When people complain of lower back pain, they generally point to the buttocks as the area which is in pain. That’s why these stretches may help. Make sure you read my intro to all the stretches.
This stretch is my favourite! It’s saved me from a lot of back, hip, buttock and leg pain that I used to suffer from. The sciatic nerve also gets a stretch with this one as it is closely related to the buttock muscles.
I used to wear high heels often, and for long periods. By the end of the day or night of wearing heels, my back would be extremely sore. When I discovered these stretches, I would do them after wearing heels and my back would settle down.
My flat feet were also a constant source of hip and buttock pain. Collapsing on my arches put a lot of strain on my hip and buttock muscles. This was made worse by the fact that I was a runner. I corrected my running and walking style and did these stretches regularly to prevent pain.
Just remember to go easy with any stretch. If there is pain, stop the stretch and seek advice from a health professional.
How to do the stretch:
There are a few different variations of this stretch. The one you choose to do will depend on your level of flexibility.
Level: Easy Stretch for lower back pain
Here are the steps:
Lie on your back – knees bent
Take one leg and cross the ankle of that leg over the opposite thigh, very close to the knee
Put your hands behind the knee of the leg which is still on the ground and gently lift it up towards you to a comfortable stretch.
Keep your sacrum or tail bone on the ground. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Gently release your leg back onto the ground.
Repeat this exercise on the other leg. Make sure you keep swapping over to the other side until you have repeated this stretch three times on each side. Doing the stretch only once on each side will not be enough to lengthen them.
Another variation would be to sit up with both legs out in front. Take one leg and cross the foot over the other thigh, very close to the knee. Hug the knee up towards your chest with the opposite arm and hold it for 30 seconds. Turn your body towards the knee being hugged. You should feel the stretch in your buttock. Repeat this stretch three times on each side.
Level: Hard Stretch for lower back pain
This variation may be quite difficult for some people who are really stiff and sore. For the person who just suffers from a bit of stiffness, this would be a great way to get flexible in your hip and buttock areas.
I like that your ‘sit bones’ are firmly planted on the surface that you are sitting on while the stretch is being performed. This allows for a better stretch.
Sit on a chair, bench, couch or steps with your legs at 90 degrees.
Gently take one leg and put the ankle of that leg on the opposite thigh, near the knee.
Keep your back straight, gently lean forwards towards your leg till you get a comfortable stretch which is felt in your hip region.
Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
Return your body to the upright position, leaving the leg where it is.
Tip: The lower your seat is, the harder it is to do the stretch.
The second part of this stretch is to hug the bent leg up towards your chest, keeping your ‘sit bones’ on the seat. You can use both hands to hug the leg up or put one hand behind you to balance.
Aim to get the leg to the centre of your chest.
Hold the stretch for 30 seconds then lower the leg to the ground.
Many people pull the leg to the opposite side of the body, which I find to be less effective. You should feel this stretch in your buttock region.
Repeat the two steps above until you have done both steps a total of three times on each side.