If you suffer from lower back pain you are not alone, the American National Institutes of Health have estimated that 80% of Americans will experience lower back pain at some time in their lives. Your lower back is designed to stabilise you and support every movement you make so when you are suffering from pain in this area not only does your back hurt but your mental health can also be affected.
The more you sit the less you use the muscles which causes them to weaken and makes it harder for them to do their job when you need them which can lead to pulled or sprained muscles and a lot of pain.
These poses help relax tight muscles, strengthen weak muscles and ease lower back pain. Remember to take your time getting into each pose and if anything hurts stop. As always adapt your practice to suit how your body feels and be gentle with yourself.
This pose is great for stretching your hips, chest and back at the beginning and end of your practice. Begin on hands and knees ensuring that the wrists are in line with shoulders and knees in line with the hips and keep the head in a neutral position, eyes looking towards the ground. On an inhale your belly drops towards the ground as you lift your sitting bones and chest towards the ceiling, lift the head to look straight forward. On an exhale rounding your spine towards the ceiling ensuring that you keep your shoulders and knees in position, releasing the head towards the floor without forcing chin to chest. Repeat as many times as needed (at least 10) following the pace of your breath.
Downward Facing Dog
In this pose we are strengthening and lengthening, it can help to loosen tight shoulders, back and hamstrings. Start on hands and knees, step one foot back followed by the other, press into the shoulders and lift the hips up and back. If your lower back feels rounded bend your knees so that you can lift your hips higher. What you want here is a straight line from your wrists to your shoulders to your hips – this is not about straightening the legs! Glance back at the feet to ensure they are hip width and parallel. Let the head hang so that there is no tension in the neck and gaze towards the feet. Hold for 5-10 breaths.
Child’s pose provides a great stretch for your back and hips as well as being a calming pose. Begin on hands and knees. Bring your knees mat width apart and your big toes to touch. Sit back towards your hips, walk your hands forward bringing your head to rest on your mat. Rest here for as long as you want.
Knees to chest pose
This pose stretches and releases the lower back which can help with lower back pain. Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent. Lift your feet off the floor bringing them as close to your chest as you can. Use both hands to hug your thighs or shins into your chest. Rock gently from side to side to massage the lower back. Stay here for as long as you like before returning to lying with your knees bent.
Supine spinal twists stretches the glutes and back muscles while lengthening and relaxing your spine which is great to help relieve a tight lower back. That being said twisting can also irritate the lower back so listen to your body and if this doesn’t feel right skip it. Begin lying on your back with your knees bent. Bring your arms to a T shape at shoulder level. On an exhale let the knees fall to the right, keeping your shoulders on the mat. Hold for 1-2 minutes. Bring your legs back to centre and repeat on the other side.