5 Stretches You Can Do to Relieve Back Pain

5 Stretches You Can Do to Relieve Back Pain

Posted on April 11th, 2018

Strengthening and Stretching to Minimize Discomfort


If you live with chronic back pain, getting through the day without pain medication can be challenging. Fortunately, gentle exercise can help relieve pain and strengthen your spine. Taking a moment to stretch can also provide a mood-boosting mental break, helping you feel rested and relaxed. Below are 5 exercises you can do to relieve back pain.


Knee to chest

Lie on your back with your toes pointed upward. Slowly bend your right knee so that the sole of your right foot is on the floor. Gently bring your left leg toward your chest, with your knee bent. You may put your hands on your knee or shin, applying light pressure. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds before slowly extending your left leg. Repeat with the right leg.


Bend forward

Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, raise your arms straight up overhead, palms facing inward. Slowly bend at the waist until your back is flat, with your arms stretched out in front of you. Make sure that your shoulders are relaxed as you keep your gaze toward the ground. Take slow, deep breaths and hold this pose for 20 seconds. Straighten up slowly, vertebra by vertebra starting at the bottom of your spine. Your head should come up last.


Cat-cow stretch

Begin on your hands and knees, with your elbows shoulder-width apart and your knees hip-width apart. Do your best to keep your weight evenly distributed between your hands and your knees. Take a deep breath in as you arch your spine down toward the ground. Your sits bones and chest will rise as you look forward. This is cow pose.

As you exhale, arch your back up toward the sky. The top of your head will point toward the floor, but do not try to touch your chin to your chest. This is cat pose.

Repeat these poses 5-10 times, inhaling into cow pose and exhaling into cat pose.


Seated hamstring stretch

Sit on the edge of a chair, ideally one that does not roll. Your hands can rest on your waist or the arms of the chair. Extend your right leg in front of you, with your heel on the ground and your toes pointed up. Sit up tall, inhale, and slowly lean forward. You will feel the stretch in your hamstring, and possibly in your calf, too. Exhale as you sit back up. Repeat this process with your left leg.


Hip Flexion

Begin on your hands and knees, as you would for cat-cow stretch (above). Slowly move your hips back while keeping your spine and hips straight. Return to the starting positions slowly. Repeat this sequence 10 times.

Remember to follow your doctor’s advice on exercise and movement. If your chronic back pain becomes unmanageable, give the Center for Diseases and Surgery of the Spine a call. CDSS leads the way in surgical interventions for the aging spine.