Can Simple Stretches Make a Difference for Your Back Pain?

Whether you’re a weekend warrior, live a completely sedentary life or are a professional athlete, stretching can make an enormous improvement in how you feel and how your body functions. This is particularly true for people who experience back pain: it is remarkable how many people come to our lumbar spine specialty practice in New Jersey complaining of chronic discomfort, only to find that they feel much better once they start adding stretches to their daily routine.

If you wake up each morning with back pain, or find yourself uncomfortable after a day of work, it makes sense for you to try some of the following stretches. None of them work like a magic wand or are likely to provide you with immediate relief: you have to be consistent and do them every day. But if you add them to your schedule and perform them with the same regularity you apply to brush your teeth, there’s a good chance you’ll find your quality of life has improved and your level of discomfort has dropped significantly.

Here are a few of our favorite stretches for the back. Do them religiously for at least a week. If you don’t notice improvement, it may be time to schedule an appointment with our lumbar spine specialist in New Jersey to learn what else can be done to help.

Seated Twist

This exercise can help increase your range of motion. Sit upright on a chair or the floor with your legs crossed or straight out in front of you and your shoulders back. Slowly twist to the left, pressing your right hand on the outside of your left knee and your left hand behind your back for support. Hold for a count of ten, then return to center and repeat on the other side. Do three or four times.

Child’s Pose

This simple pose elongates the spine and relaxes the back’s muscles. Kneel down on the floor, then bend your knees so that you are sitting on your feet. Stretch your arms over your head, then bend forward, bringing your chest to your knees and your forehead as close to the floor as possible with your arms stretched out in front of you. Hold for a count of 20.

Thread the Needle

This stretch looses the muscles in the upper back and stretches the side muscles. Start in table position on hands and knees, then walk your hands out in front of you until you feel a stretch down your sides, then take your right arm and pass it under the left while turning the upper body in the same direction. Rest the back of the right hand on the floor in front of you and lower your right shoulder as far as you can, placing the right side of your head on the floor. Look up towards the ceiling and hold for a count of ten, then return to center and repeat on the other side.

Cat-Cow Stretch

Start in table position on hands and knees with spine in a neutral position. Let your stomach drop slightly towards the ground and arch your back while lifting your head and shoulders and pushing the chest out. Hold, then reverse to arch the back upwards like a cat, tilting your hips towards your ribs and pulling your stomach up. Go back and forth between the two positions three times.

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