Back pain has become an extremely common, everyday struggle. 60-70% of the world’s population suffers some degree of back pain, according to the World Health Organization (2013). Luckily, there are some quick stretches that can be done to relieve such pain temporarily. The following are a total of six stretches you can do to release tension in your back. Three of the stretches are for the upper back, and three are for the lower back.
Stretches for Upper Back Pain
Child’s pose: Begin this stretch with your hands and knees on the floor. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart, and knees should be hip-width apart. This is called “Table pose.” Slowly lower your hips towards the floor, with your thighs resting on top of your calves. Your arms should become outstretched before you. For a deeper stretch, “walk” your arms farther out by slowly inching your fingers forwards. Hold this for several breaths, then release.
Wall stretch: Stand perpendicular to a flat wall (you can start with your right side facing the wall). Rest your right hand and forearm flat against the wall. Step forward with your right foot as you turn your body to the left. Hold for a few breaths, then release and repeat on the opposite side.
Shoulder roll: While standing straight, with your arms at your side, begin to roll your shoulders backwards. Your arms will remain straight during this. Continue this motion until satisfied, then repeat going the opposite direction (rolling them forward).
Stretches for Lower Back Pain
Knees-to-chest: This stretch is good to relieve tension built up in the lower back. Lay flat on your back, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Use both hands to grab your right knee, and slowly bring your knee to your chest. While you move your right knee to your chest, move your left leg into a straight position, in line with the rest of your body. Hold your knee to your chest for a few seconds (3 deep breaths), then release your knee and repeat the stretch with the left knee.
Cat-Cow: Get on your hands and knees. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart, and knees should be hip-width apart. Begin the stretch by imagining you are pulling your belly button up towards the ceiling. This is the “cat” position, since you are arching your back like a cat. To get to the cow position, pull your belly button towards the ground, inverting the arch. Alter between these positions as needed.
Bend forwards: This stretch’s starting position has you sitting on the floor, legs straight out in front of you. Begin the stretch by bending forward at the hips (you can use a towel to “hook” around your feet to help you bend forward). Keep your back straight the entire time. Stretch until you feel slight tension in your back, then hold for 10 seconds. Release, and repeat as needed.
These stretches should provide some relief for your back pain. However, should you need further measures taken, please contact our chiropractic office for a free consultation at (317) 790-2646!
World Health Organization. (2013). Priority medicine for Europe and the world 2013 [PDF file]. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/medicines/areas/priority_medicines/Ch6_24LBP.pdf