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Lower Back Stretches to Relieve Pinched Nerves

by
author image Dana Severson
Based in Minneapolis, Minn., Dana Severson has been writing marketing materials for small-to-mid-sized businesses since 2005. Prior to this, Severson worked as a manager of business development for a marketing company, developing targeted marketing campaigns for Big G, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury, among others.
Lower Back Stretches to Relieve Pinched Nerves
Back pain can be caused by pinched nerves. Photo Credit AndreyPopov/iStock/Getty Images

Pain, tingling and even weakness in the legs may be caused by pinched nerves in the lower back. These nerves can be pinched right at the spine or in muscles as they travel down to your leg. Stretches relieve some of the pressure on pinched nerves. However, some positions might increase your pain. Consult your doctor before performing stretches.

Read more: Treatment for a Pinched Nerve in the Leg

The piriformis muscle can also be stretched in a seated position.
The piriformis muscle can also be stretched in a seated position. Photo Credit fizkes/iStock/Getty Images

Piriformis Stretch

Tightness in the piriformis muscle in the buttock often leads to pinched nerves travelling from the lower back.

Step 1

Lie on your back on a firm surface. Bend your knees and place your feet on the ground.

Step 2

To stretch your right piriformis, cross your right ankle over your left thigh so that your ankle rests just above your left knee.

Step 3

Slowly lift your left foot off the ground, bringing both legs toward you. Stop when you feel a stretch in your right buttock. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat three times. Switch legs and stretch your left piriformis.

Relax your back muscles during the extension stretch.
Relax your back muscles during the extension stretch. Photo Credit NewAgeCinema_ru/iStock/Getty Images

Lumbar Extension

Lumbar extension stretches bend your spine backward.

Step 1

Lie on your stomach on a firm surface. Place your forearms on the ground. Pull your elbows back until your hands rest under your shoulders.

Step 2

Keeping your back muscles relaxed, slowly press up through your forearms. Keep your hips on the floor.

Step 3

Hold this stretch for 20 to 30 seconds, then slowly lower back down. Repeat three times. To increase the amount of stretch, press up until you are supporting your upper body on your palms with your elbows straight.

Knee to chest stretches can be substituted for quadruped flexion stretches.
Knee to chest stretches can be substituted for quadruped flexion stretches. Photo Credit fizkes/iStock/Getty Images

Lumbar Flexion

Lumbar flexion is rounding of the lower back. This movement can be performed in several different positions if it is difficult for you to be on your hands and knees.

Step 1

Get on your hands and knees. Position your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees in line with your hips.

Step 2

Drop your chin down toward your chest. Slowly arch your back up toward the ceiling. Tuck your tailbone in to stretch the bottom of your spine.

Step 3

Round your back until you feel a stretch along your lower back. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then relax. Repeat three times.

Stretches can also be performed by a physical therapist.
Stretches can also be performed by a physical therapist. Photo Credit KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images

Rotation

Rotation stretches should be performed in both directions.

Step 1

Lie on your back on a firm surface. Bend your knees and place your feet on the ground.

Step 2

Keeping your knees together, slowly drop them to one side until you feel a stretch on the opposite side of your lower back. Keep your shoulder blades on the ground throughout this movement.

Step 3

Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then repeat three times. Perform this stretch on the opposite side.

Lower back stretches can be performed with an exercise ball.
Lower back stretches can be performed with an exercise ball. Photo Credit Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

Ball Walk-Outs

Lower back stretches might be more comfortable with an exercise ball supporting some of your body weight. Perform these exercises while seated in a chair if you are unable to kneel.

Step 1

Kneel on a firm, padded surface with a large exercise ball close in front of you. Place your hands on the ball.

Step 2

Walk the ball out away from you until you feel a stretch in your lower back. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat three times.

Step 3

Walk the ball out at a 45 degree angle -- approximately halfway between straight out front and out to the side -- to increase the stretch on one side of your lower back at a time. You should feel the stretch on the opposite side of the direction the ball is pointing. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat three times on each side.

Read more: Stability Ball Back Stretches

Self-Traction

Traction reduces pressure on pinched nerves by gently pulling the bones in your spine away from each other. Stretching techniques allow you to perform lower back traction to yourself.

Step 1

Sit in a chair with armrests. Place your hands on the armrests and press down, but do not lift your buttocks off the seat. In this position, you should feel decreased pressure throughout your lower back. Hold as long as you are able and repeat several times.

Step 2

Perform self-traction in standing by positioning yourself between two sturdy objects such as the back of chairs. Place one hand on each surface and straighten your elbows fully. Bend your knees to reduce the amount of weight through your legs. You should feel a pulling sensation in your lower back. Hold as long as possible, then relax. Repeat several times.

Step 3

Use a countertop to perform self-traction. Stand facing the counter and rest your forearms on top of it. Lean your body weight over your forearms. Bend your knees slightly to reduce the amount of pressure through your lower back. Hold as long as possible and repeat several times.

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