Stretches to Relieve Back Pain
If you feel tension in your body or experience discomfort in your back while sitting, walking or standing, you may benefit from stretching. Regularly stretching improves flexibility, range of motion, energy levels and posture. It also releases tension to help relieve and prevent pain.
When stretching, it’s important not to force the body into uncomfortable positions. If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort while stretching, consult a medical professional before continuing.
Stretches to do Before or After Exercise
It’s beneficial to make stretching a habit before and after exercises. Proper stretching helps to warm up and cool down your muscles. Try incorporating some of these back stretches into your workout routine.
- Knee-to-chest: Lie with your back flat on the ground and knees bent with your feet flat on the floor. Keeping your knee bent, lift one leg up to pull it to your chest into a hug. Make sure your lower back is staying flat to the ground and not arching. Hold the knee to your chest for 10 seconds and then repeat on the other side. Hold each knee to the chest three times.
- Reclining Spinal Twist: This is an extension of the knee-to-chest stretch. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Keeping your legs bent, draw both knees to your chest into a hug. Extend one leg out and lower it to the ground while keeping the other pulled to the chest. On an exhale, place your opposite hand on the outside of the knee to your chest and gently drop your knee across your body. On your next breath, turn your head to face the opposite direction of your knee. Hold the position for 10-15 seconds, then do the same on the other side.
- Cat/Cow: Get into a tabletop position with your hands and knees on the ground. Your wrists should be directly below your shoulders, spine neutral and knees below your hips. Relax your shoulders by pulling them away from your ears and gently gaze downward. Take a deep breath in and drop your navel toward the floor as you lift your chin and chest and direct your gaze upward. With your exhale, pull your navel up and drop your head and neck into a downward gaze. This position should resemble a cat arching its back. Continue these motions with each inhale and exhale ten times. The breaths should be deep and slow-moving.
Stretches for the Office (or Home Office)
If your work requires you to sit at a desk, chances are you spend hours in a chair hunched over your computer. Spending too much time at the computer can lead to discomfort in your back, neck and shoulders. To reduce some of the strain on your body, try a few of these stretches throughout your workday.
- Rotating Chair Twists: Sit at the edge of your chair and place your hands behind your head with your palms facing forward. Take a deep breath and relax your shoulders. Holding the position, gently turn to your left and then your right, holding each side for 5 seconds. Rotate to each side five times.
- Chair Arm Raises: Place yourself on the edge of your chair with your arms relaxed on either side of you. Slowly raise your arms in front of you and then above your head. Arms should be straight, but your elbows should not be locked. Hold your arms above your head for 10 seconds, then slowly lower them back down to your sides. Repeat this motion eight times.
- Lower Back Stretch: While sitting on the edge of your chair, place your palms on your back with your fingers pointing toward the ground and your thumbs resting above your hip bones. Gently push your palms forward and allow for a slight bend in your spine. Take a deep breath and open your chest by rotating your shoulders back. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 2-3 times.
If you’re struggling with chronic back pain that won’t subside with regular stretching, the Mocek Spine Clinic team can help. We offer advanced spine care solutions and treatment plans designed to relieve chronic pain so you can continue living with the least amount of pain possible. If you’d like to learn more about our services, give us a call at 501.224.4001 or schedule an appointment online.