Many of us suffer from occasional or even chronic back pain. The pain can be exacerbated during long travel, stressful situations, unbroken sedentary periods, as well as use and overuse: lifting, carrying, climbing stairs, even regular exercise.
There are a variety of stretches that can relieve back pain or even prevent further pain.
Before you try any of these stretches, please get permission from your health care team.
If you would like to embark on a stretching regimen, be sure that you have a flat surface, free of debris, large enough to accommodate you if you lie down. Be sure to wear comfortable clothing that doesn’t restrict your movement. As you attempt each of the stretches, be sure to remember these tips:
- Go into the stretch slowly and hold the position for 30 seconds, if you can. Repeat the stretch for a total of five repetitions, if you find that it feels good.
- Do not bounce during a stretch.
- Do not continue the stretch if you feel pain.
Try this sequence of stretches that have been found useful for low back pain relief. Some of these stretches may be known under other names, especially in various yoga practices.
Hugging Your Knees:
Lie down on your back. Bring your knees together to your chest and hug your knees as tightly as you can. Hold the pose and let go. If you want you can rock slightly to the left and right. This is a great way to begin a stretching sequence. If you’re not flexible, it’s okay. Just bring your knees as close to your chest as you can handle.
Half Snow Angels in the Air:
Still lying down on your back, put your legs on the ground, keeping your legs straight. Now lift both legs up a few inches in the air. Pull your legs apart and then back together slowly. Then lower your legs. Many people find that this stretch is too challenging, especially if you carry a lot of weight in your belly. Nevertheless, others find immediate relief from doing this stretch.
Face down on your hands and knees. Slowly move your spine up, like you are a cat, arching your back. Slowly lower your back down before repeating.
Lie down on your tummy. Stretch your arms out in front of you. Keep your legs together. At the same time, lift up your arms and your upper back as well as your legs. If you cannot do this move, just lift your arms. Slowly come down and take a breath before repeating.
This classic pose is a great stretch and is easier than it looks. Start on your hands and knees, with your hands slightly in front of your shoulders. Pressing back, raise your knees away from the floor and lift your tailbone up toward the ceiling. Keep your head down.
Climbing the Wall:
Lie down on your back in front of a wall. Put your tush all the way against the wall and put your legs against the wall. This is an easy pose that drains the fluid from your ankles and is incredibly relaxing.