Exercise can be a terrific way to manage your pain while strengthening your back muscles so that any future pain is minimized. Many of these exercises do not require any special equipment and they can be performed almost anywhere. There are some exercises that may require a stability ball or a partner, and these should be planned ahead of time because of this.
Stretching will strengthen the muscles in your lower back and increase the blood flow and health of these tissues. One of the best exercises for stretching is to reach for your toes. Stand on a flat surface, placing your feet shoulder width apart. Keep your legs straight and your knees locked, and allow your upper body to hang down. Do not strain to reach your toes, instead let gravity do the stretching for you.
Standing crunches are also great stretches for lower back pain. Place your feet shoulder width apart, and place your hands clasped together at the back of your head to simulate crunch hand placement. While standing rotate your upper body, using your left elbow to reach towards the right thigh, and then reversing sides with your right elbow and left thigh. Perform this set at least 10 times, remembering to use both the abdominal muscles and lower back muscles together.
Another exercise that will help stretch the lower back requires the use of a table or other low object. Place your foot on the table while leaving the other foot firmly placed on the ground. Keep your leg straight and slowly lean in towards the foot without straining. Hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds and up to 1 minute, and then raise back up. Repeat with the other leg.
Stretches are designed to help get rid of the source of the pain, which is usually weak or tense muscles. The lumbar area is very complex, with many types of tissue in the same area. Stretching will help relieve any discomfort and prevent lower back injuries, and strengthens the muscles so that the pain relief may be permanent.