Skip to main content

Back Stretches to Add to Your Daily Routine

Back pain is a common health concern. Often, many parts of our daily routine can lead to a backache. Adding a daily back stretching routine can be beneficial to your overall health. These six stretches could be added to any part of your day, whether first thing in the morning, during a break at work or before bedtime. Stretching programs may improve flexibility, relieve tension, and help to build strength.

While stretching isn’t a remedy for all back pain, in many instances it can provide some relief. Be mindful of your bodies limits and don’t stretch to a point of pain. Be especially cautious and gentle if you have any type of injury or health concern. As you stretch, take your time and remember to breathe.

Here are six stretches to try:

1) Child's Pose: Helps to relieve tension along your spine, neck and shoulders.

  1. With your hands and knees on the floor, sink your hips and buttocks back to rest on or near your heels.
  2. Walk your hands out in front of you on the floor. Your belly should be resting on or near your thighs.
  3. Breathe in and out deeply.
  4. Hold pose for up to 1 minute. *If uncomfortable, try to widen you knees out and rest your forehead on a cushion.

2) Cat-Cow: Stretches shoulders, neck, chest and spine.

  1. Start with your hands and knees on the floor (tabletop position).
  2. Press your hands and knees into the floor, inhale and tuck your chin towards the floor.
  3. Exhale while lifting your head up, allowing your belly to drop towards the floor.
  4. Continue with this pattern of movement, moving with each breath for 1-2 minutes.

3) Pelvic Tilt: This stretch builds strength in abdominals, gluteus and thigh muscles.

  1. Lie on your back, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Engage (suck in) your abdominal muscles as you flatten your back against the floor. Squeeze your buttock muscles at the same time.
  3. Hold this position for up to 10 seconds while continuing to breathe normally.
  4. Release and take a few deep breathes.
  5. Repeat entire exercise 3-5 times.

4) Figure 4: This stretch relieves tightness in your buttocks and lower back.

From the floor:

  1. Lie on your back with both knees bent and your feel flat on the floor.
  2. Place your left ankle on your right thigh just above the knee.
  3. Reach both hands to clasp behind your right thigh, pull leg toward chest until you feel a stretch in your hip.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  5. Repeat with the opposite leg.

From a chair:

  1. Sit with both feet flat on the floor.
  2. Bring left ankle up to rest on the lower right thigh, above the knee.
  3. Lean a straight torso forward until you feel a stretch in the hip area. Hold on the floor. Repeat on the other side.
  4. Try to keep your back flat on the floor without raising your hips.
  5. Breathe deeply, hold position for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Repeat with the other leg.

5) Knee to Chest: This stretch relaxes your hips, thighs and gluteus muscles.

  1. Lie on your back with both knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Keep your right knee bent or you could extend your leg straight along the floor for a deeper stretch.
  3. Draw your bent left thigh and pull your knee towards your chest, clasp your hands over your left shin bone or behind the left thigh and pull knee toward chest.
  4. Try to keep your back flat on the floor without raising your hips.
  5. Breathe deeply, hold position for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Repeat with other leg.

6. Seated Spiral Twist: Relieves tension along the spine.

From the floor:

  1. Sit on the floor with both legs extended in front of you.
  2. Bend the knee and place the right foot to the outside of the left knee on the floor.
  3. Place your left arm across the outside of right knee, while twisting torso to face the right side.
  4. Place the right hand on the floor behind you for support.
  5. Hold this position for up to 1 minute.
  6. Repeat on the other side.

In a chair:

  1. Sit upright keeping feet flat on the floor.
  2. Sit up tall and engage your abdominal muscles.
  3. Reach your right hand to the outside of your left thigh or knee, while gently bringing your left shoulder behind you.
  4. Hold this position for up to 1 minute.
  5. Repeat on the other side.