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Whether you lead an active or a more sedentary lifestyle, you may find that back pain is giving you problems while sitting, exercising, or sleeping. Depending on the severity of your back pain, you may need to visit a doctor, chiropractor, massage therapist, physiotherapist, or acupuncturist. There are some ways to treat your back pain at home (other than medicating!).

Exercise For Back Pain

Before we get into the stretches, here are some quick tips to help you before, after, and during your stretches:

  • Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes
  • Stay hydrated
  • Stretch slowly; while some stretches may feel intense, there should be no pain. Don’t force any stretches
  • Find a flat surface to stretch on. Use a yoga or pilates mat if available
  • Let your body settle into each stretch by holding it for at least 20-30 seconds
  • If you have concerns about whether a certain stretch is good for you, check with your physiotherapist or doctor
  • Keep breathing. If a certain part of your body feels tight during stretching, think of breathing into that part of your body. If you’re holding your breath or your breath becomes shaky, you need to lessen the intensity of the stretch

Here are five easy stretches you can do to relieve back pain:

  1. Back Flexion
  2. Lying on your back, pull your knees to your chest and your forehead to your knees into a balled up position.

  3. Constructive Rest
  4. On your back, bend your knees, keeping your feet flat on the floor. Walk your feet out as wide as you can, ideally the width of your mat. Let your knees knock towards each other, ideally touching. Breathe and relax into the pose, which should provide a comfortable opening up of the low back.

  5. Forward Bend
  6. This stretch gets into your hamstrings while also using traction to relax and create space in your back. Standing with knees slightly bent, let yourself bend forward as much as you can, resting your hands wherever they can reach.

  7. Two-Knee Twist
  8. During this twist, lie on your back with your arms out to your side in a “T” shape. Bend your knees in towards your chest. Exhaling slowly, lower your knees to one side while keeping both shoulders pressed evenly down on the mat. Your knees may not completely reach the ground, which is fine. This stretch should be comfortable to stay in for a minute or two on each side.

  9. Legs Up The Wall
  10. This restorative pose is often done in yoga after a workout. It relaxes lower back muscles as well as draining fluid from the feet and legs. You will need clear wall space. Facing sideways, scoot your buttocks as close to the wall as possible and then swing your legs up the wall. There should be as little space as possible between your thighs and the wall. This is a good pose to hold for a while and really relax into.

Hopefully these stretches can provide some relief for your back pain. Be sure to discuss persistent back pain with your doctor or physiotherapist!

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