Low-back pain hits most of us at some point. It can be caused by injury, poor posture, repetitive motion, or simply aging—the soft discs between vertebrae dry over time, and less-supple discs can be more susceptible to bulging or rupture and put pressure on nerves, sending red-hot pain signals to your brain. But while getting older is inevitable, pain is not: Experts agree that routine stretching can both prevent and relieve symptoms. When your spine and pelvis are aligned and your muscles are relaxed, you can be more resilient. Use these poses to ease tension in your back, as well as in the hips, hamstrings, and inner legs, which can affect your posture and lower spine.
Whether your back pain is acute or chronic, talk to your doctor before you start any new exercise routine. Then approach this sequence as a form of self-care: Go easy, soothing your nerves, mind, and body. Use deep, fluid breaths to move from pose to pose. If you feel any strain in your lower back, reduce your range of motion or skip the pose.
Start with basic lower back stretches that do not require you to leave the floor.
Bring more movement to your practice by strengthening and stretching muscles that support your posture and lower spine.
Commit to a full 30-minute practice the begins with basic stretching and carries you through postures that can ease pain and strengthen your lower back.