by Lauren Rae, Wellness Coach and CPT at TRYM Fitness
Combine stiff, weak muscles with one wrong twist and it’s easy to cause an injury to your spine. An injury can create mild to severe back pain, an unfortunately common problem currently affecting 60–80% of the U.S. population today. Almost everyone can benefit from light stretching, especially in the muscles and ligaments surrounding your low back, legs, and hips. While it will take repetition and consistency to get relief from any current discomfort, you are bound to feel some difference after your first go. Don’t be one of the many—utilize these simple stretches and exercises to prevent and treat back pain.
Things to remember before you begin:
- Wear clothing that will allow you to move freely.
- Move carefully into each stretch and avoid any bouncing movements.
- Stretching will be uncomfortable but should not be painful. Be sure to be aware of your body and do not force any positions that do not feel safe.
- Hold your stretches for 20–60 seconds to allow your body to respond to the stretch and release in the muscles.
Lying Knee to Chest
Release tension in your back by bringing one or both knees into your chest. This applies a gentle stretch on the hamstrings and inner thighs as well as a flexion in the spine that can help to stretch and release tight muscles that can cause back pain.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Bring one or both knees into your chest by grasping your shins right below the knee.
- Hold this position, adding downward pressure, for 20–30 seconds.
- Release your legs and repeat 3–4 times.
Kneeling Back Extension (Child's Pose)
Back pain can be linked to highly active or high stressed individuals so taking time to reset and rejuvenate might be the key to undoing your back pain. Meanwhile, yoga is known for its healing and releasing benefits both physically and mentally. Do child’s pose, or kneeling back extension, to release tension in your back while relaxing mind and body.
- Begin in a kneeling position and slowly lower your buttocks back towards your heels.
- Carefully lower your upper body down and forward until your forehead comes into contact with the mat.
- Extend your arms on the floor in front of you while reaching your tailbone back.
- Lengthen through your spine and sink deeper into the floor feeling the stretch from your shoulders down the length of your spine.
- Hold this position for 30–60 seconds.
Stretch the entire backside of your body, from your heels through the back of your neck, with a seated forward bend. This stretch can also help calm the mind while massaging your organs and lengthening your spine.
- In a seated position, extend your legs in front of you and inhale your arms up overhead.
- Exhale bend at the hip keeping your back as flat as possible and lower down towards your legs, reaching out for your feet or shins.
- From here you can pause into the stretch or pull yourself down a little deeper with each exhale to deepen the stretch.
- Do your best to relax and hold this position for 30–60 seconds.