Is your lower back feeling stiff, tight and sore? The first thing you should do is take a break from any activity you think may be contributing to the soreness (weight lifting and running are common culprits). Then, perform some of these gentle lower back exercises to ease your stiffness.
Most people think of crunches as an abdominal exercise, but they're actually good for your lower back, too. As long as you don't crunch up too much, they stretch and strengthen the muscles in your lower back. To perform a safe and effective crunch, begin by laying on your back with your knees bent and your hands behind your head. Bend at the waist just until your shoulders come off of the ground, and then return to your starting position. Do 8 – 12 crunches in a set several times per day.
This is another easy exercise to perform when your lower back is sore, since you do it from a lying-down position. Lie on your back with your arms at your sides and your legs straight out in front of you. Then, bend one leg at the knee, placing the foot flat on the ground. Raise the other leg in the air as far as possible, keeping it straight. Hold that position for 10 – 20 seconds, and the lower the leg to the floor again. Repeat this stretch with the opposite leg. Do 8 – 12 reps with each leg once per day until your back pain subsides.
This exercise is excellent for stubborn back pain near the lumbar curvature in the spine, just above the buttocks. Begin by lying flat on your stomach with your arms at your sides and palms facing the floor. Then, lift your chest off of the floor by activating the muscles in your back. Hold this position for 10 – 15 seconds, and then lower yourself back onto the floor again. Repeat the motion 10 – 15 times whenever your back is feeling sore.
Almost everyone experiences lower back stiffness from time to time. Generally, it goes away on its own with a little rest and the right exercises. If your lower back pain is severe and getting in the way of your daily life, or if it does not subside within a week, contact a physical therapist or physician at a place like Active Orthopaedics who specializes in sports medicine. He or she can evaluate your individual situation and prescribe a treatment based on the diagnosis.