The Ultimate List of Stretches For Back Pain That Work

October 10, 2022 in Education

The Ultimate List of Stretches For Back Pain That Work

stretches for back pain

You might have back pain for many reasons, and these stretches will help you alleviate some of that pain while your body heals.

Before we get into the list of stretches for back pain, please know that back pain shouldn’t keep you from living a normal life. However, if your back pain is chronic or worsening, please see your doctor.

Otherwise, try these stretches that are sure to help your back pain.

Stretches for Lower Back Pain

Injuries to your muscles or tendons can cause lower back pain. It could also be caused by disk injuries, arthritis, or even sleeping wrong.

As long as your doctor hasn’t told you not to stretch, give these stretches a try to ease your lower back pain.

Sphynx Stretch

The sphynx stretch focuses on strengthening your glutes, chest, and spine. It’s a simple back bend that lets you be active and relaxed.

Start by laying on your stomach with your elbows under your shoulders and your hands extended in front of you with your palms facing down. Make sure your feet are slightly apart (it’s okay if your big tows touch slightly, but don’t cross your feet over each other). Engage your lower back, glutes, and thighs as you gently lift your chest and head, focusing on driving your pelvis to the floor.

Look straight ahead, or close your eyes while holding this pose for up to a minute. Start with just thirty seconds a day, and add a few seconds each day to build up to a minute.

Pelvic Tilt

The pelvic tilt stretch will help you build your ab muscles, which takes some of the tightness and pressure off your lower back.

Start by laying on your back with both knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Engage your stomach muscles as you push your back against the floor. Make sure to breathe normally while holding for ten seconds.

Relax with a few deep breaths, then engage again. Do three sets, up to five times.

Piriformis Stretch

If your back pain is super low and into your glutes, the piriformis stretch can help.

Lay on your back with both of your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Take your right ankle, and place it at the base of your left thigh. Take your hands, put them behind your left thigh, and gently pull them toward your chest until you can feel the stretch.

Hold this for 30 seconds to a minute, then switch to the other side.

Looking for more? Give these stretches for lower back pain a try.

Stretches for Upper Back Pain

Upper back pain can be caused by injuries, but more often than not, it’s caused by poor posture. If your work at a desk or are on your phone often, try these stretches to help alleviate some upper back pain.

Neck Roll

For neck, and upper back pain, try a neck roll to loosen any tightness. Plus, you can do this either standing or sitting.

Face forward, and begin by tilting your head to the left, focusing on feeling it stretch through your neck. After a few seconds, slowly roll your head counterclockwise. When you reach your right shoulder, pause and hold the stretch. When ready, complete the rotation back to tilting your head to the left.

Repeat this two to three times per day.

Shoulder Roll

For shoulder pain and upper back pain between the shoulders, a shoulder roll will help ease the pressure.

Stand straight up with your arms down at your sides. Roll your shoulders backward in an even circular motion five times. Then, roll your shoulders forward five times.

Take your time, and repeat this two to three times. 

Arm Circles

If your shoulders are still tight, try a few arm circles to get everything moving.

Stand straight up with your arms out to the side, parallel to the ground, with your palm facing down. Slowly circle your arms forward, starting with small circles and gradually build up to large ones. Do this twenty times, then switch and circle your arms backward another twenty times.

Be sure to do these slowly. Remember, you’re not a windmill; you’re stretching out your muscles.

Overhead Arm Reach

Keep working on your shoulders and upper back with an overhead arm reach.

Sit in a chair facing forward with your feet flat on the floor (don’t cross your legs). Take your left arm above your head and reach to the right. Slowly bend your torso until you feel your left lat and shoulder stretching. Go back to the starting position and repeat five times before switching and doing the same with your right arm.

Thoracic Extension

For general upper and middle back pain, the thoracic extension can loosen your entire upper back. You will need a foam roller or a chair to complete this stretch.

If you use a foam roller, put it under your thoracic spine, and let your head and glutes fall on either side. Extend your arms over your head to intensify the stretch even more.

For a chair, sit facing forward and let your upper body fall over the back of the chair. Again, put your arms over your head for a deeper stretch.

Hold this position for five seconds, and release slowly. Do this three times.

Stretches for Overall Back Pain

Whether your back pain is in your lower back, upper back, or somewhere in between, these stretches will give you relief all over.

Chair Rotation

The chair rotation will stretch your entire back for a relaxing experience.

Start by sitting sideways in a chair, with your left side resting against the back of the chair. Keep your legs stationary and rotate your torso to the left while reaching for the back of the chair with your hands. Hold your upper body in rotation and use your arms to deepen the stretch, and help your muscles loosen. 

Hold for ten seconds, repeating three times on each side.

Supine Twist Back Stretch

Another one to help you stretch your entire back is the supine twist back stretch. 

Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. While keeping your back flat on the floor, rotate your hips to the left while lowering your legs down to the floor until you feel a gentle stretch. When you feel the stretch, hold for fifteen seconds. Return slowly to the starting position and repeat the other way. 

Do this nine more times on each side for a total of ten repetitions.

Try More Than Stretches for Back Pain

Have you tried these and are looking for more relief than stretches for back pain can provide? Consider working with a personal trainer. If you’re prone to throwing out your back, you should work with professionals to train safely and help prevent throwouts in the future. 

At Peak Physique, we want to help you exercise safely and build strength without putting you at risk for injury. Don’t let back pain take over your life. Contact us today, and start your personal training journey.

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