If you feel pain in your lower back area everyday, stretching it all the time might NOT be the solution.
From my experience, tension and chronic pain on the back side of your waist that accumulates after sitting for long hours is often due to bad posture while sitting. If your lower back is slightly rounded (posterior pelvic tilt) when you sit then your Quadratus Lumborum (QL) will contract in an attempt to get you to sit up properly (properly = slight concave curve in the lumbar spine). If you ignore it then your QL will keep trying to contract until eventually it strains itself in it’s attempt. And then when you finally stand up you feel pain cause standing makes that muscle work more lol. So basically, you just sat all day ignoring it and now you want it to work and it’s burned out! Ever been asked to do something when you were really tired? It’s painful isn’t it?! Well…that’s how your QL feels and that’s why it is screaming at you!
Although it might initially feel organically good to stretch your lower back and that stretching it might result in some short term relief, and stress your back with stretches that might just make the problem even more chronic, that you try figuring out what is REALLY going on.
Once you have seen your doctor to rule out any pathologies/medical diagnosis that may need specific medical attention or medical treatment, then I would suggest you follow my 5 step recommendation to dealing with your chronic back-pain:
1- LIE DOWN AND RELAX – Lie down flat on back or stomach with a pillow under your hips (whatever is most comfortable) and relax with at least 5-minutes of deep breathing letting go of tension as you exhale.
2- MASSAGE THE AREA – Get some circulation in that area. Self-massage with tennis ball or foam roller or better yet make an appointment with a massage therapist or trusted body-worker.
3- EDUCATE YOURSELF ABOUT THE SOURCE OF THE PROBLEM – If you always have pain after you get up from sitting then, obviously there’s something that’s happening when your sitting that your body is not liking. Find out what! Explore your posture and alignment with an experienced yoga therapist, physio, osteopath etc…who will not just tell you how to sit and stand with good alignment but will also tell you which muscles should be stretched (because they are tight and pulling you out of alignment) or which ones should be strengthened (because they are weak and not holding you up properly). For example: Maybe your core is weak and is giving up on you; or your hips have gotten so tight from sitting that they are making it harder for you to sit up right. Or maybe your work station isn’t ergonomic.
4- PUT YOUR KNOWLEDGE INTO ACTION – Now that you have the knowledge of what’s going on and what to do about it, start sitting with proper alignment at work. And at home, take time every morning and evening to do your recommended stretches and/or strengthen exercises. For example: I will often give my clients some hip and shoulder stretches and maybe 1 standing balance pose to help develop their core muscles, that they can easily do at home or discretely at work.
5- CREATE A MAINTENANCE PROGRAM – that will help you stay on track and overcome old patters. Practice alignment-based yoga class 1-2x per week to better deal with stress and to help deepen your knowledge about your body and how to take care of it. Or maybe you have another specialist you find is really helping you understand your body.
In conclusion, when i see these “quick fix” posts on fb I cringe. Pain is usually not so straight forward, especially chronic pain. And often what we see as a quick fix just makes the problem worse! Where we feel the pain is often NOT what actually needs to be addressed in the long-term. So can you stretch your back? Of course, do what feels good. But ALSO find out what is REALLY going on and start working on the long-term solution rather than just repeatedly and temporarily treating the symptoms.