Almost everyone can benefit from great stretches! Stretching the soft tissues in your back, legs, buttocks, and around the spine can help relieve some stress and back pain.
The spinal column and its contiguous muscles are all designed to move, therefore limitations in this area can make back pain worse. For patients that have ongoing back pain it can take weeks or even months of stretching to mobilize the spine and soft tissue, but can find that with relief of back pain and good stretches usually increase their motion.
When starting a stretching routine make sure that you wear comfortable clothes that won’t bind you. Stretch on a clean, flat surface that will allow you to move freely. Stretching shouldn’t be painful so remember, don’t force the body into difficult positions and to move into the stretch slowly and avoid bouncing. To get a good stretch make sure that you hold the stretches from 20-30 seconds each and repeat the stretches 5-10 times.
If you already have low back pain or neck pain, it’s best to check with a physician before trying any of the stretches below.
Stretches For You!
Neck and Shoulder Stretches
Flexion Stretch – Chin to Chest
- This stretch can be done while standing or sitting, gently bend the head forward and bring the chin toward the chest. You should feel a stretch in the back of the neck.
Lateral Flexion – Ear to Shoulder
- Gently bend your head to the side, as if to touch the shoulder with your ear. You should feel a stretch in the side of the neck and make sure to do both sides!
Back Exercise Stretches
Back Flexion Exercise
- As you lie on the back, pull both knees to the chest and simultaneously pull the head forward. A comfortable stretch should be felt while you lie in a balled-up position.
Knee to Chest Stretch
- Lie on the back with both knees bent and both heels on the floor, place both hands on one knee and then gently pull it to the chest. Make sure to do this with both knees
Hips and Gluteus Stretches
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, take a half-step back with the right foot, bend the left knee and shift weight back to your right hip. While keeping the right leg as straight as possible, bend forward more and reach down the right leg until a stretch in the outer hip is felt. Repeat with the left leg.
Piriformis Muscle Stretch
- Lie on the back and cross one leg over the other and gently pull the other knee toward the chest until a stretch is felt in the buttock area. Make sure to repeat with the other leg!
Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or want further information.