Yes, it’s okay to stretch a strained lower back as long as it doesn’t make your symptoms worse. 

Stretching is symptoms looked down upon for helping alleviate symptoms, however, sometimes it can be helpful. 

When I work with patients, I combine both strengthening and stretching to maximize the effectiveness of the program. 

If you are stretching and it’s making it worse I’d highly recommend adjusting your routine.

I wrote this article about a step-by-step method to find the right low back stretch and exercise for you as finding the right movement can be difficult without the proper framework.

Wondering if pilates or yoga is the best type of movement/exercise for your back? Check out the article I wrote on this.

How do you loosen a strained lower back?

There are 1000’s of article and youtube videos of “how to” stretch and i’ve created some of these too. This article is not for that. 

“Loosening,” of a strained low back will happen over time as long as you pick movements that don’t aggravate it past a tolerable level, and, you just give it time. 

Too often people ask me what the one “big fix” is, and often times they are disappointed that I don’t have a magic bullet for them. 

Sure, sometimes there is one movement that makes it all better, but often times it’s just integrating more movement over time and then letting your body do the rest. 

Should I roll out a strained back muscle?

Honestly, i’m not a big fan of using a foam roller or other methods of “smashing,” the lower back muscles. 

Whenever I have symptoms I don’t find it’s too helpful and I feel that it makes it worse. Many of my patients say the same thing. 

It doesn’t hurt so good like rolling out the hamstrings or calves do. 

But, with that being said, I have had clients that enjoy it. 

Ultimately it’s likely 50/50. Some people will find a benefit, others will not. You’re going to have to test it out yourself. 

Does stretching reduce inflammation?

It’s been shown in rat studies that stretching does reduce acute inflammation, however to my knowledge this has not been studied in humans.

Additionally, inflammation is largely a chemical process so it’s unlikely that stretching has a large effect if any in the human body given it’s a mechanical process. 

Regardless, stretching probably won’t make things worse. If you do notice an increase in symptoms you should reduce how much stretching you’re doing or reduce the intensity. 

When can I start stretching after a back strain?

As soon as you like. 

The most important part when recovering from any sort of back strain or other types of pain is to monitor your symptoms. 

If they don’t get significantly worse after performing the stretch or activity you are in the clear to continue. 

Does sitting make lower back pain worse?

Yes, sitting can make lower back pain worse, but literally, anything can make lower back pain worse. 

There is nothing inherently wrong with sitting, standing, bending, twisting, lifting, or anything else for that manner. 

If you have pain in your lower back from sitting, the best thing you can do is to try and stand up more, and move more, and then slowly reintegrate longer sitting durations into your daily routine. 

Standing desks can be helpful for this and actually this link is one of my favorites. My brother got one and i’ve recommended it to several clients. **varidesk affiliate link**

You can automatically set the height you want it at and with the press of a button it lifts up or lowers down. Pretty awesome.