moving your hips. As you do this, turn your head to the left as well, as if you are looking back.
- If your chair has an armrest, place your left hand on the left arm of the chair. Place your right hand on the outside of your left thigh and twist farther, if possible.
- Hold this position for 10–30 seconds and slowly face forwards.
- Repeat this in the opposite direction.
Be sure to do at least 3 sets of this stretch. You should feel a slight tension in your back, and not full blown pain.7
Incorporate these few stretches in your daily schedule to relieve back pain and strengthen it at the same time. However, if you do have a serious injury, chronic back pain, or a back condition, do consult a medical professional before you try any of these.
|↑1||Health, United States, 2006 with Chartbook on Trends in the Health of Americans. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|
|↑2, ↑5||Stretching: The new mobility protection. Harvard Health Publishing.|
|↑3||Yoga eases moderate to severe chronic low back pain. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.|
|↑4||Crow, Edith Meszaros, Emilien Jeannot, and Alison Trewhela. “Effectiveness of Iyengar yoga in treating spinal (back and neck) pain: A systematic review.” International journal of yoga 8, no. 1 (2015): 3.|
|↑6||Exercises For Strong Back And Hips. Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.|
|↑7||Back 2. National Institute Of Aging.|