The Southeastern Spine Institute

Sometimes, all you need is a few good back stretches to work out the kinks. But you shouldn’t just dive into stretching your back without proper preparation and instruction. You can just as easily create back problems from stretching the wrong way as you can from lifting weights incorrectly.

Whether you’re undergoing treatment for a current back problem, have recently had back surgery or want to prevent back pain, visit your doctor or physical therapist at the Southeastern Spine Institute in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. They’re well-equipped to teach you proper back-stretching techniques.

What Are the Best Back Pain Prevention Stretches?

Stretching helps alleviate tension in your back, which can lead to chronic back pain if left for too long. If you sit when at work or tend to bend over all the time, preventive stretches can become one of the best tools you have to avoid the stress of back pain. A few easy-to-do-at-home lower back stretches include:

  • Knee to Chest Stretch. Lie flat on the floor with your knees bent and both feet on the floor. Using both your hands, pull one knee toward your chest as far as you comfortably can. Hold it for five to 10 seconds, and then release. Repeat with the other leg.
  • Rotation Stretch. While you’re still on the floor with your knees bent, drop both knees to one side. Keep your shoulders evenly on the floor and press your spine down. Hold for 10 seconds, then slowly rotate your hips to move your knees to the opposite side. Get an added stretch down your spine by turning your head to the side opposite your knees.
  • Cat Back Stretches. Get up on your hands and knees and act just like a cat who instinctively knows how to stretch its back. While tucking in your belly button, arch your back. Hold for five seconds and then let your belly sag, pushing back your shoulders and butt. Repeat two or three times to release tension in your middle back and shoulders.

What Are the Best Back Stretches for Pain Relief?

Back stretches can reduce pain and, in some cases, even relieve you entirely of persistent discomfort. By doing these simple stretches at home on a regular basis, you increase your mobility and flexibility while reducing the risks of becoming disabled. Back stretches you can do at home to relieve pain include:

  • Lateral Flexion Stretch. You can do this standing or sitting upright with your shoulders lowered and relaxed. Gently move you head to one side, as if you’re trying to touch your ear to your shoulder. Hold for about five seconds then repeat on the other side.
  • Back Flexion Stretch. Lying on your back on the floor, pull both knees toward your chest while raising your head toward your knees. Gently hold for 10 seconds, release and repeat.
  • Seated Hamstring Stretch. Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair. Straighten one leg out, with your toes pointed toward the ceiling and your heel on the floor. Sit as tall as you can while rolling your pelvis slightly forward to increase the stretch in the back of your leg that runs up to your spine. Repeat three times on each leg.