Stretches for a Bad Back

At some point in life, most persons will suffer from some back discomfort. Part of the reason for back pain, especially lower back pain is weak muscles. Knowing how to get relief is important to functioning on a daily basis. For many persons stretches provide immediate relief from pain or discomfort associated with a bad back.

Before starting any back stretches, you need to warm up first. Warming up helps to loosen muscles and get the blood flowing. It also helps prevent exercise related injuries as warm muscles are more flexible than cold muscles. Five minutes of warm up prior to stretching should be adequate. The time can be spent on an exercise bicycle, or just walking in place.

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Some simple stretches for a bad back include:

Back extensions

There are different ways to do back extensions, two common variations are:

– Lie on your stomach
– Raise yourself up on your elbows while slowly stretching your back
– Hold for a few seconds then return to starting position


– Lie on your stomach
– Place your hands on the floor close to your chest
– Pull in your stomach and lift your chest off the floor
– Return to starting position

You can do as many repetitions as you can manage.

Pelvic tilt

This is a multipurpose stretch as it works not only on the lower back, but also the abs and butt. To perform this exercise, do the following:

– Lie on your back with your knees bent
– Place your feet flat on the ground
– While in that position, tighten your abdomen and buttock muscles
– Press the small of your back against the floor which cause the pelvis to tilt upwards
– Hold for about five seconds
– Return to starting position and repeat up to 15 times.

The Cat

This is one of the best and easiest stretches for a bad back. To stretch like a cat, do the following:

– Get down on all fours, with your hands under your shoulders.
– Bend your knees so that they are in line with your hips
– Inhale and push your stomach towards the floor making a dipping motion with your upper body
– Exhale and pull your stomach in
– Roll your back in while raising your chin and tilting the buttocks towards the floor
– Alternate doing these at least five to eight times.

It is important to know that the type of stretches and the way they are done can in fact make a bad situation worse. All stretches are not ideal for all conditions or for everyone. As such, make sure to do an evaluation before deciding what types of stretches to attempt if any. People with chronic back pain or history of spinal injury should not attempt stretches unless specifically advised by a doctor.

One of the great things about stretches is that they can also be used to prevent a bad back later on. Stretching helps keep you flexible. Make stretching a part of your daily routine and you could avoid the back issues faced by many persons. An added advantage is that many stretches for the back help not only with flexibility, but also to improve joint function.

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Filed Under: Back Pain
Written By:  Updated:
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Jesse Cannone, CFT, CPRS, MFT

Jesse is the co-founder and visionary CEO of The Healthy Back Institute®, the world-leading source of natural back pain solutions. His mission as a former back pain sufferer is to help others live pain free without surgery and pharmaceuticals.

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