Technically, it’s unlikely that you can actually lengthen your spine. However, you can improve your posture and actually become a little taller by restoring the natural curvature of your spine. You’ve already begun doing this with the head-retraction, neck, and thorax exercises described earlier.
The quickest and simplest way to begin to lengthen your low back is to stand up and:
- raise both hands over your head, palms facing each other,
- take a big deep breath, and then as you exhale,
- laterally flex your body to one side, and then
- inhale as you return to vertical.
- Repeat on the other side.
This stretches the muscles on either side of your lower spine, mainly the quadratus lumborum muscle, but also the lumbar multifidi muscles as well as deep muscles that lie along the spine.
This video shows a simple stretch for the quadratus lumborum muscle.
This video shows the yoga crescent moon pose, another variation on this stretch.
I like the way this trainer in this next video introduces some rotation into the movement. This makes sense anatomically. In addition to lateral flexion, the quadratus lumborum can also extend the trunk. Rotating the your thorax 30 degrees or so forward on the side you are stretching targets this action of the QL.
This video shows how to stretch your low back while lying face up.
This video shows both another approach to the previous face-up stretch as well as a variation on the yoga child’s pose designed to target the quadratus lumborum.
This video shows a specific clinical approach to engage the lumbar multifidus.