A good lower back stretch typically will increase flexibility, reduce pain, and minimize the risk of getting a back injury in the future. As a rule of thumb, it is important for a person to know and understand how to perform lower back stretches before doing them, otherwise the stretches can cause more problems than they solve. A good stretch typically should last up to a minute in duration, and should never be forced. Several repetitions of the stretch can increase the mobility of the lower back faster. General lower back exercises include the basic back extension, the cat, and the twist.
Whenever the lower back is being stretched, there should not be any pain. Pain while doing lower back exercises can mean that the stretch is causing damage to the muscles of the back and should be avoided. Instead, lower back stretches should induce a feeling of muscle lengthening without discomfort.
The back extension is one of the most popular types of lower back stretches and can even be performed while watching television. Typically, the stretcher should lie on his or her front with feet pointing backward. Once in this position, the body should be raised using the elbows initially and then further increased by straightening the arms. The stretch should be held for around 30 seconds before returning to the starting position.
One of the most effective lower back stretches is called the cat, and it can also help stretch other parts of the body. The stretcher should begin on hands and knees, and take a deep breath. While breathing out, the back should be arched until a stretch is felt; the stretch should be held for a short period of time and then returned to the start position. Once more this should be held for a couple of seconds before the back is extended in the opposite direction toward the floor. This cycle typically should be repeated 3 to 5 times in order to achieve maximum gain.
The pelvic twist stretch typically should be performed on a hard floor and not on a soft bed. A stretcher should start by lying on his or her back with knees bent at a 90-degree angle. The lower back should then be pushed into the floor so that the stretcher can feel a smooth and comfortable lengthening of the lower back muscles. This stretch should be held for around 20 seconds and then slowly released.