By: @chrisbardawil founder of @coreflexpilates
Whether it's tight hips or a stiff neck, modern living predisposes us to all different types of aches and pains. However, the most common I hear from my clients is lower back pain.
Numerous factors including weak muscles, rounded shoulders, and even more serious conditions like scoliosis, may contribute to this. Other muscles and joints may also be to blame, which is called referred pain.
Here are a few easy stretches that help to loosen up your hips and lumbar spine and may help to relieve discomfort and stiffness in your lower back.
Forward Bend: Making sure your feet are hip-width apart, bend your knees slightly and fold forwards to release tension, pushing your tailbone to the sky. You can also use your hands to tug on the bag of your ankles to deepen the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute and try to progressively deepen the stretch.
Child's Pose: Start by kneeling down with your bum on your heels, making sure your knees are wide and your ankles are collapsed. Then start walking your hands forwards until your forehead touches the ground. Allow your tummy to rest, keep your arms extended out in front of you and breathe. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute.
Hip Flexor Stretch: Stand upright with hands-on-hips and your shoulders back then lunge forward with your right leg. Make sure you get a good amount of distance so you can straighten your left leg and feel the stretch running down from the hip. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat with the left leg lunging forward, feeling the stretch on your right hip flexor.
Twists: These are great for mobilising and releasing tension in the lower back. Lying flat on the floor, draw both knees into your chest, taking your arms out to the side and draw your knees over to the left. Keep both shoulders grounded. Repeat on the right and hold each side for 30 seconds to one minute.
These stretches can also be performed dynamically to improve blood flow. Apply the same stretches but only hold them for 10 to 15 seconds at a time, and then add tiny pulses and motions. When you have a tight lower back, this is the best thing to do before a workout to warm up the muscles and boost blood flow to the area.
Try these stretches 2-3x a week and see your lower back pain and tightness disappear.