Posted by Dr. Scott Wilson | 01-Feb-2022
Back pain is one of the most prevalent chronic conditions in Canada. While the causes of chronic back pain vary, tight muscles in and around the spine are often a key causal or contributing factor. So, it’s not surprising that regular stretching, which helps reduce tension and increases your range of motion, can help provide some pain relief. If you’re struggling with back pain, these five key stretches can help.
Stretching Effectively to Relieve Back Pain
Before talking about specific exercises, it’s important to talk a bit about proper stretching. Proper stretching requires slow, controlled movements of sustained poses, with attention focused on the muscle being stretched. It’s important to avoid bouncing, making abrupt movements or stretching muscles to the point of inducing pain.
Choosing the right time to stretch can also make a difference. Stretching in the morning is a good way to get your blood flowing and to limber up your back for the day ahead. Stretching before bed typically provides a more satisfying sleep and helps you to avoid waking up with back pain the following morning. While these may be the most optimal times, the most important thing is that you stretch every day and use proper form.
5 Easy Stretches for Back Pain Relief
While there are a number of different stretches that can help provide relief, depending on the source of your pain, here are five daily stretches that have been proven to help:
Supine Spinal Twist:
- Begin this stretch lying flat on your back, with your arms spread out beside you so you’re making a “T” position.
- Bend one leg to bring the sole of your foot to the floor next to your other knee, then slowly bring your bent knee toward the opposite side of your body, keeping both shoulder blades flat against the ground. Twist until you feel a stretch without feeling pain and hold this position for 30 seconds before repeating with the opposite leg.
- Repeat 3 times with each leg.
- Begin on your hands and knees with your hands directly below your shoulders, your knees directly below your hips, and a flat back to create a table-like position.
- Slowly arch your spine, pushing your belly button toward the floor and raising your forehead to the ceiling, and hold this position for 5 to 10 seconds. Return back to neutral position before using control to arch your spine in the opposite direction, pulling your belly button toward the ceiling as your head and tail bone are pulled toward the floor. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds before returning to neutral position.
- Repeat 10 times.
- Begin on your hands and knees with your hands below your shoulders and your knees below your hips. Transfer your weight forward toward your hands and away from your knees before slowly scooting your knees out to the sides, keeping them in line with your hips. Keep your ankles behind your knees and turn your toes out to the sides.
- Rest on your forearms with your elbows beneath your shoulders, extending your hands forward and resting your forehead on the floor. Sit back into your hips, transferring your weight backward with control to deepen the pose. Breathe deeply as your focus on releasing tension in your lower back, holding the pose for 30 seconds to one minute.
Thread the Needle
- Begin on your hands and knees with your hands below your shoulders and your knees below your hips.
- Extend one arm up toward the ceiling, opening your chest toward the side and turning your head to look up at your hand. Bring that hand down and pass it beneath your belly button, until you rest the outer side of that arm on the floor. Rest your head on the floor as you look at the hand that you’ve just threaded.
- Carefully shift your weight onto the arm and shoulder on the ground and raise your other hand straight up so your arm extends toward the ceiling. Hold this pose for 10 to 20 seconds before returning to the starting position with controlled movements and repeating with the opposite arm.
- Repeat 3 times per side.
- Begin lying flat on your back, with your knees bent comfortably and your feet flat on the floor.
- Interlock your hands around your right shin and pull your right knee towards your chest until you feel a comfortable stretch in your lower back while your left leg remains in the original position. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds before returning to the original position and repeating with the opposite leg.
- Repeat 3 times with each leg.
Depending on the cause and nature of your back pain, regular daily stretching can help to provide some much-needed pain relief. It can also help to prevent your condition from getting worse. However, if your pain persists, it’s important to seek professional help as soon as possible.
If you’re struggling with chronic or temporary back pain, contact us today and let our team of highly skilled and experienced Physiotherapists and Chiropractors show you why at Physiomed, Healthier Starts Here.