Pelvic Tilts: Therapeutic Stretches for the Lower Back
Welcome to the weekly stretch for March!
This month we have been focusing on more therapeutic stretches for the low back. If you have ever been in therapy for low back pain you may have recognized one or two of these. Let’s continue this with Pelvic Tilts for week 4!
Sometimes the low back muscles are so tight they have a difficult time relaxing. The same goes for the abdominal muscles. This stretch uses the contract release method and will address this issue.
You will not need any equipment for the pelvic tilts stretch.
As with beginning any exercise program, it is recommended to contact your physician, physical or occupational therapist to find out what is best for you. If at any point the exercise or stretch causes or increases any symptoms, stop the activity.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet on the floor. This is the starting position as shown in the top photo. You will come to this position after each contraction. Pelvis is in a neutral position and the low back touching the floor.
Performing the Pelvic Tilt:
- While inhaling, arch the low back away from the floor, contracting all the back muscles from tailbone up towards the shoulder blades. (Shown in middle photo. Hands can stay on floor along your sides.) Hold for 3-5 seconds. The next step is the most IMPORTANT PART: release and relax VERY slowly. This is called Zen release, or slow mindful conscious relaxing of the muscles. Because these muscles may be very tight, when we purposely contract them greatly, the body will better understand the sensation of releasing and relaxing when done slowly. You will get a slight stretch through the front of your trunk when performing this as well. Return back to the starting position.
- On the next exhale hug knees to chest. Contract the abdominal muscles like you are doing an abdominal crunch. Think of bringing your ribs toward your pelvis. Again hold for 3-5 seconds. Then SLOWLY release and relax back to the starting position. You will get a stretch through the backside of the body when performing this as shown in bottom photo.
- Start out by doing each inhale and exhale 3 times. Then over time slowly increase towards 10 times each.