I can’t seem to ease my lower back pain. I’m an active person, I use a standing desk at work, and try to stretch during the day, but nothing seems to help with the soreness. Are there any exercises I can do to release my lower back? —Peter F.
Unfortunately, we feel your pain. And so do most reading this—every year more than 13 million people head to the doctor complaining about lower back issues, which makes it one of the most common ailments to affect Americans.
More often than not, the first twinges of a lower back ache stem from strained muscles, structural imbalances caused by tightness, or smaller nerves irritated from repetitive motion. And if left unchecked and untreated, these minor conditions can lead to more serious injuries and chronic pain like degenerative disc disease, disc herniation, or osteoarthritis—issues that require further medical treatment or surgery. So definitely check in with your doctor if your pain persists or increases.
Thankfully, there are some simple lower-back exercises that you can do at home to relieve sore muscles and keep your spine healthy—and hopefully prevent further injury. All you need is your trusty foam roller and three minutes to roll away pain and finally relax your back! Celebrity trainer Lauren Roxburgh shows us how:
Twist Spine Roll
Using the roller to elevate your hips will immediately create space in your lumbar spine, the area that gets tight when you sit for too long. Plus, this move activates your abdominal muscles, so you’ll work your six-pack, too!
2. Figure-Four Roll
The sacroiliac joint—the area that connects the tailbone to the pelvis and is often the source of sciatica—is notoriously hard to dig into. By crossing your ankle over your knee, it’s way easier to massage that tough-to-reach area that bothers so many people.
3. Seated Figure Four
Runners and cyclists, this one’s for you! The repetitive motion that comes with logging miles on the treadmill or on the bike often leads to tight hip flexors and gluteal muscles. This move releases tension in the glutes, and you can make it more intense by breathing deeply and holding the pose.
Press play to see how to alleviate your back pain—no chiropractor required!
Check out the previous installments of our foam-rolling series with Roxburgh, too:
- The #1 Foam-Roller Move for Better Posture
- How to Get Slimmer Legs Using the Foam Roller
- Get Rid of Cellulite With This Foam Rolling Move