Back Pain Management: Stretches to Ease Lower Back Aches


Whether the result of a sports injury, a sedentary lifestyle, repetitive motion, illness, degenerative condition or something else altogether, it’s estimated that about 31 million Americans live with some form of back pain every day. It’s a common affliction–and one that can be costly and difficult to treat. In addition to the treatment plans and medications offered by your physician, many people find it helpful to augment their back pain therapy with at-home stretches to keep them loose and limber.

Make sure you check with your doctor, pain management specialist, or spine center before embarking on a stretching routine for your back pain. If you ever feel pain while stretching, stop immediately.

Knee Press

This stretch works best if it’s done first thing in the morning and last thing at night before bed. Start by lying on your back on the floor, bed, or a yoga mat. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor or bed. Using both hands, pull your left knee up to your chest and hold it there for 15 to 20 seconds before returning it to the starting position. Repeat with your right leg. Finally, repeat with both legs at the same time.


This is an easy stretch that should be done two to three times a day for maximum relief. Start by lying on your back with your feet flat and your knees bent. Keeping your shoulders pressed firmly to the floor and your knees bent, roll your legs (still held closely together) to one side. Hold this position for 10 seconds and then return to the starting position. Repeat the stretch on the other side.

Pelvic Tilts

Lie on your back, your knees bent and your shoulders pressed towards the ground. Bend your knees, keeping your feet flat on the ground. Keeping your feet flat on the floor, arch your back so that your pelvic bone feels as though it’s tilted towards your shoes. Hold this position for 7 seconds and then relax. Arc your back so that your pelvic bone now feels as though it’s pointing towards your head and shoulders. Hold this position for 7 seconds and relax. Start with 5-10 repetitions and gradually increase as your movement and flexibility will allow.

Chair Twists

This is a good stretch to do in the office or at home. Sit in an armless chair, stool, or ottoman. Keep your back straight and start with your feet flat on the floor. Cross your right leg over your left, resting your right ankle on your left knee. Rest your left elbow against the outside of the opposite knee and twist to the side. Hold this position for 7-10 seconds before repeating for the opposite side. Repeat 2-3 times per side.

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