This Physical Therapist routine of gentle lower back stretches relieves lower back stiffness and associated discomfort. This simple routine of lower back exercises in bed is guided by Michelle from https://www.pelvicexercises.com.au
Perfect for when you first wake up, this routine of lower back stretches and mobility exercises can be performed lying in bed.
What Causes Morning Lower Back Stiffness?
There are many causes of lower back stiffness including muscle spasm, joint degeneration, poor posture, back injury and some medical conditions. When you sleep your joints and muscles don’t move the way they normally do when you’re active throughout the day. Appropriate exercises can often help ease this stiffness and discomfort.
Lower Back Stretches to Ease Morning Back Stiffness
– Lie flat on your back with both knees bent and a pillow supporting your head and neck (if desired) for all of the following exercises.
– Your lower back should be in neutral position (i.e. your lower back curve should be positioned comfortably midway between extended and flexed position).
1. Lumbar Rotations
Lumbar rotations gently open the lower back joints and stretch the lower back, hip and buttock muscles.
– Keep at least one foot in contact with the mattress as you gently lower both knees to one side of the body. Return to your starting position and repeat to the other side.
– Repeat lumbar rotations 2-3 times each side
2. Posterior Pelvic Tilt
Posterior pelvic tilt stretches the tissues and opens the joint in the lower back. This exercise can be particularly beneficial for relieving stiffness if you have a sway back.
– Gently flatten the arch of your lower back curve into the mattress.
– Repeat this tilting action 3-4 times
3. Knee to Chest
Knee to chest exercises gently stretch the lower back, hips and buttocks.
– Raise one leg off the mattress bringing that thigh towards your chest holding the front of the lower leg to draw the thigh closer to your chest if comfortable
– Repeat on each leg holding each stretch for 10-15 seconds
4. Hamstring Stretch
Hamstring stretches are designed to lengthen the hamstring muscles at the back of the thigh.
– Raise one leg off the mattress and grasp the back of your thigh with both hands if comfortable.
– Keep your raised leg slightly bent and your toes pointed towards the ceiling (to avoid lower back strain).
– Repeat this stretch on each leg
– Maintain for 10-15 seconds
5. Bed Bridge
Bridge exercise activates the buttock and lower back muscles and mobilizes the joints in your lower back.
– Press down into the mattress through your heels to raise your buttocks.
– Maintain your normal back curve throughout this exercise
– Lower your body back to the bed
– Repeat 4-5 times in a row
6. Knees to Chest
Complete your lower back stretching routine by raising both knees towards your chest by grasping your lower legs if this feels comfortable for your lower back.
How Often Should you do Lower Back Stretches?
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends flexibility exercises should be incorporated into an overall fitness plan. Stretching exercises are recommended 2-3 days/week (minimum). Static stretches should each be maintained for 10-30 seconds (1).
ACSM (1998) American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand. The recommended quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, and flexibility in healthy adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1998; 30: 975–991.
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