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Relieve Tension and Improve Flexibility: Essential Physical Therapy Stretches for Your Low Back



Stretching your low back can alleviate tension, improve flexibility, and promote overall spine health. Whether you're experiencing discomfort or aiming to prevent future issues, incorporating physical therapy stretches into your routine can provide relief and support. Let's explore a variety of evidence-based stretches supported by physical therapy and rehabilitation journals to target your low back.

  1. Child's Pose:

  • Start on your hands and knees with your toes touching and knees spread apart.

  • Sit back on your heels while reaching your arms forward.

  • Lower your chest towards the floor and relax your forehead.

  • Hold for 30-60 seconds, breathing deeply.

  • Repeat for 2-3 sets.

  • (Source: Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy)

  1. Knee-to-Chest Stretch:

  • Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.

  • Bring one knee towards your chest and clasp your hands around it.

  • Pull the knee gently towards your chest until you feel a stretch in your low back.

  • Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs.

  • Perform 2-3 sets on each side.

  • (Source: Journal of Physical Therapy Science)

  1. Cat-Cow Stretch:

  • Start on your hands and knees with a neutral spine.

  • Inhale as you arch your back, dropping your belly towards the floor and lifting your head and tailbone (cow pose).

  • Exhale as you round your back, tucking your chin to your chest and pressing your hands and knees into the floor (cat pose).

  • Repeat for 10-15 repetitions.

  • (Source: Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy)

  1. Seated Forward Fold:

  • Sit on the floor with legs extended in front of you.

  • Reach your arms overhead and lengthen your spine.

  • Hinge at your hips and fold forward, reaching towards your toes.

  • Hold for 30-60 seconds, breathing deeply.

  • Perform 2-3 sets.

  • (Source: Journal of Physical Therapy Science)

  1. Spinal Twist:

  • Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.

  • Extend your arms out to the sides in a T position.

  • Lower both knees to one side while keeping your shoulders grounded.

  • Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

  • Perform 2-3 sets on each side.

  • (Source: Physical Therapy Journal)

  1. Piriformis Stretch:

  • Sit on a chair with one foot crossed over the opposite knee.

  • Lean forward slightly while keeping your back straight until you feel a stretch in your glutes and low back.

  • Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs.

  • Perform 2-3 sets on each side.

  • (Source: Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy)

Remember to perform these stretches gently and within your comfort level. Hold each stretch for the recommended duration, breathing deeply and avoiding any sharp pain. If you have existing low back issues or injuries, consult with a physical therapist or healthcare professional before starting any new stretching routine.

To receive personalized guidance and support for stretching your low back, consider booking an appointment with our experienced physical therapist at Kailua Wellness Center by calling (808) 261-8181.

Incorporating these scientifically-backed physical therapy stretches into your routine can lead to reduced tension, increased flexibility, and improved low back health, helping you move with greater ease and comfort.


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