Top 10 Back Stretches - Family Practice McAllen
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Top 10 Back Stretches

A Guide to Help You with Back, Neck, and Shoulder Pain!

Some lifestyle changes can help you move past the damage you do to your body. One of these tools is to incorporate stretching into your daily routine. Stretching may be difficult at first but long-term benefits like increased flexibility and resiliency far outweigh a tough start. The following are the top 10 stretches you need to know about to help you deal with neck, shoulder, and back pain.

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Cat (or Camel) Stretch

This stretch requires moving to a position on all fours, with a relaxed head drooping between your shoulders. From that starting point, round your back up with the aim to feel a stretch in all levels of your back.

Remain in the position as long as you can; aim for the 15 to 30-second range. Moving back to your starting position, press your stomach toward the floor and raise your glutes to the ceiling or sky. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds as well and repeat everything 2 to 4 times.

Modified Cobra Stretch

Lying face down, fully extended, bend your elbows and place your hands flat on the ground and line them up with your chest.

Press down to help you raise your upper body while you keep your pelvis flat. Extend your arms fully and hold this pose for about 10 seconds, repeating 4 or 5 times at a controlled pace.

Knees-to-Chest Stretch

This stretch requires you to start by lying on your back. Once in that position, bend both knees up while keeping your feet flat.

You can also pull one knee toward your chest at a time and hold it there for 20 seconds with both hands. Keep your other foot flat on the ground during this time. Change legs and do this twice for each leg.

Piriformis Stretch

With knees bent and feet flat, raise your left leg and place your left foot on your right knee.

Move your hands behind the right knee and raise the whole leg, with both legs raised and crossed in the air. Remain in this position for 30 seconds and follow the same steps with your left leg.

Child’s Pose Stretch

Start with your hands and knees on the floor, parallel to your shoulders and knees. Stretch out forward directly in front of you, extending your arms and placing your palms flat on the floor. Gently shift your hips back towards your heels and allow your head and chest to drop down as you stretch. Remain in this position for 20 to 30 seconds.

Lower-Back Twist Stretch

Double the stretch, the lower-back twist not only benefits your lower back but also helps to relieve pain in your glutes. You’ll want to start off in a “T” position lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Then, gently, with both of your legs moving together, guide them over to one side so that they are making a triangular shape on the floor. Hold this for 20-3o seconds and then gently return to your starting position before repeating on the other side. A stack of pillows or blankets under your knees can help to ease the stretch.

Doorway Stretch

Begin the stretch facing a door with your hands on the frame. Elbows should be at a 90-degree angle to your hands at shoulders length.

Breathe in and take a small step forward with your left foot, keeping your arms and shoulders relaxed. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds. Step back into the starting position and then take a small step forward with your right foot, repeating the process.

Figure Four Stretch

Start seated with your feet flat on the floor and knees bent. Using your hands for stability, pick your right foot up and cross the right ankle over the left thigh. Keeping an erect spine, gently lean forward.

Hold this position for 30-45 seconds and then switch sides. You can use a cushion or a chair to ease the stretch.

Thread The Needle Stretch

With hands and knees flat on the floor, have your fingers pointed inwards towards each other. Lift the right arm straight in front of you and lightly bend the left elbow. Then, thread your right arm underneath the left side.

The goal is to use your right arm to help you rotate your upper trunk while keeping your hips still. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds and then switch sides.

Poodle Tail Stretch

Similar to the cat and cow position, you’ll begin on your hands and knees with a flat back. Your shoulders should be over your wrist and knees under your hips.

Begin to sway your hips to your right side while turning your head to look in that direction. Gently rotate towards the other direction as if you were wagging a tail. Continue this movement for 10 repetitions on each side.