The back is one of the most critical areas in the entire human body, but many individuals neglect to take proper care of it—much to their detriment. Too many gym-goers concentrate mostly on their arms or chest while forgetting that the back is responsible for much of their foundational strength. If you want your body to stay healthy and pain-free, you should take time to work out your back on a regular basis—or at least stretch it out when you have a few spare minutes. The following five stretches can relieve existing back pain, and prevent further back pain from occurring in the future.
You’ll find this one in most of your basic yoga classes—it’s extremely easy to do, and it’s excellent for removing tension from the spinal column. Start out on your hands and knees. Keep your hands and knees shoulder width apart for the duration of the stretch. Calmly and slowly arch your spine as you breathe out, then contract your core muscles and round your spine while you breathe in. Try to keep the motions between each position fluid instead of static, and repeat it ten times.
This one’s also standard in most yoga classes, and as a bonus, it will strengthen your lower ab muscles! To perform the stretch, lie on your stomach with your legs stretched out behind you. Then place your palms on the ground to either side of your head, and make sure your elbows and forearms are resting on the floor as well. Then, lift your chest upwards while keeping your hips on the ground. Move until you experience a gentle stretch in both your abdomen and your lower back. Hold each stretch for 10 seconds and repeat it five times.
Also known as restful pose in some circles, this position is most comfortable to achieve by following these steps: first, stand with your feet just wider than shoulder-width apart. Then slowly bend over from the waist until your head is hanging upside down. At that point, let your knees bend and take your seat down to the ground until you are in a deep squat. Then come forward and let your knees touch the mat in front of you while reaching out with your hands. Hold this pose for at least 20 seconds.
Knee to Chest
It’s easy to do this stretch— lie on your back with all your limbs extended. Then bring one knee up and grasp it with both hands, pulling it in toward your chest. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds, then let the leg go and extend it until it’s back in the position where it started. Do this three times for each leg.
Lying Knee Twist
This stretch is similar to the last one, but instead of bringing each knee into your chest, you’ll bend each knee and then cross it over the opposite side of your body. Keep your core tight throughout, and hold the stretch for 20 seconds before letting each leg rotate back to center. Perform the stretch three times on each leg.
Performing this basic routine a few times each week won’t take up much of your time, but it will result in a significantly healthier back with less pain and risk of injury. Use these stretches to relieve and prevent your back pain, and be sure to call a medical professional for help if you feel that you need extra attention.