Lower back pain can be a crippling condition that makes it hard to do anything. Even bending over to tie your shoe can be an ordeal when you have a lower back problem. Although serious pain can often indicate an underlying health problem, you don’t have to wait until you see a doctor for basic action. You might be surprised at how basic stretching exercises can help to relieve your lower back pain. They might hurt a little, but you’ll feel much better when it’s done. Let’s take a look at six of these basic exercises.

1. Toe Touches

This is a time-honored favorite that everyone understands. Stand straight up with your feet together and your knees locked. Now lean down and try to touch your toes with the tips of your middle fingers. Your head should be pointed straight down as you stretch so that you are looking directly at your toes.

After touching your toes, come back up and arch your body backward. That way, your back is getting a good stretch in both directions. If touching your toes is too easy, try going down a little farther and grabbing the ends of your feet. You can also do this exercise while seated, attempting to touch your nose to your knee with each stretch.

2. Abdominal Twists

This is another popular choice, and it complements exercise one very well. Exercise one focuses on straight up-and-down movement while this one focuses on a twisting lateral motion. This one can also be useful for eliminating soreness in the upper back and neck.

To do this one, just sit down on the floor or ground. Then, lift one leg and cross it over the opposite leg. You should end with your left foot outside your right knee, or vice versa. This forces your body to twist itself and creates resistance, much like the coiling of a spring. put one arm on the floor and use the other to twist your spine gently, using your wrapped-over leg as a fulcrum.

3. Knee Lifts

To do this simple exercise, start by laying down on a flat surface. It is acceptable to put down a pad, but make sure your spine remains completely straight. Ideally, you want a large, flat, hard surface like a relatively clean patch of hardwood floor.

To begin, raise one knee and attempt to touch it to your chest. It is almost as if you were about to kick someone really hard (we’re talking Leonidas-tier here). You can use both hands to pull the leg upward and push it toward the chest, but don’t go too far. If you have to strain yourself, you’re doing something wrong. If your balance is good enough, you can also do this exercise while standing.

4. Planking

This one is both a stretching exercise and a strength-building exercise in one package. Not only that, but it’s ridiculously simple: You assume a push-up ready position, but you don’t go down for the push-up. Instead, just see how long you can hold that ready position before your back begins to bend. This exercise helps lower back pain by building the muscles around that area. Thus, those stronger muscles can take some of the strain off your lower spine and prevent a lot of problems.

5. Kneeling Lunges

This one is a bit more subtle but still very effective. Start on your knees and extend one leg forward. This creates a kneeling position with one foot lunging forward. Put both hands on the forward leg and keep your back as straight as possible. Lean forward by bending your knee until you cannot go any farther. Repeat with the opposite leg.

6. The “Child’s Pose” Stretch

This is a yoga technique and a very basic one at that. Start on your hands and knees with arms outstretched and fingers touching the floor. Without removing hands or knees from the floor, rock backward and flatten your body. When you can touch your forehead to the floor, you are done. Raise and repeat.

Addressing The Root Of The Problem

Stretching may not be good enough to address your problems. If you have an underlying back problem like sciatica, you will need to seek medical attention. If you are in Texas, this sciatica Houston chiropractor might prove helpful.


While good stretching won’t solve all problems, it can certainly solve a lot of them. Some health experts claim that stretching isn’t really effective, but that is only because its results are somewhat difficult to quantify. We think you will find all six of these exercises to be of great benefit, although you really should think about getting yourself checked by a competent professional.