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4 Simple Stretches for Back Pain

Physical therapy is a common nonsurgical treatment for chronic back and or neck pain. An important part of physical therapy is stretching. Let’s take a look at what stretching is and why play such an important role in treating chronic pain associated with the spine.


Why is Stretching Important?

When people suffer from chronic pain they tend to become less active. This is understandable. But, what’s important to note, is that lower activity levels can worsen chronic pain.

As you become less active, your muscles weaken. As your core body muscles become weaker, the spine ends up supporting more of your body weight. This puts additional stresses on the spine leading to further damage and/or pain.

In addition, when you sit or lay down for long periods of time your muscles, ligaments and tendons tighten up. As they tighten, they contract. This contraction makes them shorter, causing more stress on your muscles and bones. Again, these additional stresses can lead to more pain.

Stretching helps loosen your muscles and reduce the strain on the joints. In addition, adding stretching to your exercise regimen can help minimize your risk of injury.

Stretches for Back Pain

With any stretching it’s important that you take things slowly and don’t push too far, especially if you’re just starting out. Trying to stretch too much when you’re first starting could result in injury…and worse pain.

In addition, as you stretch, remember to breathe . Don’t rock but hold each stretch before releasing it.

Most importantly, if you experience any severe pain while stretching or exercising you should contact your doctor immediately.

Always consult your doctor before starting any new exercise or stretching regimen to ensure it’s safe and appropriate.

Here are some simple stretches for back pain.

Knee Rotations

Lie down on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Your arms should be flat on the ground, stretched out to each side. Now, while keeping your back on the floor slowly rotate your knees toward one side. Go as far as you feel comfortable going, then release the stretch and bring your knees to the center again. Now do the same stretch to the other side. Repeat the stretch, alternating sides.

Hamstring Stretch

hamstring-stretch back exercise

Hamstring Stretch

Lie on your back with your legs outstretched. Place both hands behind one thigh and pull your leg up to stretch your hips and hamstrings. Try to bring your leg up so it makes a 90 degree angle with your body and try to keep your knee straight. (Remember, don’t overdo, if you can’t hold this position, bend your knee until it is comfortable.) Hold the stretch for a count to 10 and release. Now do the same with the other leg. Repeat, alternating legs.

Back Extensions

Lie on your stomach with your forearms on the ground and shoulders up off the ground. Keeping your forearms on the ground slowly push your head and shoulders up while keeping your legs and pelvis on the floor. Again, only go as far as you feel comfortable. Hold the stretch and release.

Knee to Chest Stretch

stretches for back pain - knee to chest back exercise at home

Intermediate Back Exercises: Knee to Chest

Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. With both hands grab one knee and slowly pull it back toward your chest. Hold the stretch as you count to 10 and release. Do the same with the other knee. Repeat the stretch, alternating sides.


As you perform these stretches you should notice they become easier with time.





*Please Note: Information on this site or any recommended sites should not be used as a diagnosis or a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.
Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery