Top Stretches for Back Pain
Back pain is one of the most common ailments that American adults face, affecting millions of people every year.
Most back pain can be treated without surgery or narcotic pain medicines. Stretches, rest, exercise, proper posture and over-the-counter pain relievers can help you achieve a stronger, less painful back.
Physical therapists can help you improve back pain with many different exercises and stretches. At Bon Secours in Motion, some of our favorite stretches include:
This stretch works best for people with lower back pain that might extend into their rear and upper thighs. The stretch can help align your pelvis and release tightened muscles in that area.
To perform the stretch, lie on your back on the floor. Flex your feet so your toes are pointed at the ceiling. Bend one knee and slowly bring it up toward your chest. You can put your hands behind your thigh to help bring the leg up higher, for a deeper stretch. Hold your knee up by your chest for twenty seconds while breathing slowly and deeply. Then slowly lower your leg back down to the floor and unbend your knee.
You can repeat this exercise three times, alternating between each leg.
This common yoga pose can stretches the muscles all along your spine, helping release tightness.
For this stretch, kneel on your hands and knees. Put your hands directly beneath your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips. First, arch your back slowly while breathing out, bringing your chest up higher (cow pose). Then inhale and use your abdominal muscles to round out your back (like a cat when it’s spooked). Move slowly between these two positions, repeating several times to loosen up your back.
Another popular yoga pose, cobra stretch, helps stretch out your upper back and loosen up stiffness in your lower back.
For this pose, lie on your stomach. Put your arms in front of you with your elbows, wrists and palms on the floor. Slowly push up through your palms, extending your arms. Lift your upper body off the ground, but keep your hips against the floor. Find a place where you are comfortable and hold the position for 10 seconds. Then lower yourself slowly back down to the ground.
Repeat this stretch five times to loosen up back and core muscles.
Before starting any exercise program for back pain, it’s a good idea to see a physical therapist. A physical therapist can identify the source of your pain and give you stretches and exercises specifically designed for that area of your body.