Sitting all day can be hard on the low back. A lot of people are looking for ways to reduce low back pain, but they don’t have time to go through lengthy stretching routines or take a break from work.
Fortunately, there are some productive stretches that can be done sitting down in your chair!
These low back stretches will help you feel better and more energized throughout the day without taking too much time out of your busy schedule.
See our favorite 5 stretches that you can do sitting down at work or at home if you have balance issues.
Are There Benefits of Stretching While Sitting Down
There are a few key benefits of stretching while sitting in a chair.
First, it’s low impact so it won’t aggravate any existing injuries and it’s easier on some of the joints in the lower body.
Second, you can do these stretches pretty much anywhere at any time. Think work, church, or that boring zoom meeting that keeps dragging on forever.
Third, they’re perfect for people who have trouble getting down on the ground to do traditional back stretches. This includes anyone after surgery, the elderly, or people that don’t have any floor space.
Can You Stretch Your Back in Sitting?
Yes, you can definitely stretch your low back while sitting down.
In fact, some of the best stretches for low back pain are chair-based. You just need to make sure that you’re using the right posture and positioning to get the most out of each stretch.
Our 5 Favorite Stretches that you Can Do in a Chair
There are many different ways that you can stretch out the low in sitting. You want to focus on the hips and muscles on the backside of the spine. This list is not exhaustive but is a great start to get someone feeling better to move on to more standing exercises or to work into the day.
Seated Figure 4 Piriformis Stretch
The Figure Four Stretch is a low back stretch that helps stretch the piriformis muscle. This muscle runs deep in your hip and can get very tight from sitting too much. It’s a famous muscle for getting blamed for low back pain, although, it’s often blamed unfairly too much.
To do this stretch, simply cross one leg over the other with your ankle resting on top of your knee (similar to sitting crossed-legged). Lean forward slightly with your low back and reach down to grab the ankle on top of your knee.
You can either use a hand or towel for this stretch, but make sure that you pull in towards your stomach and push the knee down towers the floor.
Hold for at least 30 seconds and perform a minimum of 3 repetitions. You can also do more if you feel like you need to.
Seated Lumbar Flexion Stretch
The Lumbar Flexion Stretch is a great way to loosen up the low back muscles. To do this stretch, sit up tall in your chair and lean forward until you feel a stretch in your low back.
You can loop your hands underneath your foot to pull yourself down further and get a greater stretch.
If this is too much or it causes pain, then you can use a Swiss ball to roll out in front of you and still get a similar stretch.
Hold for 30 seconds and then release. Repeat two more times.
Pelvic Tilt in Sitting
The Pelvic Tilt is less of a stretch and is more of a mobilization of the spine and the low back. It also activates the deep abdominal muscles.
To do this stretch, sit up tall in your chair and tilt your pelvis backward until you feel a gentle stretch in your low back. Imagine that your pelvis is a bowl and you are trying to pour it out the backside.
Hold for at least 5 seconds and perform a minimum of 15 repetitions.
Seated Hamstring Stretch
The Seated Hamstring Stretchhelps to lengthen the muscles on the backside of the thigh and also helps stretch the Sciatic nerve. In all honesty, the stretching of the sciatic nerve probably does more good than the Hamstrings.
To do this stretch, sit up tall with both legs extended out straight and toes pointing up to the ceiling. Lean forward slightly with your low back until you feel a gentle stretch behind your thigh muscles (hamstrings).
You can increase the stretch by reaching down towards the toe. You can also perform this one leg at a time to focus on one side.
Hold for at least 30 seconds and perform a minimum of 3 repetitions.
Seated Sciatic Nerve Glides
The Sciatic Nerve Glides are a great exercise for low back pain because it focuses on calming down the Sciatic nerve. This in turn will decrease the pain in the lumbar spine and any of the nerve-related pain down the legs.
To do this stretch, sit up tall with both legs bent underneath you. Pull the toes up towards the shin on the painful leg and try to straighten the knee as far as you can.
You’ll feel tightness behind the knee and behind the thigh which most people associate as Hamstring tightness but is actually nerve tightness.
Hold this for 5 seconds before you bend the knee and perform again. Try to do 10 repetitions on each leg multiple times a day.
We hope you enjoyed this post on stretches that you can do sitting down in a chair. You can perform these at work or if you are in so much pain that you cannot stand up.
If you liked this post and would like to learn more about low back stretches, then please check out our other posts and low back focuses articles.
Leave us a comment below if you have a favorite exercise that you like to do sitting down.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is for educational purposes only. This is not a substitute for a medical appointment. Please refer to your physician before starting any exercise program.