Lower Back Stretches To Avoid If You Have Back Pain

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. Some of the most widely recommended stretches for back pain can actually make your condition worse if you have the kind of back pain that hurts when you sit or bend your spine (round your back).

Probably the most common type of back sufferer is people who have backs that are flexion intolerant. It hurts whenever they round their back too much. People with herniated or bulging discs in the lower back often experience this kind of pain. The discs in your spine are jelly-filled, rubbery plates that act as shock absorbers and separate the individual bones of your spine (vertebrae). Bending forward too far might irritate and inflame pastier injured discs in a flexion-intolerant back, causing discomfort by pressing on nearby nerves.

Bad Stretches for Lower Back Pain

Knees to chest
Knees to chest

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.

L hamstring stretch
L hamstring 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
V stretch

Read also: A Simple Guide to Prevent Lower Back Pain

Superman back extension

To do this stretch, lie on your stomach with your arms extended in front of you. Then, raise your upper body and legs off the ground, keeping your back straight. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then slowly lower yourself back to the starting position.

Avoid superman back extension exercise, if you have back pain. Instead you can perform bird-dog exercise. If you want to strengthen and stabilise your low back without putting too much strain on your spine, the bird-dog exercise is a good choice. Get down on your hands and knees and start deep inhaling and contracting your abs to get started.

Without bending your pelvis, slowly lift and extend one leg behind you until it’s at hip level. Raise the free arm till it’s parallel to your torso, then extend it overhead. Ten seconds at a time, then come back to the beginning position. Then, after 8-12 reps, switch to the other side. When performing this exercise, avoid letting your lower back slump.


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.