Three Stretches For A Sore Back

Back pain can be incredibly debilitating, getting in the way of your work and your play. In the long-term, it's important to see a physical therapist to get to the bottom of your back pain issues. However, in the meantime, you can use these three stretches to help ease the pain whenever it starts to build.

Knees to Chest 

This exercise works well when your lower back is sore and stiff. It helps realign the muscles and ligaments in the area where your lower back meets your buttocks. Start by laying flat on your back on a hard floor. Keep your arms flat at your sides. Then, slowly bend one leg and bring it back to you, drawing your knee towards your chest. Move slowly, being careful not to jar your back. If you feel some pain or resistance, slow down, and gently continue to ease your knee towards your chest. Hold this position for about 20 seconds. Then, lower your leg back down and repeat the stretch with your other leg. Aim to do between 5 and 10 repetitions per leg in each stretching session.

Cat Pose

This stretch really targets the midback, though it should help with some upper back and shoulder tightness, too. Get on your hands and knees, as if you were a cat. Make sure your palms are facing down, your fingers are facing forward, and your weight is distributed evenly across your two hands and two knees. Then, slowly arch your back towards the ceiling, drawing your shoulders towards your ears. Hold the pose for about 30 seconds, then lower you back for a rest. Repeat for a total of 5 to 10 reps per session.

The Cobra

Borrowed from yoga, this stretch helps loosen the muscles in your upper back. Start by laying face-down on the floor. Bend your arms at a 90 degree angle so your weight is resting on your forearms and palms. Your fingers should be facing forward. Then, peel your chest up off the floor, bending at the lower back. Keep raising your chest until you're looking completely forward. Hold this pose for about 30 seconds, then lower yourself back to the ground. Aim for 5 to 10 repetitions.

If you continue to experience ongoing back pain, be sure to get in touch with a physical therapist. These exercises are a good short-term fix, but they won't always provide long-term relief, especially if a more serious, underlying ailment is contributing to your back pain.