Whether you have a physically demanding role or you have a desk job, you’ll know how important it is for you to be free of pain. While we all get aches and pains every now and again, sometimes we need to maintain our body health in order to make sure that we reduce the chances of these flare-ups from happening.
Yet, it’s common to suffer from back pain no matter how well we think we’re caring for it. There are many occasions where doing stretching exercises can help to relieve back pain and go towards strengthening your muscles, meaning that you are less likely to suffer with back problems. Here are a few exercises that you might want to try out the next time you get a twinge.
Lat side stretch
The lats are the biggest muscles in the back and are used in many day-to-day activities, including sports. This means that many people suffer from muscle tightness in this area.
To do this exercise, stand with your hands above your head and hold your right hand with your left. With help from your left hand, stretch to the left side and hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat this move on the opposite side, and aim to complete two to three repetitions of this stretch on both sides.
This targets the rhomboids and deltoids, and helps release tight trigger points between your shoulder blades. To start, put your right elbow on your left elbow and interlace your left hand around your right arm. Once in this position, you can add more pressure to feel your upper back opening up. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds, and then repeat on the other side.
Upper trapezius stretch
Targeting the upper trapezius muscles, this stretch can combat the bad posture that we might have. Either sitting or standing, tilt your head to the left. Hold the top of your head with your left hand and apply a mild force to the left, and hold for 15 to 20 seconds. Repeat this on the other side, and complete three repetitions on each.
The piriformis muscle is a deep internal hip rotator that’s on the outside of the glute. It offers a lot of movement to the hip and, as it crosses the sciatic nerve, can irritate that nerve if the piriformis is tight.
Sit on the floor with your legs in front of you, then cross your right leg over your left one and put your right foot flat on the floor. Put your right hand on the floor behind you. Then, either put your left hand on your right quad, or left elbow on your right knee, and press your right leg to the left as your body twists to the right—you can leave out the body twist if this bothers your back.
Knee to chest stretch
This is a lower back stretching exercise, as well as your hamstrings and hips. Lie flat on your back with your legs extended, then pull your right knee into your chest—your left leg should be straight and your lower back pressed to the floor. Hold this for 30 seconds to two minutes, and repeat on the other leg.