Video anchor 19.MAY.2020 6 MIN READ | 6 MIN READ

Easy-lower-back-stretches-ig-d

Sitting too much while working from home? These stretches could ease stiffness and soothe those backaches.

Without realising the hours going by, our sedentary lifestyles, with prolonged sitting may be the reason why we’re experiencing those shoulder, neck or back pains. This "circuit breaker", consider these stretches to soothe out the aches, pains and stiffness in your lower back.

1. Child’s Pose

  • This traditional yoga technique relieves tension along the middle and lower spine.
  • Helps loosen tight muscles and promote blood circulation along the lower back.

To perform this stretch:

  1. Start in a kneeling position. Lower your hip and sit on the floor or mat with the heels of your feet folded behind.
  2. Glide your hands forward.
  3. Stay in this position and breathe deeply for 20 – 30 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
  4. You should feel a mild, gentle pulling stretch over your middle and lower back muscles.

2. Knee-to-chest Stretch

  • One of the easiest stretches to ease your lower back pain.
  • Relieves lower back and gluteus muscle tightness.

To perform this stretch:

  1. Lie flat on the floor or mat with both legs stretched out straight.
  2. As you face up towards the ceiling, use both hands to lift and hug your knee towards your chest.
  3. Stay in this position with regular deep breaths for 20 – 30 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
  4. Repeat steps 1 – 3 with your other leg.
  5. You should feel a mild, gentle pulling stretch over your lower back and gluteus muscle.

3. Standing Chest Stretch

  • A good stretch after spending hours of sitting hunched over a computer screen.
  • Eases muscle tightness around your chest, shoulders, and biceps.

To perform this stretch:

  1. Find a strong and stable vertical structure, such as an empty wall.
  2. Straighten your arm, and place your hand and forearm facing and along the wall at a 45-degree angle from your body.
  3. Slowly rotate your body away from the wall.
  4. Stay in this position with regular deep breaths for 20 – 30 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
  5. Repeat steps 1 – 4 with your other arm.
  6. You should feel a mild, gentle pulling stretch over your chest and biceps muscle.

4. Seated Spinal Twist

  • Works the middle and lower back

To perform this stretch:

  1. Ensure you are seated comfortably on a chair.
  2. With your back upright, gently turn your upper body to the right.
  3. You can pull on the armrest of your chair to further stretch your back (if you would like a deeper stretch).
  4. Stay in this position with regular deep breaths for 20 – 30 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
  5. Repeat steps 1 – 4 in the opposite direction.
  6. You should feel a mild, gentle pulling stretch over your middle and lower back.

5. Supine Twist

  • Helps alleviate middle and lower back pains.

To perform this stretch:

  1. Lie on a flat surface with both feet on the ground, and knees bent.
  2. With your back on the ground, gently lower your knees towards one side.
  3. You should feel a mild pulling stretch over your lower back. Repeat 10 times.
  4. Repeat steps 1 – 3 in the opposite direction.

6. Thoracic extension

  • Extends your thoracic spine to relax your paraspinal muscles that are engaged during desk-bound activities/in prolonged sitting

To perform this stretch:

  1. Sit in a chair with a backrest whose height ends in the mid thoracic (mid chest) region.
  2. Cross your fingers together and place your hand behind your head with your elbows back.
  3. Slowly lean back and look up to the ceiling.
  4. Return to an upright position.
  5. Repeat 10 times.

7. Cat-camel Stretch

  • Helps in the movement of your spine.

To perform this stretch:

  1. Begin in a tabletop position with hands and knees on a flat surface.
  2. Length of the spine should be parallel to the ground.
  3. Take a deep breath, round your back and relax your neck.
  4. As you breathe out, lower your middle thoracic region towards the floor and lift your head slightly.
  5. Throughout this stretch, maintain both your arm straight and your hip position.
  6. Repeat 10 times.

8. The Pelvic Tilt

  • Sitting down for long hours may cause lower back discomfort.
  • Strengthens core muscles to provide posture stability.

