If it seems like everyone you know has complained of tightness or stiffness in your lower back, you’re not just imagining the widespread problem. “About 80% of people suffer from low back pain and about half of them spend most of their day sitting,” says a physiotherapist. Daniel Giordano, DPT, PT, CSCS. “Back pain can also result from excessive stress, overuse, poor form during exercise, excess weight, stress, or other medical conditions.”

In this episode of “The Fix”, Giordano is joined by Cameron Yuen, DPT, PT, CSCS to break down exactly how to relieve lower back pain in a series of simple moves. All you will need is a foam roller and some floor space to stretch out.

Watch the video to illustrate the six exercises, and for more complete verbal cues and tips for doing them correctly.

6 stretches to relieve lower back pain

Butt foam roller

Grab a foam roller and start with your right glute bending your weight slightly to the right and rolling back and forth and side to side. This will help increase blood flow and relax the tissues a bit. If you feel pain, move from side to side to see if that helps. Repeat on the other side.

Quad foam bearing

Roll over onto your stomach and place the foam roller just under your quadriceps. Again, this helps increase blood flow to the area. Be sure to move side to side as well as up and down like in the last exercise. Repeat on the other leg.

Lumbar windscreen

“So after the soft tissue work, we’re going to work on the mobility of the joint. We want to make sure the joint moves completely through its proper range of motion” to avoid excessive loading on the lower back, Giordano explains. Get into a bridge position flat on the floor with your knees shoulder-width apart and your feet slightly wider than that. Drop your knees from side to side. If you feel pain while pivoting from side to side, don’t try to push past this range. Do this eight times on each side.

Cat Cow Stretching

“We want to make sure the spine is moving properly and safely,” says Giordano. Stack your hips on your knees and your shoulders on the wrist with your head in a neutral position. Raise your stomach fully and tuck your head underneath, then come down and enter the extension phase and look straight up. Do this about eight times to increase spinal mobility and make sure everything is moving properly.

Plank

The last segment in this series “The Fix” is a stabilizing move to get everything strong and compressed with no pressure on your lower back. Activate your core by adopting a modified plank position on your knees. Focus on keeping your chest slightly off the floor. Start by holding for about 15 seconds, gradually working up to 30 and then 45 seconds. You can enter a full plank shape here, if you wish.

Strip bridge

It’s time for some hip activation. Lie on your back and wrap a band just below your kneecaps with your feet on the floor. Push through your heels and lift your butt into the air, being careful not to come up too high on your back, stop when there is a straight line between your knee, hips and shoulders. Then go back down. Do 8 to 10 pushing your heels.

To decrease lower back pain, make sure you’re consistent with this set, spending 20 minutes a day doing the movements.

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