Wellness

Stretches and Exercises for Back Pain

Source: Spine Health
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The following stretches and exercises are specifically designed to alleviate back pain, pressure and tension while also strengthening the back to avoid future injury. Each stretch and exercise should be performed without pain.

Piriformis Muscle Stretch
Location

The piriformis muscle extends from the back of the thigh to the bottom of the spine.

Benefits

Helps alleviate sciatic nerve pain

Instructions
  • Lying on the back, cross the left leg over the right
  • Keep the thighs together
  • Bend both knees toward the body
  • Place both hands under the knee of the right leg
  • Gently pull the right leg toward the chest
  • Hold for 30 seconds
  • Repeat on the opposite side
  • Psoas Major Muscle Stretch
    Location

    The psoas major muscle is located in front of the lower spine.

    Benefits

    Improves the ability to stand for long periods without pain

    Instructions
  • Kneel on the ground with both knees
  • Place the left foot firmly on the ground in front of the body (half-kneeling position)
  • Rotate the left leg outward (do not move the left foot) while tightening the buttocks
  • Feel the stretch in the hip joint
  • Hold for 30 seconds
  • Repeat on the opposite side
  • Hamstring Muscle Stretch
    Location

    The hamstrings run the length of the pelvic bone to below the knees.

    Benefits

    Improves sitting posture and hip movement, helps with lower back pain

    Instructions
  • Lie on the back
  • Grab the left leg behind the knee with both hands
  • Straighten the left leg toward the ceiling
  • Face the sole of the foot toward the ceiling
  • Hold for 30 seconds
  • Repeat on the other side
  • Transversus Abdominis Muscle Exercise
    Location

    The transversus abdominis muscles are located in the abdomen.

    Benefits

    Promotes spinal stability

    Instructions
  • Lie on the back with knees bent
  • Place knees and feet shoulder-width apart
  • Maintain a neutral spine position (do not push the spine toward the floor)
  • Exhale while pulling the belly button in toward the spine
  • Reach up toward the ceiling with the arms
  • Slightly lift the head and shoulder blades off the ground
  • Hold for 1-2 seconds
  • Inhale as the head and shoulders return to the ground
  • Repeat several times
  • Gluteus Medius Muscle Exercise
    Location

    The Gluteus Medius muscles are on the sides of the hips.

    Benefits

    Improves stability and flexibility, decreases lower back and hip pain

    Instructions
  • Lie on one side and place the back against a wall
  • Breathe in deep, pulling the belly button towards the spine
  • Raise the top leg slowly toward the ceiling while keeping the heel against the wall
  • Point the toes slightly toward the ceiling
  • Hold for 2 seconds then slowly lower
  • Do 10 repetitions
  • Repeat on the other side