Lying buttocks and hip stretch legs crossed

I've included this stretch for your buttocks because oftentimes low back pain can actually be caused by a tight muscle that affects the low back area. Tight muscles that affect your back include calves, hamstrings, buttocks, and hip flexors. If these muscles are tight they can pull on surrounding muscles, causing your lower back to overcompensate, creating poor posture and muscular imbalance.

This specific stretch targets your piriformis, which is a muscle in your buttocks that when tight can pinch your sciatic nerve, causing pain. Because all your muscles attach to each other and affect each other, maintaining flexibility in all the areas surrounding your lower back can go a long way toward fighting low back pain.

To do this stretch, follow these steps:

1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.

You can perform this stretch lying in bed if it is more comfortable for you.

2. Place the outside of your right ankle on top of your left thigh, just above your knee.

3. Raise your left foot off the floor, inhale, and as you exhale, gently pull your left knee closer to your chest with your hands.

Don't forget to interlock your fingers behind your left knee for support (see Figure 6-9a). If it's uncomfortable to interlock your hands behind your knee, try wrapping a small hand towel around the back of your thigh and use that to gently pull your leg toward your chest.

4. With your right elbow, gently press your right knee away from you (see Figure 6-9b).

5. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, gradually deepening the stretch with every exhalation.

6. Repeat the stretch by switching legs.

i Do be patient and let the stretch deepen with each breath. i Don't lift your hips off the floor or lean to one side. i Don't bounce or force the stretch.

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