Stretching to relieve back pain

You will probably agree at some point in your life you have suffered from back pain or soreness, you are not alone. Over 70% of us have in fact had to deal with a pain in the back at some point or another.

The most common cases of back pain, we find come from those that are most sedentary on a daily basis; generally these people will spend long periods of time each day travelling in their car or by public transport to work and then even longer periods of time sitting at their desk. Others are also not immune – i would consider myself quite an active person, exercising on average 3-4 times per week, which does in itself keep my back in shape – BUT if i don’t stretch and take the time to work on my mobility, then things start to get a little clunky and tight!

The following series of stretches you can do to stay proactive in keeping you back in great condition:

Childs Pose

Childs PoseThis is a really relaxing release for the lower and upper back.

Start on your hand and knees, just wider than your hips, turn your toes in together and push your hips backwards by bending your knees. Extend your arms forward and let your head fall forward into a relaxed position. Hold for 20 seconds, repeat 3 times.


Kneeling Hip Flexor

Kneeling Hip Flexor

This stretch targets the quadriceps and psoas.

Start in a half kneeling position, slowly move your hips forward, you should start to feel a stretch in the front of your hips. Hold for 10 seconds, repeat 2-3 times each side.



Supine Twist

Supine Twist

Use this stretch to release glutes and external obliques.

Lie on your back, bring one leg across your body, at the same time gradually rotate your upper body in the opposite direction. If this stretch feels particularly tight, go easy on pulling your leg across. Breathe deeply to expand your rib cage, repeat 2-3 times on each side.


Forward Fold

Forward Fold

Use this stretch to release the hamstrings.

Place one foot in front of the other, fold forward at the hips making sure to keep a straight back. Hold for 20 seconds, repeat 2-3 times each side.


Knees To Chest

Knees To Chest

Use this stretch to align your pelvis, stretch your lower back and rear end.

Lie on your back, bring both knees slowly to your chest, hold for 20 seconds, breathe deeply throughout. Repeat 2-3 times


Supine Piriformis


This stretch aims to lengthen the piriformis muscle, this muscle is often the source of sciatica or radiating leg pain.

Lie on your back, cross one ankle over your opposite knee. Reach through to clasp hand around the lower leg and gently pull towards your chest. Hold for 20 seconds, repeat 2-3 times each side.


Pigeon Stretch


Use this stretch to release the glutes and piriformis from a different angle.

On all fours, bring one knee forward then angle your heel towards your opposite hip. Square your hips and extend your back leg as far as possible. Hold for 2-3 mins on each side.


Assisted Hamstring

Assisted Hamstring

Aims to lengthen the hamstring.

Lie on your back, hook a towel/band/skipping rope around your foot, straighten and lift your leg, pull back on the band to deepen the stretch. Hold for 30-40 seconds, repeat 1-2 times on each side.


Cat & Cow

Thoracic Release

Start this stretch on your hands and knees, inhale and lift your spine, rounding towards the ceiling at the same time pulling in your abdominal muscles. As you exhale gently arch your spine and lift your head to look forward.

Hold each position for 5-10 seconds, repeat 10 times.


Half Cobra

Half CobraThis movement help to stretch tight abdominal muscles and the lower back.

Start by lying flat on your stomach, arms extended above your head. Slowly lift your chest and bring your elbows under your shoulders, push your body upwards so you are resting all of your weight on your forearms. Hold for 10 seconds, repeat 5 times.

If you have more flexibility in your lower back, you can try straightening your arms.

NOTE: If you have a bulging or slipped disc or osteoarthritis in your back/hips, please consult with your GP or physiotherapist prior to commencing these stretches.

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