7 Stretches That Can Help Reduce Back Pain

January 30, 2019
Back pain can get in the way of our daily lives. We should take a few minutes each day to do stretches that help relieve and even prevent back pain.

In this article, we want to present a set of stretches that can help reduce back pain. They’re perfect for when your back starts screaming for rest.

Back pain and other lumbar issues are maladies of the 21st century. There’s no doubt about that.

Back pain is mostly caused by bad posture. It can also be caused by spending too many hours in front of the computer. The problem is that it can become a chronic issue. If it does, it can cause a lot of inconveniences in the future.

Exercises to help reduce back pain

A study on spinal column care was completed in 2010. According to this study, 80% of the world population will suffer from back issues at some point in their lives.

This pain is considered a chronic health issue. It mostly affects adults in specific jobs (office workers have the highest risk).

The good news is that there are stretches you can do to help reduce back pain. These are good for the days where you can’t move much because of the pain, you still have many hours before you can get home, or even if you are away from home and have lots of errands to run.

Some can be done at work. Other stretches should wait until you’re in a more comfortable, quiet environment. In this article, we will tell you some of the most recommended stretches for your back.

Knees to your chest

Woman doing the knee to chest stretch

  • Put a yoga mat on the floor. Lay on your back with your legs straight.
  • Raise one knee to your chest. Grab it with both hands.
  • Keep the position for 30 seconds and return to the resting position.
  • Repeat with the other knee.
  • Complete 10 times with each knee.

If you can, a more advanced version of this stretch is to bring both knees to your chest at the same time. You do that instead of alternating. The idea is that you are like a marble, and you are trying to stay in the same position as long as possible.

Stretched legs

Hamstrings are muscles that start in your pelvis and go down to your tibia. They’re involved in the movements of your hips. Many times, when there is general pain, they need to receive treatment.

  • To stretch them, sit up straight on the floor.
  • Make a right angle (90º) with your left knee.
  • Grab the toes of your right foot. Then, extend your right leg as far as you can.  Be sure to keep your back straight. Also, you should have the bottom of your right foot facing the ceiling.
  • Keep this position for 20 seconds. Repeat three times. Then switch and do the same stretch with your left leg.

Back extensions

Woman doing a back extension

This is another exercise you do on the floor. But, with this one, you start by laying on your stomach.

  • Put your hands behind your neck and interlock your fingers.
  • Then, raise your shoulders and head. You should raise them backwards, trying to arch your spine. Mostly, you should be trying to arch your middle and upper back. You should feel your shoulder blades coming together.
  • Your movements should be slow and careful.

Hip twists

This isn’t a circus act or an exercise for style. Rather, it’s a great stretch to help reduce back pain in your spinal column.

  • Lay face up on a yoga mat and leave your legs straight and together. Put your arms by your sides.
  • Turn your hips to the right and twist your knees to the left while keeping them together.
  • Try to keep both of your shoulders flat on the ground.
  • Keep the posture for 10 seconds, rest, then repeat with the left side. Do this stretch five times with each side.

Also read:

Exercise Your Hips with This Routine

Stretching your hips

Pain in the lower back, or lumbar area, affects many people who lift heavy objects or are on their feet all day. This exercise is ideal for stretching their lower back and hips.

  • Kneel on the floor. Put your right foot on the floor in front of you.
  • Raise your body and left knee. The top of your left foot should keep touching the floor.
  • To keep your balance and to stretch better, grab onto your right knee with both of your hands.
  • Keep this position for 30 seconds. Don’t forget that your back should be straight this whole time.
  • Then switch and put your left foot in front of you.

The cat

The cat stretch

They call this the cat exercise because it resembles a cat stretching. This is something that cats do after sleeping or sitting for a long time.

This is an exercise that is used a lot in pilates. It’s also used in rehabilitation exercises because it helps to make your spine flexible and stretches the muscles in your back.

  • Kneel on the floor with both knees. Put the palms of your hands on the floor in front of you and your toes on the floor behind you.
  • Keep your back straight for a few seconds. Then, arch your back. Hold this position for a few seconds.
  • Then, arch your back the opposite way, stretching your stomach.
  • Repeat this multiple times.

Don’t forget to control your breathing. This exercise should be done slowly.

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5 Yoga Poses to Practice If You’re Not Very Flexible

Full back stretch

This exercise you can do with any table, at work or at home.

  • Standing with your legs together, bend forward as much as you can so that your back is parallel to the floor.
  • Then, stretch your arms out in front of you as much as you can to keep your back in a straight line. You can use a chair or table for support.
  • Push your shoulders forward to stretch each muscle in your back.
  • Keep this position for as long as you can. When done, get up slowly so you don’t get dizzy.
  • If it’s hard for you to do with your feet together, you can open them so they are shoulder-width apart.

These exercises are interesting and efficient. And they’re great options to help reduce back pain.

It’s important that you take care of your posture and that you stand up and walk around for a few minutes every hour. Also, make sure to keep your distance from your keyboard and computer screen when working at your desk.

  • Gordon R, Bloxham S. A Systematic Review of the Effects of Exercise and Physical Activity on Non-Specific Chronic Low Back Pain. Healthcare (Basel). 2016;4(2):22. Published 2016 Apr 25. doi:10.3390/healthcare4020022
  • Friedly J, Standaert C, Chan L. Epidemiology of spine care: the back pain dilemma. Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am. 2010;21(4):659–677. doi:10.1016/j.pmr.2010.08.002
  • Jandre Reis FJ, Macedo AR. Influence of Hamstring Tightness in Pelvic, Lumbar and Trunk Range of Motion in Low Back Pain and Asymptomatic Volunteers during Forward Bending. Asian Spine J. 2015;9(4):535‐540. doi:10.4184/asj.2015.9.4.535