The best stretching exercises for back pain

Fitness is becoming prominent among all age groups, from elders to kids. Doing exercises daily for 30-45 mins is crucial for everyone to remain healthy. There are many simple stretching exercises for the whole body which should be divided into days and done. Back pain is very common nowadays as so many things can cause it. There are plenty of stretching exercises for back pain relief available. 

Lower back pain is also a common concern among individuals. It can be a symptom of an underlying condition like acute pancreatitis or kidney stone. And for some cases, it is because of the lifestyle and repetitive motions. Back pain stretching is something which will help in these cases. However, stretching is not the only remedy for back pain, but effective stretches for back pain will give a sign of relief. 

Easy stretches for back pain may help individuals relieve tight back muscles caused by daily activities. With time muscle tension can cause severe back pain and increase the risk of back injury. Back pain stretching should be done with care and comfort. The person performing should start with simple stretching exercises. If the individual has any injury or health concern, the person should be especially gentle and cautious with back pain stretching. 

It's always recommended to consult a doctor or trainer before starting any stretching exercises for back pain relief. These types of stretching can be done once or twice a day. This article will show some of the easy stretches for back pain. You should take time and pay attention to your breathing pattern while performing these effective stretches for back pain. 

Effective Stretches For Back Pain

stretching for back pain

1. Knees-to-chest backstretch 

For performing this stretching exercise following steps to be followed - 

  • First, Lie on your back with your knees bent, and keep your feet flat on the floor. 
  • Your hands should be on the back of your thighs, respectively or below your knees, and then pull your legs towards your chest. 
  • Keep pulling until you feel a gentle stretch.
  • Hold on for 15 seconds.
  • And then, you can return to the position that started and repeat it 9 more times. 

2. Prone Bridging back stretch 

For performing this stretching exercise, following steps to be followed - 

  • Lie on your stomach and prop yourself up on the elbow extending your back.
  • Extend your back while straightening your elbow until you feel a gentle stretch.
  • Hold on for 15 seconds.
  • And then, you can return to the position that started and repeat it 9 more times.                      

3. Cat - Cow back stretch

Cat-cow pose  

For performing this stretching exercise, following steps to be followed -      

  • Kneel on the floor with all four positions on your knees and hands.
  • Then curl your back up towards the ceiling.
  • Hold on for 5 seconds and then return to the starting position. 
  • Then pull your stomach down to the floor, hollowing down your back.
  • Hold on for 5 seconds and then return to the starting position.
  • Repeat 9 more times.     

4. Side stretch 

For performing this stretching exercise following steps to be followed -

  • First, stand straight with both your feet apart and your arms at your side.
  • Then bend to the right side while sliding your right hand to your thigh and reaching your other hand over your head.
  • Hold on in the same position for 10 seconds and return to the starting position.
  • Now bend sidewise to the left, reaching your right hand over your head.                  
  • Hold on for 10 seconds and return to the starting position.
  • Repeat 9 more times.            

5. Supine Abdominal Draw - In back stretch 

For performing this stretching exercise following steps are to be followed -   

  • Lay down with your knees bent and feet on the floor.
  • Push the small of your back down and into the floor and tighten your lower abdomen muscles.
  • Hold on for 10 seconds 
  • Return to the position started and repeated 9 more times.                                         

6. Supine twist back stretch

For performing this stretching exercise following steps are to be followed - 

  • You must lie on your back with your knees bent downwards and your feet on the floor.
  • The back should be flat on the floor and then rotate the hips to the left, lowering the legs to the floor until you feel a stretch.
  • Hold on for 15 seconds and return to the starting position.
  • Then rotate your hips to the right, lowering your legs to the floor till you feel a gentle stretch.
  • Hold on for 15 seconds and return to the starting position.
  • Repeat this 9 more times.

7. Supine butt lift back stretch 

For performing this stretching exercise, following steps to be followed -

  • Lie on your back with knees bent forward and both feet flat on the floor.
  • Push down through your feet as you slowly lift the bottom off the floor. 
  • Hold on for 10 seconds and return to the starting position.
  • Repeat this 9 more times.

8. Seated forward curl back stretch 

For performing this stretching exercise following steps are to be followed -        

  • Sit on the chair, keeping your feet flat on the ground. 
  • Curl your upper back, neck, and lower back, bring forward until your chest is on your thighs and touch the ground with your hands.
  • Hold for 10 seconds and return to the starting position.
  • Repeat 9 more times. 

Though these stretching exercises for back pain relief are safe, you should consult a doctor or coach before starting according to your body and health condition. Several simple stretching exercises or easy stretches for back pain are there on the internet and can be studied properly and followed. 

What causes lower back pain?

Lower back pain

In today's era, the most common reason people visit a doctor is for back pain. Most of them are nonspecific low back pain, some due to spinal problems or any disease causing it. Some of the nonspecific back pains are caused by the following:

While some of the specific back pains are caused by the following:

  • Infection
  • Neurological disorders
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Compression fractures
  • Cancer
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Disc herniation

Equipment Free Exercises For Strengthening The Back Muscles

back stretches for back pain relief

Some of the equipment-free exercises for strengthening the muscles that support your spine are discussed further in this article. Gaining strength will lead to less pain. However, you must check with your doctor before starting these effective stretches for back pain. 

