Stretches to Help with Back Pain

Back pain is a common ailment that plagues many women, and can result from a number of issues, such as spine-related problems, inflammation and wear of the sacroiliac joint, pinched nerve, accidents and stress. The pain can be stabbing, dull, achy, or debilitating. While there are various pain management medications out there, a simpler solution that could provide quick and effective relief are stretches. Let’s look at a few stretches that could ease your unwanted back pain.

Standing Hamstring Stretch
Lower back pain can be a nagging discomfort, but can be alleviated with a standing hamstring stretch. Gently lengthening the hamstring can reduce stress and improve degraded flexibility and decrease pain levels.

To stretch the hamstring:
Stand with both feet planted together on the ground. Gently extend your arms upward to the ceiling, while keeping your back straight. Slowly bend at the waist with your torso forward, knees locked, back straight and hands reaching for the toes. Hold this position for 30-45 seconds. Relax for 30 seconds. Repeat the stretch 3 times.

Pigeon Pose
Improvement in back pain doesn’t necessarily require stretching your back. Improving flexibility and posture can work wonders for sciatica-related back pain, hence, the pigeon pose.

To do the pigeon pose:
Start by positioning yourself on all fours (your hands and knees) or in table. Bring your left leg forward, with ankle at your right hand, and slide your right leg back, ensuring that your hips are square and knee is in line with the ankle. Inhale and lengthen up with the torso, pressing the tailbone down, and exhale as you press the extended leg back. Position your arms on each side of your hips and rise up on your fingertips as you elongate the spine. Depending on comfort level, hold the stretch for 30 seconds to 5 minutes.

To tackle mid-back pain, cat-cow allows for gentle spinal movements that can minimize pain and release stiffness.

To do the cat-cow:
Position yourself on all fours to begin, with wrists under your shoulders and knees under your hips, and back flat. Press your hands into the mat/floor, spreading your fingers wide, evenly distributing your weight in your hands to avoid putting pressure on the wrists. Inhale, slowly raise your pelvis upward, your chest forward, stomach lowered, back flat, and face up and looking ahead.  Hold for 5-10 seconds. Exhale, gently arch your back, mimicking a cat, to round out the spine. Tuck your pelvis, sucking in the belly button, and hang your head freely. Hold for 5-10 seconds. Repeat the stretch 5-7 times. Back pain doesn’t always require prescription medication.

Simple stretches can provide the relief that you need to go about your day. So, stretch the pain away.

Monica Manuel