Lower Back Stretches for Seniors

Over 80 percent of adults in America will experience some form of back pain in their lifetime. Lower back stretches will help improve range of motion and relieve pain in many of these cases.

Low back pain is usually a result of muscle spasms along the deep muscles of the back. This pain can extend into the buttocks and legs. Lower back stretches can play an important roll in the prevention of low back pain.

  1. Farmers Stretch
  2. Seated roll down
  3. Supine wipers.
  4. Supine knee to chest.
  5. Cat and Camel.
Watch my instructional video

Common causes of back pain include muscle strain, ligament sprain, poor posture, wear and tear, herniation or disc bulge, or an internal organ issue like kidney pain.

Make sure to see your health care provider if you have significant pain, fever, weight loss, redness or swelling,, pain or numbness that travels down your leg, especially past your knee, or if you have any weakness in your legs.

Exercise 1

Farmers Stretch. Begin in a standing position with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hands on your hips. Take a big breath in through your nose. As you exhale, begin to gently look up toward the ceiling, arching your back. There should be no pain, just a pleasant stretching feeling in your back. If you have neck pain, lower your gaze but try to lean back into a stretch. Hold for 10 seconds then return to starting position. Repeat 3 times.

Exercise 2

Seated Roll Down. Begin seated in your chair. Scoot to the front edge with arms at sides. Inhale and extend your arms out in front of your chest, then bring your knuckles together. Exhale and slowly bring your arms down between your knees, rolling down, one vertebrae at a time until your fingers touch the floor. Hold for 10 seconds. Then reverse your position and roll slowly back up to starting position one vertebrae at a time. Repeat 3 times.

Exercise 3

Supine wipers. Begin on the floor lying on your back, feet flat on floor. Press your back into the floor by performing a pelvic posterior tilt. Gently bring your knees left and right in a small range of motion. Gradually increase the motion from left to right. There should be no pain. If you experience pain, make the motion shorter. Gradually increase your motion in a pain free manner. Continue for 3 minutes.

Exercise 4

Supine Knee to Chest. Begin by lying on your back with feet flat on the floor. Perform a posterior pelvic tilt and press your back to the floor. Inhale deeply and bring one of your knees toward your chest. If you have had hip replacement, bring knee only to 90 degrees. Feel the stretch in your lower back. Hold for 10-20 seconds, then repeat with your other leg. This stretch should feel good and not cause pain.

Exercise 5

Cat and Camel. Begin by assuming quadruped position on the mat. Inhale through the nose deeply. Exhale and begin to arch your back while looking down between your knees. Hold this position for 3 seconds, then begin to move in the opposite direction, lifting head and flattening your back. If possible, rotate your hips forward, (anterior tilt), and bring your belly button toward the ground. This will encourage a reverse arch in your back. Hold this position for 3 seconds, then return to a neutral position. Repeat 3 times.

These lower back stretches are a great way to prevent any recurrence of pain once you have improved to a pain free state. Remember during the day to remind yourself to think posture.

Stand with your hips over your ankles, a neutral pelvis by contracting your abdominal and bringing your belly button to your spine. Bring your shoulders up, back, and down. Take two fingers and press your chin straight back as if on a platter.

Also be aware of your lifting position. Always hinge from the hip when leaning over, bend at the hip and knees when reaching down to the floor. Keep the weight close to your body to avoid and back pain.

It is important to work on your core strength also. Doing a plank is a simple and easy way to improve your core strength. Planks specifically work your abdominals and not your hip flexors which is an efficient way to exercise your core.

Make sure to perform all the exercises slowly and without forcing any movement. The lower back stretches should be pain free and feel good. So get started today on your exercise program and feel the amazing difference back stretches will make in your life.

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Doug Schrift

Doug Schrift is a Physical Therapist, Certified Geriatric Specialist, and senior fitness coach. Doug helps seniors become strong and stable even if they have never exercised before.