The Best Stretches for Back Pain

Over 80% of people experience at least one episode of back pain at some point in their lives, so it is important to understand proper stretches to help prevent or heal an aching back.


Back pain is mostly caused by an activity resulting in sharp pain in your lower back or a lack of activity causing stiff, unused muscles that are unable to keep up with daily demands. Below are a few common reasons for back pain:

  • Strains and sprains: Overstretching, lifting something incorrectly, or twisting movements are a few examples of how you can strain or sprain your back.
  • Herniated or ruptured discs: When a disc herniates, the nucleus pushes against the outer ring (annulus) and puts pressure on the sensitive spinal nerves, causing back pain, numbness, tingling, and/or weakness.
  • Sciatica: A sharp lower back pain that radiates down through your glutes and legs, due to compression on the sciatic nerve. This often occurs after a herniated or ruptured disc.

There are a number of benefits to exercising and stretching on a regular basis. A body in motion stays in motion, and implementing a daily routine focused on exercise and proper stretching will help support your back.


Head Rolls: This stretch supports the cervical spine and trapezius. You should feel this stretch all-around your neck and into your upper back.

Kneeling Back/Hip Extension: Start by kneeling with your arms crossed over your chest or arms straight up towards the ceiling. From this position, you will start hinging at the hips, pushing your butt back towards your heels, and chest forward maintaining a neutral spine. Lower as far as you can until you cannot keep a neutral spine. This stretch should be felt in your lower back and your abdominals. Click here to watch a video demonstration.

Knee to Chest: Start on your back and gently bring your right knee to your chest. Hold it for 15 to 30 seconds before lowering it back down. Repeat with the left leg.

Bird Dogs: Start on your hands and knees with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Keep your back straight and your ab muscles tight. Lift your right leg, extend it straight behind you, and hold for five seconds before lowering it down. Repeat on the other side.

If your back pain persists or you would like to determine the cause of your pain, contact one of our doctors for an evaluation.