Every day your spine experiences heavy loads of stress. When you do not stretch and perform exercises to help strengthen this area, you can develop muscular imbalances, tightness and pain. Below are some stretches that can be done to help relieve such pains and tightness. Remember, not all stretches may be right for you, so only do the ones that provide relief, not pain.
1. Lumbar Extension: Start lying on your stomach, forearms and palms of your hands flat at the floor. Keeping your hips on the floor, slowly raise your upper body off the floor, keeping your muscles relaxed. Only go as far as you can without pain. Hold for 10-20 seconds, then return to the original starting position.
2. Lumbar Flexion: Start sitting on your heels, knees on the floor. Keep your glutes on the heels, slowly walk the finger tips as far forward as you can. This is similiar to a “Childs Pose” in yoga. Hold for 10-30 seconds, then slowly walk your finger tips back up to a seated position.
3. Cat Stretch: Start with a neutral spine on your hands and knees. Slowly arch your back, letting your stomach move towards the floor. Once you are at your furthest point that feels good, stretch the opposite way pulling your spine and core up towards the ceiling. Slowly move through these two stretches 2-3 times.
4. Knee to Chest: Start lying on your back with both legs in front of you. Pull one knee in towards the chest, pressing the low back into the floor and trying to keep your straight leg on the floor. Hold for 10-30 seconds, then switch sides.
5. Hamstring Stretch: Start lying on your back with both legs straight on the floor in front of you. Slowly bring one leg up towards the ceiling as high as possible without bending the knee. You can use your hands or a band to help hold the leg up and add tension to the stretch. Hold for 10-30 seconds, then slowly lower down. Repeat on the other side.