The lower back stretches included here cover a wide range. It's essential to understand that, when we're experiencing lower back pain, comprehensive stretching for the whole body is crucial.
The body is a tensegrity which means that everything is connected to everything else. Without lengthening the hamstrings and hips and shoulder girdle it's very difficult to completely reduce pressure on the low back.
This is part of what we mean when we say the body is a tensegrity. For more on the concept of the body as a tensegrity structure, see Four Essential Realities about the Body.
As you work through the stretches here I urge you perform the movements slowly and gently.
It's a common myth that lower back stretches or back exercises in general might need to be a little painful in order to be effective.
This type of "no pain, no gain" mindset is of no use in a therapeutic context. Exercises which are uncomfortable will only serve to aggravate your lower back pain.
Back stretches such at the Somatic Pelvic Tilt are an excellent way to introduce a little movement to the lower back without creating too much strain.
It's a technique I often prescribe for clients experiencing significant pain.
However, it can also be part an excellent daily stretching routine for anyone who wants to improve lumbar mobility.
These back stretches begin to expose the intimate relationship between the lower back and the gluteal muscles.
In this sequence we begin to prepare the gluteal muscles for the deeper stretching routine in Part 2.
This is a much more advanced stretching sequence which intensely isolates the gluteal muscles, especially the gluteus maximus.
It's important to work up to this sequence by making certain that Part 1 can be performed comfortably.
I developed this sequence to provide an option for those who cannot easily get up and down from the floor, but it also serves as a fine option any time throughout the day.
It begins with a gentle but powerful mobilization of the hamstrings (essential for relieving pressure on the lower back) then progresses to include a twisting stretch for the torso and finally mobilization of the shoulders.
This movement creates a simultaneous stretch for the muscles of the back and the hamstrings. If your hamstrings are extremely tight you may feel this mostly in that muscle group.
In this sequence we take the hamstrings out of the equation in order to focus solely on the muscles of the back.
This spinal stretch comes from the Somatic Movement of Thomas Hanna, student of Moshe Feldenkrais.
It is a fundamental and gentle counter-force stretch, and has an effect on the spine like wringing out a wash cloth. Lower back stretches such as this one create diagonal lines of stretch.