Top 5 Stretches for Instant Lower Back Pain Relief At Home

Sometimes when you’re in a lot of pain you just want to do something to get out of pain as quickly as possible, that’s why we’ve put together these 5 stretches that you can do at home at any time to relieve your back pain or sciatica immediately. Give them each a go and see how you find them. We’ve chosen these specific stretches because they provide relief without making the problem worse. There are specific points that we will mention to make sure these are done correctly so save the video and take notes as the detailed instruction is important for your back pain relief. 

Decompress your lower back to ease the pain immediately

Your lower back is a load bearing structure and at the root cause of almost all back pain is a failure to deal with compression, squashing down on your spine. Injury makes this process even more painful. Yet our daily lives are full of continued actions which compress your spine more. These first three stretches will help you take pressure off your back with a targeted stretch that is like a breath of fresh air for your struggling lower back.

The towel decompression stretch for back decompression

For this first stretch you’re going to need a rolled up bath towel, you can do this either on the bed or on the floor for immediately taking pressure off your lower spine, muscles and the ligaments that are often stretched and tense.

  • Roll up the towel, to about 4-5 inches in diameter.
  • Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet on the floor
  • Engage your core and lift your bum and back off the floor
  • Slide the towel in to support your lower back’s natural arch
  • As you lower your back over the towel you should feel the gentle support
  • Place your hands on your tummy and relax here
  • You’ll feel the back being supported by the towel

Do this stretch for 20 seconds to 5 minutes and it can be done many times, 3 to 5+ a day to help take pressure off your spine and provide immediate relief for your lower back pain. When you’re finished with this stretch, make sure you roll to your side to get off the towel as lifting your bum or twisting your spine will not feel pleasant if you have back pain.

Bed decompression to stretch & pump your lower back discs gently

This next stretch works really nicely to actually get a small amount of pumping through your low back discs, think of this like pumping your soapy sponge in your kitchen sink to get all the dirty water out. The same is happening in your discs as you gently pump them with this stretch to relieve the pain and inflammation. 

  • Start lying with your head and shoulders at the edge of the bed
  • Your body should be lying across the rest of the bed
  • Now lift your arms and place them over the edge of the bed
  • You should immediately feel a small pull up the length of your spine
  • Now bend your elbows and bring your hands together to support your head
  • To create the pump, simply press your upper arm into the bed
  • Hold the pull, for a few seconds then relax the arms
  • Repeat the pumping as you like

You can repeat this bed decompression stretch for 20 seconds up to 5 minutes and hold the pumps for longer or shorter periods but always keep it gentle and controlled. If you’re doing it right you will feel a gentle achy feeling in the lower back as you stretch the discs in your lower spine. When you’re finished, wiggle your bum left and right a few times to re-engage your spine muscles and then get up slowly. You can repeat this stretch multiple times a day again, to ease the pressure building up in your spine.

Side of the bed stretch for lower back pain relief

This version of the bed stretch is done kneeling next to the side of your bed or a sofa, you can also do it sitting at your dining table too! This is similar to the bed decompression but some people will struggle to lie down, so this gives you an alternative way to stretch your low back and relieve the pressure and pain in your lower spine. 

  • Start kneeling next to the side of your bed
  • Lift your torso up and rest your forearms on the side of the bed
  • Keep your upper body strong so you are supported from your upper body
  • Slowly allow your pelvis to drop back down towards your heels
  • Hold the position here as you feel a gentle stretch through your lower back
  • Relax your body back onto your heels, then repeat the movement
  • Take pressure onto your forearms again to stretch the back

As with the previous stretches, you can repeat this for 20 seconds to 5 minutes, and do it many times a day. This same principle can be used sitting next to your table and using your forearms on the table to take the weight of the body off your lower spine for back pain relief that’s immediate.

Stretches to relieve the source of back pain and sciatica

With all of these three stretches you are doing something to relieve the strain that builds up in your lower back and take pressure off the injured part of your spine. This is the root cause of your back pain. You’re also doing it in a way that does not make the underlying problem worse, like in the case of child’s pose stretches or knee hugs. Instead of this, you’re actually helping your lower back heal and recover by regularly taking pressure off the discs and spine, as well as the muscles gently.

Relieve the tension that builds up pulling on your lower back

These next two stretches can be combined quite nicely before you do the stretches mentioned above to really release the tension and pain in your lower back. You might have done these before but many people do, and they do them in a bad way, making their lower back worse in the process. So make sure you take some notes on the finer points of these stretches to make sure they work for you!

