How To Stretch Your Lower Back (and Relieve Lower Back Pain)

Dr. Constantine Toumbis

11 August 2023


If you’re experiencing lower back pain, you may be wondering what you can do at home to find relief. There are various ways you can effectively alleviate lower back pain – stretching is a helpful tactic. 

Here are some recommended stretches to help with lower back pain.

Should You Stretch To Relieve Lower Back Pain?

Stretching and core-strengthening exercises are two key ways you can alleviate lower back pain. Regular stretching can support good posture and enhance your flexibility and mobility. It can also lower your risk of injuries, promote blood flow and reduce stress. 

Up to 80% of people experience lower back pain at some point in their life. With it being so common, it isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. You may have slept wrong or have a tight lower back. This could feel like a constant, dull ache that may be accompanied by stiffness and muscle spasms. 

If your lower back pain is accompanied by other severe symptoms or if it’s following a traumatic incident, like a car accident, seek immediate medical care. This could indicate a more serious condition that could get worse if left untreated.

Stretches for Lower Back Pain

The most important step before trying any stretches or other home remedies for lower back pain is to see a spinal specialist. They will be able to properly diagnose it and advise you on the best course of treatment. 

If you feel like you have a tight lower back, stretching can work wonders. Before you stretch, be sure to properly warm up with light walking, jogging or low-intensity biking; you want to make sure your muscles are warm. 

As you are performing these stretches, focus on holding them in a steady, smooth motion, rather than bouncing to get deeper into the stretch. As you stretch, you should feel tension, but not pain. If you feel pain, ease up on the stretch – flexibility is a process that takes consistent practice.

Here are a handful of stretches that can help relieve your lower back pain.


This is a great stretch for beginners that gently stretches your entire core. 

  1. Start on your hands and knees. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart and your knees hip-width apart, keeping them both aligned with one another, vertically. 
  2. Inhale, and as you do, round your back and tuck your chin to your chest – push your spine to the ceiling and draw your belly button toward your spine. Hold this position for five seconds.
  3. As you exhale, arch your back and push your belly button to the floor, raising your chin to look up toward the ceiling. Hold this position for five seconds. 
  4. Repeat 15 times.

Single Knee-to-Chest

To stretch your hip flexors and lower back, try this move. 

  1. Lay down flat on your back with your legs straight, keeping your heels on the floor.
  2. Bring one knee up to your chest and place your hands on your hamstring, just under your knee. 
  3. Gently pull your knee closer to your chest until you feel a stretch in your lower back and the hip flexor of the opposite leg. Keep your legs, hips and lower back relaxed to better feel the stretch.
  4. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
  5. Switch, repeating the motion with the opposite leg. 
  6. Repeat this 10 times for each leg.

Pelvic Tilt

This core-strengthening exercise stretches your lower back while also stabilizing your spine. 

  1. Lie down on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. You can place your hands by your sides or near the base of your head as if you are about to do a situp. 
  2. Press your back down to the floor and tuck your hips under – you want to draw your belly button into your spine. Your pelvis shouldn’t leave the floor.
  3. Hold for five seconds. 
  4. Relax. 
  5. Repeat 20 times.

Seated Hamstring Stretch

Tight hamstrings can be the cause of your lower back pain, so it’s important to stretch them, too.

  1. Sit down on the floor, stretching one leg out straight in front of you.
  2. Bend forward at your hips keeping your back straight, until you feel mild tension in your hamstring and lower back – the goal is to bring your stomach to your thighs. You can hook a towel or band around the bottom of your heel and pull on it to help deepen the stretch.
  3. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds. Then, rest for 30 seconds. 
  4. Repeat this stretch three times.

    What To Do When Stretching Doesn’t Relieve Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain could be caused by other health issues that may not get better with stretching. Certain conditions that could cause lower back pain include muscle strain, herniated discs, osteoporosis, arthritis, spondylolisthesis, tumors and spinal stenosis. If you have one of these underlying conditions, your doctor may recommend other home remedies such as: 

If these treatments don’t work, your healthcare provider may suggest minimally-invasive procedures to help you find relief. 

At Citrus Spine Institute, for example, we will work with you to create a treatment plan tailored to your unique condition and medical history. 

Contact us today to schedule a consultation at our office in Crystal River.


Dr. Constantine Toumbis

Dr. Toumbis is a board certified, fellowship trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in cervical, thoracic and lumbar surgery. He received his undergraduate degree in Biology from New York University in 1987, then continued on to receive his Masters in Natural Sciences as well as a PhD in Experimental Pathology from State University of New York at Buffalo. He completed his medical degree at Wayne State University School of Medicine with a distinction in Biomedical Research. After moving to Florida to complete his internship and residency in orthopedics at the University of Florida Shands Hospital, he went on to pursue a fellowship at Cleveland Clinic's Florida Spine Institute. He moved to Citrus County and has been in private practice since 2005.

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