1. Bridges 

Bridges work on the muscle named the Gluteus maximus. The muscle Gluteus maximus is one of the largest muscles of the buttocks. The Gluteus maximus is the strongest muscle of the body. Gluteus muscles are responsible for movement at the hip, including activities like squats. Gluteus muscle weakness is a contributor to back pain. It happens because they are important stabilizers of the hip joints or lower back during movements like walking. 

2. Drawing - in maneuver 

This exercise works on transverse abdominis. The transverse abdominis is the muscle that is around the midline. It helps in supporting the spine and abdomen. It's crucial for stabilizing the spinal joints and preventing injury during any movement. 

3. Lying lateral leg raises 

This exercise works on the gluteus medius. The hip abductor muscles will help to raise your leg to the side, away from the body. The hip abductor muscles support your pelvis while standing on one leg. If these muscles are weak, it will affect your balance and mobility. It may also cause low back pain due to instability.

4. Superman's 

This exercise works on the back, buttocks, hips, and shoulders. The back extensors run along the spine. They help maintain an upright position, supporting the spine and pelvic bones and allowing back arching. If this exercise makes your back pain worse, stop doing it until you feel relaxed. You may consult a doctor for more serious causes of back pain. 

5. Partial Curls 

This exercise works on rectus abdominis and transversus abdominis. Abdominal muscles support the spine. Abdominal muscles might help maintain proper hip alignment. This may contribute to overall stability and core strength. 

Symptoms of a Tight lower back

When your lower back sometimes feels tight, it's important to take the necessary steps to lose tension. If the lower back is tight, it can worsen and create more serious problems. If the problem worsens, it can affect daily movements, like picking up something from the floor. 

Lower back tightness may lead to pain, spasms or cramps. The pain will feel like a constant, dull ache, and the back may feel stiff and tense. You may also feel tightness in the pelvis, hips or legs. A tight lower back caused by an over-stressed exercise or lifting heavy will be felt within a few hours. 

After working out, you might feel some tightness or soreness, which is normal, but it may subside for a few days. It may occur if you are working out after many days, starting new, or trying out any new form. It can also occur if you are not doing it properly. With time it will go and be cured. 

How to improve flexibility & strength

One can do many simple exercises and stretchings to improve flexibility and strength in the lower back. The focus should be on lengthening and extending the spine. It will help in relieving compression in the lower back. Stretching hamstring muscles is also beneficial.

Exercises that focus on hips, core and buttock muscles should be chosen. Every individual should do daily activities like Yoga, swimming, walking, and exercise. A person should be as active as possible. Regular exercises and activities to loosen your back will give positive results in just a few weeks. 

Few exercises that you can add to your daily routine to improve flexibility and relieve lower back pain are:

  • Hip Circles
  • Windshield wipers
  • Knees to chest
  • Reclining single-leg stretch
  • Pelvic tilts
  • Cat - cow

Prevention of Back pain

Various lifestyle changes can be adopted to prevent lower back pain. Some of them we have listed below.

  1. A balanced and healthy diet should be adopted.
  2. The body's weight should be healthy, and the person should not be overweight or underweight.
  3. Every individual needs to stay active and exercise often.
  4. Every person should stretch before the warm-up.
  5. Every hour you should get up and walk for 5 minutes rather than just being seated.
  6. You can also use back support for your back.
  7. Good posture should be practiced.
  1. Always wear comfortable and supportive shoes.
  2. Sleep on a firm mattress.
  3. Avoid alcohol and other bad habits.
  4. Stay hydrated.
  5. Lifting heavy objects should be avoided and, if done, done properly.
  6. If on bed rest, do some leg movements if possible. 
  7. The legs should be uncrossed while seated.
  8. The workstation should be set up as you will have the option to sit, stand or perform some gentle stretching while working in the daytime. 

Things to consider before stretching

Suppose you have extensive back pain and cannot perform any activity; rest and use ice packs until you feel better. Once you feel relieved, then start stretching and strengthening. Before stretching, warm up your muscles with light cardio, like walking or jogging, for 10-15 minutes. The longer you stretch, the better you feel, and the easier exercises will be. 

Every person should stretch every day if the person can and follow 2-3 times a week. If your back hurts at any point, then do not push. You should immediately stop stretching and consult the doctor or the concerned therapist. 

Back Pain Home Remedies

back pain relief remedies

Many home remedies are also traditional and help faster and better than modern ones. Some of the traditional methods are listed down, which you can go through and see if any suits you. These methods are used from generation to generation and are the best remedies considered even today.

  1. Heat and ice therapy
  2. Essential oils
  3. Exercises

The Bottom Line

Simple stretching exercises and strength training may help minimize back pain and relieve it. These exercises will help you get back on track within a few weeks if done properly and regularly. If the pain worsens, then you must consult a doctor immediately. Doctors will advise the correct steps and assess the right symptom. In this article, we have listed down stretching exercises that are effective and simple to relieve back pain.

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Zandu Ayurvedic Team

Zandu Ayurvedic Team has a panel of over 10 BAMS (Ayurvedacharya), boasting a collective experience of over 50 years. With a deep-rooted understanding of Ayurveda, they are committed to sharing their expertise & knowledge through our blogs.
We use all kinds of Ayurvedic references in our content. Please use the contact form for any editorial queries.

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