If you experience back pain, whether it be chronic or mild, you're not alone. 80% of Americans today suffer from back pain.
With a number that staggeringly high, there have to be some solutions for relieving back pain. Luckily, one of the best solutions is as simple as clearing a space in your living room: stretching.
Want to learn the best stretches to relieve back pain and feel more limber? Read on.
Pigeon poses are crucial in many yoga practices. They seek to open the hip, which can relieve lower back pain. These are especially great if you suffer from sciatica pain!
There are three different varieties of pigeon pose: reclining, sitting, and forward.
Reclining pigeon pose is best for beginners because it's a little easier and the stretch isn't quite as deep as the modifications.
To do the reclining pigeon pose, first lie down on your back. Then, lift your left leg up and make a 90-degree angle at the knee. Fold your hands beneath your left knee.
Next, lift your right leg, making a 90-degree angle again. After both legs are lifted, rest your left ankle atop your right ankle, slightly crossing your legs in the air. Hold this position for about 30 seconds.
After you've done this, repeat on the other side.
In the sitting pigeon pose, you'll start sitting straight up on the floor. Stretch your legs in front of you. Then, bend your left leg to place your left ankle on top of your right knee.
Once your legs are crossed, lean forward, reaching toward your toes with your hands. Lean only as far as is comfortable-- don't cause yourself pain here!
Hold this position for up to 30 seconds, and then repeat with the other leg.
Once you've mastered the reclining and sitting pigeon poses, try a forward pigeon pose to take it to the next level.
To do a forward pigeon pose, start by kneeling on the floor with your hands spread before you directly beneath your shoulders. Then, hitch your left leg up and place your left knee on the floor, bending your arms and dropping your chest to meet your leg.
You should now be lying on the floor, left leg beneath you and right leg extended behind you. Be sure that the top of your right foot is touching the floor, and that your toes are extended.
Now, stretch your arms in front of you, slowly shifting your body weight from your arms to your body. All your body weight should be on your legs at this point. Now, sit up as straight as feels comfortable, resting your arms beside you and lifting your face to the ceiling.
As you take deep breaths, bring your body back to the ground and then back up again. Try to align your exhales with dropping your chest to the floor each time.
This stretch will do wonders for decompressing your spine, which will alleviate back pain immensely.
Wall sits are awesome for those with such severe back pain that even getting onto the floor is challenging. They allow you to strengthen back muscles without the added pressure of the floor on your back.
To do a wall sit, first stand with your back to a wall with about a foot between you. Slowly lower yourself toward the wall until your knees are at a 90-degree angle. Hold for around 10-15 seconds, then stand back up again.
Repeat this anywhere from 10-15 times for optimal stretching.
While the hamstring is a leg muscle, it plays a pivotal role in back muscle health. It connects the hip to the knee, and is largely responsible for allowing your hip to extend when you move.
Building a stronger hamstring provides better support for back muscles when sitting. That's why it's so important to stretch it regularly.
To do the hamstring stretch, place your foot on a surface that's at or below your hip. You can use an ottoman, chair, or stair step for this. Now, flex your foot, extending your toes and lengthening your leg.
Bend forward as comfortably as you can. The farther forward you dip, the better you're stretching your hamstring. Don't stretch so far as to cause pain, though.
Hold this for around 30 seconds. Then, repeat with your other leg.
The cat-cow stretch is a regular in most yoga practices for back pain due to its awesome capability for decompressing that spine. It's an easy one, too!
Start by getting down on all fours. Make sure your hands are right beneath your shoulders for this one, creating a rectangle between your two hands and two knees.
Now, slowly arch your back, pointing the top of your head toward the ground. Hold this for five seconds.
Then, bring your back down again, arching it the other way and directing your face toward the ceiling. Hold this for five seconds as well. Repeat this stretch around 10 times.
If you spend long days sitting in an office, this is a stretch you absolutely have to add to your daily aerobic practice. The piriformis muscle becomes inflamed if you spend too long sitting, so it should ideally be stretched every night when you get home!
It's one of the best low back pain exercises out there. It's a simple one, too, so it should be easy for you.
First, sit down on a chair, sitting straight up along the back of it. Then, cross your right leg over the left, making it a 90-degree angle. Now, lean forward so it feels comfortable but you still feel the tug of that stretch working on your lower back.
Hold this stretch for about 15 seconds, and repeat on the other side. Easy as pie!
Relieve Back Pain Today
Now that you've read up on the best stretches to relieve back pain, start to think about other options that can help, too!
If you're ready to combine your aerobic practices with some physical therapy to relieve back pain long-term, get in touch. We would love to discuss your options!