If you have tight hip flexors, thighs and stomach muscles, it is going to be hard to do any kind of back-bend and as a result you will probably end up painfully scrunching your lower back in attempting to bend backwards. In fact, if your entire front body is tight, your back will suffer.
So why bother do back-bends at all? Having a flexible spine translates to so many health benefits, it's silly to deny ourselves the positive side-effects of a regular stretching practice,
After having spent 20 years working in the corporate sector, spending hours sitting & slouching in front of my computer, I felt stiff, suffered from chronic shoulder and lower back pain and walked like an old woman! I visited my chiropractor on a weekly basis, spent time hanging upside down on an inversion table and went to have regular massages to relieve back tension. The relief was short lived. One day I woke up with a sciatica to add to my suffering. That was the time I decided to take my back into my own hands. Not only has my back pain vanished completely but I increased my energy and have an amazing posture as a consequence.
Here are some of the excerises I do daily:
=-The yoga wheel used here will help you stretch those muscles. By bringing the wheel between your legs and comfortably placing it at the top of buttock on the sacrum then lying down on it for at least 5 long breaths but preferably 10, as you try and relax the front of your body.
Another good hip flexor stretch is by placing your knee as close to the wall as possible and leaning back towards the wall pressing with the opposite foot. Lengthen and flatten your spine by tilting your pelvis down and forward. This will increase the stretch in the hip flexors. If you are comfortable maintaining this pose with your toes flat against the wall, try curling your toes under as I am doing in the video below.