Whether it's lower back, mid-back, or upper back and shoulder pain, use these stretches to ease tension and let loose
Hands up who’s guilty of slouching. How about overdoing it during exercise or chores? Or even underdoing it and sitting still for too long?
Back pain is something that most of us will experience at some point, and it can range from niggling feelings to pain that prevents us from going about our daily lives.
To prevent back pain in the first place it’s important to think about our posture, our workspaces, not pushing ourselves too far, and also making sure that we’re keeping active. But if you’re feeling tense, try these targeted stretches to ease pain where you need it most.
Before you start, remember never to over-stretch – if something feels painful, or just not right, stop and consult your doctor.
Stretches for lower back pain
Feeling the strain in your lower back? Try these:
This is one pulled straight from yoga 101, and not only will it help you stretch your gluteus maximum (the muscle just above your buttocks), it can also help with pain up along your spine. To get into this stretch, begin by kneeling with your knees and shins flat on the floor. Then slowly lay down, stretching your arms out in front of you, resting your stomach on your thighs. Breath deeply, and hold this pose for however long you need.
Often used during workouts to build abs, this stretch can also help relieve pain caused by tightness in your lower back. Lie on your back with both knees bent and your feet on the floor. While keeping your back flat, slowly lift your pelvis up and down in sets of three. Repeat this five times.
Seated spinal twist
This is one to take slow, but is a great way to ease hip and lower spine ache. First, sit with your legs flat out in front of you. Cross your left leg over your right, keeping your left foot flat on the ground. Bring your right arm over your left leg, making sure it’s straight, palm facing out. Hold this pose for one minute, and then repeat on the other side.
Knee to chest
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this one, it’s a really effective way to stretch the hamstrings and lower back. Lie on your back with your legs flat on the floor. Gently bend one leg up, placing your hands over your knee to hold it in place. Hold this for 30 seconds on each leg.
Stretches for mid-back pain
Mid-back pain can occur for all sorts of reasons, but poor posture and muscle strain are common culprits. Stretch it out with these tips:
Another yoga classic, this post encourages spinal movement, and is a fantastic way to ease stiffness. Begin the pose on all fours, your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Gently dip your belly down and your face up, and slowly move your face down and arch your back, tucking in your hips. Repeat this five times.
This is a pose that requires minimal effort and so can be held for as long as you need. To do this, simply roll up a blanket, towel, or yoga man and lie on it so that it is just below your shoulder blades. Spread your arms with your palms facing upwards, and relax into the pose for as long as you need, keeping your breathing deep and steady.
Stretches for shoulder and back pain
A day spent bent over a screen is bound to leave us feeling tense around our shoulders and upper back. Ease the pain with these poses:
We’re certain this is one you’ve come across before, and it’s great for stretching out the shoulders and upper back. Start standing or seated. Raise your right arm up, bend at the elbow, and place it behind your head. Hold your right hand with your left hand. Hold this for 30 seconds and then switch arms and do it again.
When it comes to stretching your neck, it’s very important to be gentle and to stop if you're feeling pain. If your neck feels tight, start with your chin on your chest, and slowly rotate your neck around in a circle, not forcing it at any point. Do this five times in one direction and then repeat in the opposite direction.
Like snow angels, but not so chilly, this stretch will help loosen your shoulders. Stand with your back against a wall, start with your arms above your head – flat on the wall – and slowly move them up and down like your making a snow angel. Do 10 reps and repeat this five times.
Remember, if your pain does not ease, or gets worse, you must seek medical advice. But for those who are just feeling the pressure of daily-life, incorporating these stretches into your routine could be the habit you need to let loose.