senior couple stretching

According to the American Chiropractic Association, lower back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and half of all Americans admit to experiencing back pain. Back pain can be particularly aggravating when combined with the other aches and pains that often come with aging. While some back conditions require medical attention to fully address, exercise is a simple remedy to alleviate minor back pain. Here are a few basic stretches that are easy to do at home, require no extra equipment, and help to ease mild lower back pain.

Knee to Chest

Lie flat on your back on the ground and lift your knee to form a 90-degree angle. Wrap your arms around your lifted knee, thigh, or shin, and slowly pull your knee toward your chest. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds and then release the leg to an extended position. Repeat this stretch three times for each leg to help align your pelvis and stretch your lower back muscles.

Two-Knee Twist

Lie flat on your back and bring your knees up to your chest. Spread your arms out until they lie flat in a “T” shape. Then slowly lower your knees down together to one side of your body. Keep both of your shoulders down. If you notice one of your shoulders lifting up, lower your knees further away from your arms. Hold the stretch for 1 to 2 minutes on each side.

Leg on the Wall

Lie on the ground facing a wall, and gradually work your legs up the wall until your body forms a 90-degree angle. Your buttocks should then be flush against the wall. Hold this stretch for 5 to 10 minutes to relax your lower back and to drain stagnant fluid from your feet and ankles.

Cat/Cow Pose

If you’re familiar with yoga, then you may have tried this pose before. Begin by kneeling on all fours with your hands aligned beneath your shoulders and your knees aligned beneath your hips. Exhale and arch your back to form a “cow” shape, raising your spine as high as you can. As you inhale, slowly lower your back down into a rounded cat-like pose, tightening your core muscles. Hold each stretch for 5 to 10 seconds and repeat 10 times.

Hamstring Stretch

Lie flat on your back and raise one leg straight into the air. Wrap your arms around it and lock your fingers together. Then slowly pull your lifted leg toward your chest, keeping your leg straight and your toes pointed toward you. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds on each side.

If you suffer from back pain, stretching can help reduce the aches while also keeping your body flexible and healthy. When you incorporate these simple stretches into your daily routine, you’ll begin to notice a difference in your level of pain.

(Related article: The Health and Wellness Benefits of Yoga for Seniors)