Back pain is widely considered the most common type of chronic pain among adults. The pain is hard to miss — it’s the type of ache felt in your back that makes you want to lie down and rest. But even after resting, it’ll only provide temporary relief and the pain will come back again eventually.
Rest has always been an essential part of your body’s healing process. But your back muscles often require specific movements and stretches that could help you relax and alleviate the pain.
Below you’ll find a list of back pain stretches and yoga poses for back pain you can easily perform at home. But before you start with any of these exercises, make sure you also check in with your doctor if they’re safe for your condition.
Neck and Shoulder Exercises
Start your routine with these neck and shoulder stretches listed below.
The flexion stretch targets the back of the neck and your shoulders. Perform this stretch through a chin to chest motion where you slowly bend your head toward your chest.
Lateral Flexion Stretch
The lateral flexion stretch is similar to the flexion stretch except it’s performed sideways through an ear to shoulder motion. Perform this stretch by bending your neck to one side with your ear pointing to your shoulder. Repeat the process for the other side of your neck.
Perform the stretch effectively by maintaining a good posture by relaxing your shoulders and keeping your back straight.
Upper Back Exercises
Target more areas of your back as well as more muscle groups with this set of easy-to-do exercises and yoga poses for back pain.
To do this stretch, hang your arms at both sides of your body and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold the position for 10 seconds. Repeat three to five times.
A shoulder roll, also known as a shrug, helps stretch your upper back muscles (specifically the trapezius muscles). To perform the stretch, hang your arms by your sides then lift your shoulders towards your ears while breathing in. Next, move your shoulders back and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Exhale as you drop your shoulders. Repeat 10 times.
The cat-cow stretch targets a large part of your upper back by moving the spine from a rounded position (flexion) to an arched position (extension).
Start by positioning yourself in a table pose by aligning your wrists underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. Stretch your spine up toward the ceiling, as if you’re pulling your navel towards your spine. This is the cat pose.
To turn from the cat pose to the cow pose, arch your back and relax your belly. Keep your chin up while pointing your tailbone upwards to get into the cow pose. Alternate between these positions for around ten times.
This type of exercise targets the back as well as your hips, thighs, and ankles. To do this exercise, start in a kneeling position and rest your palms on top of your thighs. Stretch your body forward and lower your torso between your knees. Extend your arms in front of you while resting your stomach comfortably on top of your thighs. Maintain this position for around 15-30 seconds.
Lower Back Exercises
Complete your stretching routine with these stretches and yoga poses for low back pain.
Back Flexion Stretch
Lie on your back and bend both of your knees while keeping your feet flat on the floor. Slowly bring your knees to your chest and grab your knees with your hands. Pull your knees to your chest and hold. Perform 10 reps.
The knee-to-chest stretch targets your lower back and buttocks. Start by lying on your back, with your knees bent and heels flat on the floor. Slowly bring one knee to your hands then gently pull your knee toward your chest. Relax then switch sides.
Piriformis Muscle Stretch
Similar to the knee-to-chest stretch, the piriformis stretch is also done by lying on your back with your knees bent and heels flat on the floor. Start by lifting one leg and bending your knee. Use your hand from the opposite side to reach across your body, then pull your knee in the direction of the opposite shoulder. Hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds.
A pelvic tilt helps strengthen your abdominal muscles. Start by lying on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Flatten your back by tightening your abdominal muscles and slightly bending your pelvis up. Hold this position for up to 10 seconds.
This type of yoga stretch engages your spine, abdomen, buttocks and chest. Start by lying on your stomach with your toes pointing out, and keep your hands palms down beneath your shoulders. Slowly lift your chest from the ground by straightening your arms and tilt your head backwards. Make sure to gaze upwards to engage your abdominal muscles. Breathe deeply and hold the pose for 15-30 seconds.
By consistently performing these back pain stretches, you can relieve your back pain and return to your normal, everyday activities. After all, sticking to a regular exercise routine can help improve your strength and mobility, and prevent future recurrences of backaches.
Need more advice on how to alleviate your pain symptoms? Get exclusive tips and more when you visit the LifeClinic blog.