Back pain is an ailment that affects millions of people every year. In fact, some 16 million adults suffer from chronic (persistent) back pain. Additionally, back pain has a variety of causes, symptoms, and treatments. From muscle strains to arthritis, back pain can range from mild to debilitating. Fortunately, there are stretches that can help improve and prevent back pain.
In this post, we’ll show you some of the top physical therapist and spine surgeon-recommended stretches and poses you can do at home to help combat back pain. We recommend performing these back pain stretches on a yoga mat for a more comfortable experience.
This stretch is great for loosening up your spine and relieving tension in the lower back. Start on your hands and knees with your hands directly underneath your shoulders and your knees directly underneath your hips. As you inhale, arch your back, letting your belly drop and your head come up. As you exhale, round your back, allowing your head to drop and your belly to come up. Repeat this a few times, taking your time to focus on your breathing and letting your spine move through the range of motion.
2. Pelvic Tilt
This stretch can help you bring some movement back to the pelvic area by relieving sciatica and strengthening abdominal muscles. Begin by lying with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Try to relax your low back, keeping it in a neutral position (which means you should feel a slight curve in your low back if you place the top of your hand under your back). Activate your core muscles and then flatten your low back against the floor by slightly tilting your pelvis upward. Repeat 12 to 15 times.
3. Child’s Pose
This stretch is great for relieving tension throughout the body and calming the mind. Start on your hands and knees with your feet together and your knees slightly wider than your hips. As you exhale, slowly lower your torso down between your knees. Let your forehead come down to the ground and let your arms extend out in front of you. Take several deep breaths here, allowing your body to relax and soften.
This stretch is great for releasing tension in the lower back and hips. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. As you exhale, draw one knee up towards your chest and give it a gentle hug. Hold this for a few breaths and then switch legs. You can also do both legs at the same time for a deeper stretch.
5. Seated Spinal Twist
Begin seated on the floor with both legs straight out in front of you. Bend your right knee and cross it over your left leg. With your left hand, hold your right knee and twist your torso to the right. Hold for 30-60 seconds. Then switch sides and repeat.
6. Reclined Spinal Twist
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Bring your knees together and let them fall to the left. Place your left hand on your right knee and turn your head to the right. Hold for 30-60 seconds. Then switch sides and repeat.
7. Cobra Pose
This pose is great for strengthening the back muscles and increasing flexibility. Start by lying on your stomach with your palms flat on the ground beneath your shoulders. As you inhale, press into your palms and lift your chest off the ground. Hold this pose for a few breaths, keeping your core engaged and pressing your tailbone towards the ground.
8. Downward Facing Dog
This pose is great for stretching out the spine and relieving tension in the back. Start by coming onto your hands and knees. As you exhale, tuck your toes and lift your hips towards the ceiling. Make sure to keep your core engaged and your legs straight. You can also alternate between bending one knee and then the other to really open up the stretch.
9. Bridge Pose
This pose helps to strengthen the back, glutes, and core muscles. To perform the bridge pose, start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Lift your hips up off the ground until your body is in a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Hold this pose for 10-20 seconds and then slowly lower your hips back down.
These are some of the best stretches for back pain that you can do at home. Remember, always listen to your body and take your time. If you feel any pain or discomfort, stop and take a few deep breaths before continuing. If you continue to feel pain, contact your doctor as soon as possible. Stretching regularly can help to prevent and reduce back pain, so make sure to add a few of these stretches into your daily routine.
When should I talk to a doctor?
Keep in mind, that though these stretches may be helpful, they are no substitute for consulting with a medical expert. If you’re still experiencing back pain, it may be time to seek professional help. Thankfully, there are treatment options available, including at-home treatments, pain injections, and PT with a licensed physical therapist through Advanced Ortho & Spine’s onsite physical therapy program. For severe cases, surgery may be required.
Advanced Ortho & Spine can help.
At Advanced Ortho and Spine (AOS), we’ve cared for many patients with back pain. Most are quickly able to get back to living their best lives with conservative treatment. Dr. James Eby, Dr. Tarek Elalayli, and Dr. Mitul Patel at AOS specialize in treating a variety of orthopaedic conditions, including back pain. Request an appointment online or call us at 615.885.0200 to schedule yours today.
Dr. James Eby is a board-certified physiatrist and non-operative spine specialist who is an expert at treating a full range of spinal conditions. Contact us today for more information or to request an appointment.
Dr. Tarek Elalayli is a board-certified orthopaedic spine surgeon, who specializes in treating a full range of spinal conditions. Contact us today for more information or to request an appointment.
Mitul Patel, MD is a board-certified orthopaedic spine surgeon, who specializes in treating a full range of spinal conditions. Contact us today for more information or to request an appointment.
With two locations near Nashville in Mt. Juliet and Hermitage, Advanced Ortho and Spine provides patients with high-quality, personalized care while advancing orthopaedic excellence. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule your appointment.