To perform this stretch:

  1. Lie on a flat surface with both your knees bent and feet flat.
  2. Lower back should be in a neutral curve, with some gap in between your lower back and ground.
  3. Gently flatten your lower back against the ground.
  4. Slowly arch your lower back upwards and away from the ground.
  5. Repeat 10 times.

9. Hamstring stretch

  • Tightness around the thighs may result in lower back aches.
  • Releasing the tension in the hamstrings may alleviate the pain.

To perform this stretch:

  1. Sit on the floor and straighten your left leg in front of you.
  2. Bend your right knee, placing the sole of your right foot against the left inner thigh.
  3. Slowly reach towards your left toes while keeping your back straight.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat steps 1 – 3 for 5 times.
  5. Repeat steps 1 – 4 with your other leg.

Why is sitting posture important?

The natural curves of our spine are dependent on having good posture. Sitting for long hours can affect your posture and strain your back muscles. It is important to maintain a proper sitting posture to avoid injuries over your postural muscles.

How does sitting for prolonged hours cause lower back pain?

There are 23 discs found all along the length of our spine, and they function primarily to cushion the spinal vertebrae from rubbing against each other as it holds the spine together.

Slouching or leaning either too far forward or backward creates undue pressure in the discs of our spine.

Sitting for prolonged periods of time explains why the lower back is prone to injuries. Injuries of the back can range from muscle strains to joint stiffness which can limit mobility.

If left untreated, underlying lower back pain could lead to serious complications such as herniated discs, degenerative disc diseases or spinal stenosis.

Stretching and Exercise

Being mindful of one’s posture will develop proper postural habits by not sitting down for too long in one position or slouching over a sofa as you binge on a television series.

During the small gaps of time in between work and play, perform these simple stretch exercises to alleviate the tension along our spine. Practised regularly, it can strengthen the core muscles, ease lower back tension and keep your spine mobile while at home.

Should you find that your lower back condition is worsening, do seek treatment early from a doctor or consult a physiotherapist for an assessment on managing your postural care. Make an appointment with a doctor or physiotherapist, who will be able to advise you on the necessary next steps to effectively relieve your pain.

 

Following the end of the circuit breaker period, Parkway East Hospital and our 24-hour A&E clinic will continue to deliver essential healthcare services to those in need. If you or your family members require treatment for a medical condition, make an appointment with a specialist.

Rest assured we have implemented measures to safeguard the health of our patients, visitors and staff. Learn more about how we keep our hospitals safe.

To help stay COVID-safe, we are #FightingCOVIDAsFamily. 

 

Article reviewed by Nur Syuhada Binte Emanan, senior physiotherapist at Parkway East Hospital

References

7 Lower Back Stretches to Reduce Pain and Build Strength. (2019, February 12). Retrieved 1 May, 2020 from https://www.healthline.com/health/lower-back-stretches

10 Best Stretches to Ease Your Lower Back Pain, According to Trainers (2019, September 27). Retrieved 1 May, 2020 from https://www.prevention.com/fitness/a20506161/5-stretches-to-ease-your-lower-back-pain/

Good Posture Tips. (2016, April 22). Retrieved 4 May, 2020 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/multimedia/back-pain/sls-20076817?s=2

Pelvic Tilts for Back Pain (2020, April 18). Retrieved 2 May, 2020 https://www.verywellhealth.com/pelvic-tilt-exercise-for-your-lower-back-296802

The Best 10 Yoga Poses For Lower Back Pain (2018, December 20). Retrieved 1 May, 2020 https://www.insure4sport.co.uk/blog/yoga-poses-for-lower-back-pain/

Thoracic Extension Exercises – The Thoracic Bridge And More! (2015, December 15). Retrieved from 1 May, 2020 from https://redefiningstrength.com/thoracic-extension-exercises-thoracic-bridge/

Why Does My Lower Back Hurt When I Sit and How Can I Relieve the Pain? (2019, May 20). Retrieved 3 May, 2020 from https://www.healthline.com/health/lower-back-pain-when-sitting

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