Lower back tightness is a common complaint among many people. Improving your overall physical and mental health can help relieve lower back tightness immensely. You can improve your overall physical and mental health through a combination of stretching, exercise, massage, and an overall lower-stress lifestyle. However, you should consult your doctor before beginning an exercise regimen if you’ve been diagnosed with a medical issue in your lower back.
EditStretching Your Lower Back for Immediate Relief
- Do the two-knee twist stretch. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Spread your arms wide in a T-shape so that your shoulders are grounded to the floor. With your legs together, slowly lower your knees to the left side as far as they can go.
- Hold this position for two minutes.
- Concentrate on keeping both of your shoulders down on the floor during the stretch.
- Repeat this stretch for the other side by bringing your knees up to center, then lowering them down to your right side. Keep your shoulders on the floor and hold for two minutes on this side.
- Stretch out the backs of your legs and hamstrings. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Straighten your left leg and bring it straight up, concentrating on reaching your heel toward the ceiling. Bend your knee and bring your foot back to the floor.
- Do 6-8 reps of this stretch on your left leg. On the last rep, hold your leg straight with your heel toward the ceiling for 30 seconds.
- Repeat this stretch on your right leg.
- Use the pigeon stretch to open your hips. Start on your hands and knees. Bring your left knee up toward your chest and lower it to the ground with your foot going toward your right. Bring your right leg down to the floor so that it’s straight back behind you.
- Your left leg should be at about a 90-degree angle under and in front of your torso.
- Slowly bend your torso forward to feel the stretch in your glutes and your hips. Go as low to the floor as you can, putting your forehead to the floor if possible.
- Hold for about 5 deep breaths, then switch legs and repeat on the other side.
- Try the figure-4 stretch. Lie on your back with your knees and feet up at a 90-degree angle in front of you. Cross your left ankle over your right knee and flex your left foot. Bring your hands through and grab the back of your right thigh, pulling back with both hands as far as you can.
- Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, then switch to the other side and repeat on your right leg.
- For an added stretch, roll up a towel and lay it under your hips during the stretch.
- Use the tail-wag stretch to lengthen your long back muscles. Start on your hands and knees with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Keeping both knees on the ground, lift your left foot in the air and swing it out toward your left while you look left over your shoulder at your toes.
- Pause and then swing the same foot to the right while you look back over your right shoulder to look at your toes.
- Repeat this stretch using your right foot, pausing each time your foot is out the side and you’re looking at your toes.
EditUsing Massage and Natural Remedies
- Use a tennis ball or foam roller to self-massage your back. Place a tennis ball underneath your lower back as you gently lie down on top of it with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Roll yourself slightly and gently around on the ball in the tight muscle groups to alleviate tension there.
- Don’t place the ball directly under your spine, but under tight muscle groups to either side of your spine.
- Find a foam roller online or at a store that sells exercise equipment. Place the roller horizontally on the floor behind you and lie down on top of it with your knees bent and feet on the floor.
- Roll yourself up and down on the foam roller to alleviate tightness in any tense muscle groups.
- Adjust your sleeping positions and use extra pillows. Lying on your back is generally considered the best sleeping position for a healthy back. Lie flat on your back facing the ceiling with enough pillow support under your neck and shoulders so that your head doesn’t flop to either side.
- Place a small pillow under your knees for extra lower back support.
- Make adjustments with pillows as needed. You want to avoid gaps between your body and your mattress as much as possible.
- If you sleep on your side, place a pillow between your knees to alleviate pressure on your hips at night.
- Try heat therapy for fast relief. Heat stimulates blood flow to affected areas on your body and inhibits pain messages to your brain which allows your muscles to relax. Use a heating pad or hot water bottle the tight areas of your back.
- You can also try soaking in a hot tub and aiming the jets on the tight areas of your back.
- Another idea is to take a hot shower and aim the water onto your tight muscles.
- Make sure you don’t fall asleep while using a heating pad, which could result in burns.
- See a professional massage therapist or chiropractor. For persistent lower back tightness, consider going to a massage therapist or a chiropractor. A massage therapist will massage muscles in your back that are contributing to your lower back tightness, and a chiropractor will use massage and manual adjustments to manipulate any areas of your spine that may be unaligned.
- If you are unsure which type of professional to see, get a recommendation from your trusted healthcare provider.
EditRelieving Your Back Long-Term with Exercise
- Do 30 minutes of cardio 5 times per week. Cardiovascular exercise keeps you in overall good health and releases stress which can contribute to lower back tightness. Depending on your current activity level, aim to do at least 30 minutes of walking or swimming 5 days per week.
- If you currently don’t do any cardio exercise, start out with 10 minutes of walking 3 days per week, and build up to 30 minutes 5 days per week. When you feel comfortable doing this, try another more strenuous activity like jogging, dancing, or biking for a couple of those days per week instead.
- Strengthen your core. The strength of your muscles in your abs and back play a significant role in how your lower back feels.
- Try doing pelvic tilts by lying on the ground with your knees bent. Tighten your lower abdominal muscles to bring your lower back to the ground without using your butt or leg muscles. Hold for 5 seconds and do 5-10 reps.
- Try trunk curls by lying on the floor and crossing your arms across your chest. Using your upper abdominal muscles, raise your torso off the floor about 15 degrees, and hold for 5 seconds. Do 5-10 reps each day.
- Other exercise routines such as pilates specifically target your core muscles. Try doing these routines with a DVD or by enrolling in a class.
- Practice yoga daily or weekly. Yoga combines stretching, strengthening poses, and breathing techniques to increase your overall health and lower stress. Many poses such as downward facing dog, cat-cow, and extended triangle specifically target your lower back.
- If you already do yoga weekly, increase to a few times per week or a short daily routine.
- Enroll yourself in a beginner class if you’re new to yoga. Even a few classes will give you some basic knowledge to work with on your own at home.
- Discuss your back tightness with your healthcare provider before trying any of these methods if you have a serious medical issue that may be contributing to your lower back tightness.
EditSources and Citations
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