How is your back feeling? If you’ve clicked on this article, the chances are high that you’ve been struggling with chronic back pain and are in need of immediate relief. In fact, a study performed at the University of North Carolina found that a whopping 80% of people will experience back pain at some point in their life. While there are many factors that contribute to back pain, let’s focus on how to treat it.
“My back is killing me.” How many times have I said these words out loud? Yet this phrase doesn’t come from just me. I also hear it from co-workers, family, friends. Almost every person we regularly come in contact with will say them sooner or later.
That’s because as you age, you’re more likely to experience degenerative spine changes. There is less space between the vertebrae as these changes occur, which increases back pain and discomfort.
What can help back pain? A few low-key stretches that will extend the lower back and provide helpful relief.
The Prayer Stretch is an excellent flex for the lower back and also your lats. Start on all fours, and then reach your arms all the way forward while sitting your hips onto your heels in a comfortable stretch position.
Here’s a quick demonstration:
Knee to Chest
Perform the knee-to-chest stretch by lying on your back and pulling, and then holding one or both knees to your chest. This excellent stretch will help lengthen your lower back, relieving tension and pain in all the right places.
Ear to Shoulder Stretch
If the pain you’re experiencing is in the upper back, you’ll feel some relief from this stretch.
Gently bend your neck so your right ear is moving towards your right shoulder until you can feel the stretch in the left side of your neck. Hold, and then return the head to your starting position and bend your neck, so your left ear moves towards your left shoulder, stretching the right side of your neck. Then simply repeat.
Wait, won’t I feel this in my hamstrings? Yes, but keeping your hamstrings loose is essential for maintaining a full range of motion in the pelvis, decreasing the stress in your lower back.
The toe touch is one of the most basic stretches and works just like it sounds. Do not strain to touch your toes if it doesn’t come naturally to you; your flexibility will improve as you continue with your stretching routine.
You didn’t think we’d talk about stretching without a yoga pose, right? The bridge pose helps support your glute muscles, which helps keep low back pain at a minimum. To perform bridge pose, lie on your back, bend your knees, and plant both feet on the floor. Now, press into your feet to lift your hips and hold for 30 seconds. It might be challenging at first, but it will feel oh so good later.
One More Thing…
Did any of these back pain stretches help you? I’d love to hear your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, be sure to subscribe to the Heart & Soul Newsletter to receive more great tips straight to your inbox each Friday. If you’re looking for more stretch tips, check out 7 Morning Stretches to Kickstart Your Day.