Whether caused by injury, excessive sitting, overworking the muscles, back pain is altogether unpleasant. Back pain can distract you by day and rob you from sleep by night.
While you may not be able to receive professional back therapy every day, you can take just a little time every morning or evening to do something to help manage your back pain – stretch.
Making time for a daily routine of healthful stretches is a proactive way to help keep your back pain under control beyond simply taking pain medication and gritting your teeth until you can get into the chiropractor for your next appointment.
Stretching to Reduce Back Pain
What kinds of stretches are good for your back?
Since each patient is unique, some may prefer certain stretches over others. People suffering from injury-related back pain should be especially careful and be sure to ask for their chiropractor’s recommendations before trying any stretches or exercises.
Regardless, be careful not to stretch to the point of feeling increased pain. Stretching should feel good and act to release tension.
“Expect to feel tension while you’re stretching, not pain. If it hurts, you’ve pushed too far. Back off to the point where you don’t feel any pain, then hold the stretch,” advises Mayo Clinic.
Here are five stretches that many patients have found effective for helping back pain. While it’s important to avoid rushing a stretch, all of these stretches can be done in succession in 15 minutes or less when you wake up or before you go to bed.
1. Upper Back-Extensions
Start by laying down with your stomach to the floor. Push up on your arms, lifting up your shoulders but leaving your forearms and elbows on the ground. Feel the stretch in your chest and upper back and breathe into it.
For an even bigger stretch, push up on to your hands, extending your arms completely, lifting your entire torso off the floor, but leaving your hips grounded.
2. Cat Stretch
While you’re still on the ground, move to your hands and knees, with your knees placed even with your shoulders. Once in position, stretch your back toward the ceiling, pulling your stomach in toward your back, as if you are a cat waking up from a nap.
After you’ve completed the cat stretch, let your back slowly drop back down toward the floor. Repeat as many times as you would like.
3. Knees to the Chest
Lay down on your back and pull one of your knees to your chest. Hug your knee for 30 seconds and feel the stretch in your thigh and lower back. Repeat the process with your other leg.
As a variant of this stretch, you can also pull both knees at once to your chest.
4. Lower Back Leg Rotations
While you’re lying on your back, lift up your knees until your feet are flat on the floor. Now, move your knees to the right side toward the floor, rotating your lower back until your right knee reaches the floor. Hold the stretch for up to 10 seconds, and then repeat on the left side.
5. Squeeze the Shoulder Blades
Now that you’ve finished the sequence of floor stretches, stand up and take a couple of deep breaths. Then, bring both of your shoulders back, drawing the shoulder blades close together. Imagine you are trying to hold a tennis ball between your shoulder blades. For this particular stretch, a shorter duration of 5-10 seconds should suffice.
This stretch can also be done while sitting down. Whether sitting or standing, be sure to sit or stand up straight. Repeat as necessary throughout the day, even doing so from your office chair or place of work.
North Texas Spinal Care
If you are suffering from back pain related to an auto injury or other condition, please work with our team of spinal care specialists to get a customized treatment plan.
Working out of multiple locations throughout North Texas, our qualified team is now offering telehealth appointments, meaning you can get a vertical posture assessment done by a licensed chiropractor from the comfort of your own home. Request an appointment today.