Modified hamstring stretch: release the back of your thigh for back pain relief.

Your hamstring muscles are often tight as a result of your lower back injury and this makes the back worse. Stretching them to ease the tension on your lower back is a sensible move that will help give your back a little break for a while. Adding even a little bit of flexibility can instantly relieve some of the tension pulling on your lower back. But you must make sure that you do not allow your back to bend and round in the process of stretching as so many do. 

  • Standing with support, pop one leg on a chair or low step, depending on your flexibility
  • You should have a slight bend in the knee in front of you
  • Your spine should be neutral and have a small arch or hollow in it
  • Engage your core and back muscles to protect your back
  • Push your bum back pivoting at your hips
  • You will feel the stretch come on in the back of your thigh
  • Hold it here for 30 seconds
  • Relax into the stretch and then gently release and repeat for the other leg

This stretching again can be done a couple of times a day just like with the previous decompression stretches to alleviate the lower back tension. So long as you maintain a neutral spine this stretch will help you provide immediate relief for your back pain.

Modified hip flexor stretch: release the front of your hips for back pain relief

Your hip flexors are tight and weak for many of us, due to the way we spend all our day sitting, even those who do workout tend to forget about these muscles on the front of your spine and hips. Here we are stretching them safely, again with a neutral spine to provide a reduction in the tension pulling on your lower back. The mistake here is that people allow their back to arch too much when doing these, so make sure you hold your spine still. Do not do a pelvic tuck, but simply hold your spine still.

  • Start standing next to your bed with a chair for support if you need it
  • Take the near side leg and lift it onto the bed behind you 
  • Adjust your front leg so you are in a lunge-like position
  • Your front leg and arms can support your body weight
  • Your back leg is being stretched on the bed
  • Simply keep your upper body supported and move your “pocket” toward the bed
  • As your hip (pocket area) moves towards the bed, you will feel a stretch
  • Hold the stretch for the 30 seconds then repeat the other side

Repeat this stretch a couple of times a day alongside the other hamstring stretch and your choice of decompression stretch. So long as you do not arch your back, this will be a relief. If you find you get sharp pain in the back or sciatica when doing this stretch, know that you’ve moved your spine and you need to re-visit your technique more carefully. 

Putting it all together for immediate back pain relief

As we’ve mentioned through the article, if you want the best kind of quick relief for your lower back pain, choose your favorite back decompression stretch from the first three mentioned and combine it with the two stretches of the hips at the end. For bonus points you can add in some “contrast bathing” hot and cold therapy for back pain relief and inflammation reduction. You can also check out the dedicated video on contrast therapy for back pain and how to do it. This routine could help you out when you’re really struggling with low back pain in three ways:

  • Immediately taking pressure off your lower spine
  • Mobilising your hip joints safely without damaging the back
  • Managing excessive inflammation

This three-pronged strategy will help calm your lower back inflammation down and let you feel a little better with almost immediate effect and the combination is much better than the individual stretch or movement done on its own. Give it a go and let us know how you find it.

Long term relief for lower back pain and sciatica

This routine covered today is really a strategy for immediate relief of back pain, and it works for sciatica too, but it is not going to fix your back pain for the long term as there is no strengthening. You must incorporate the right, safe strengthening exercises if you are to get long term results. It’s fine to manage a crisis but to avoid the crises getting worse and more frequent, dealing with the underlying problem following proper rehabilitation strategies is essential. If you want help with this we have two resources for you: 

Back health masterclass: fixing your back pain from home

This masterclass is a full 80 minute seminar/workshop where we cover everything you need to do to rebuild your lower back health for the long term. It is completely free and has already helped thousands recover from their back pain by giving you the strategy and live demonstrations to make sure you succeed. 

Membership to the Back In Shape Program: a proven solution for back pain

The renowned Back In Shape Program membership is how we help those with back pain all over the world with the dedicated 4 Phase program that takes you from in pain to pain free with hundreds of video segments dedicated to help you get relief from lower back pain and rehabilitate correctly to keep you back strong and healthy for the long term. All of this is backed up and supported by our clinical team, there to help you every step of the way in our private groups. No matter the diagnosis, condition, whether you’ve had surgery or not. To learn more about becoming a member and what to expect, click the link here or below. We look forward to welcoming you to the community soon.

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