Chair flexion stretch

You have to be very careful when choosing stretches for lower back pain. Sometimes stretching the lower-back can be the worst thing you can do. If you have the type of back pain that hurts when you sit or flex your spin (round your back) then doing some of the most commonly prescribed stretches for back pain can actually make your back worst.

Probably the most common type of back sufferer is people who have backs that are flexion intolerant. Whenever they round their back too far it hurts. This type of condition is typical for someone who has bulged or herniated discs that protrude posterity from the lower-back. The discs in the spine are rubbery like plates with a jelly center that go in-between the vertebraes (bones) of your spine and act like shock absorbers; these  help keep the spine flexible. Whenever a flexion intolerant back bends forward too far the pastier damaged discs can push against a nerve and cause pain or just get aggravated or inflamed and cause pain.

Bad Stretches for Lower Back Pain:

Knees to chest

L hamstring stretch

If you have a flexion intolerant back, don’t stretch it out in a flexed position. Avoid all stretches that round the back and put you in a vulnerable position. I know you always hear people say that when you hurt your back you have to stretch but many of the most popular stretches are inappropriate for the back sufferer who is in pain when they try to touch their toes. These include:  the V stretch, knees to chest, the seated L hamstring stretch, and the chair flexion stretch. All these stretches round the back and can put you in the weakest and most vulnerable positions if you have a flexion intolerant back. I know the objective of these stretches are to increase the flexibility of your hamstrings, and lower back muscles (spinal erectors) but the risk of further injury is just too great to do them.

V stretch

If you have back problems, my advice is to get evaluated by a professional and come up with a proper rehab program. If you want to try to rehab your back yourself, avoid any movement that will cause pain and condition your back in a neutral position. Stretching for lower back pain may not be the right move.

Come back for a future article about how to strengthen the lower back in a neutral position.


Let me know if you have ever hurt your lower-back stretching it.

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Best – Mike Cola


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My name is Mike Cola (yeah that is me in the pic @ 54 years old). I’ve been called a “Contrarian” since I believe that most mainstream fitness approaches are extremely inefficient.

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