Soothe your sore back with these easy stretch moves.
Knee to chest stretch
Lie on your back with feet flat on the floor. Bring both hands to your right knee and pull it gently toward your chest. Hold without straining or pulling, then release. Replace leg and repeat on the left.
Use a mat or towel if you need extra padding to make your knees comfortable. Move onto your hands and knees with the tops of the feet flat on the floor. Your hands should be flat with palms spread wide at shoulder width. Round your back toward the ceiling and drop the crown of your head so your eyes are aligned with your belly. You should look somewhat like a cat with its back up.
Alternate cow pose with cat pose. To do cow pose drop your belly. Lift your head and chest so that your sternum pushes forward. Slightly curve your low back so your bottom lifts. Cat and cow pose give your back a gentle stretch and improve circulation. Improved circulation helps deliver nutrients the disks and muscles need to be healthy and to heal.
Downward facing dog
Believe it or not, tight hamstrings can lead to back pain. Show your hamstrings some love with a down dog. To do one start on your hands and knees. Hands should be just above your shoulders and spread wide with middle fingers pointed straight. Curl your toes under and lift your hips so your bottom points toward the ceiling. You should look somewhat like an inverted letter V. Hold for two or three breaths. Bonus – the down dog also stretches and strengthens your back.
Lie on your back with feet flat on the floor. Bring your heels close enough that you can touch them with your fingertips. Plant your feet firmly and lift your bottom until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths before slowly lowering to the floor.
Start on your knees with the tops of your feet flat and big toes touching. Knees should be hip-width distance apart. Lower your bottom toward your heels and your trunk between your thighs. Extend your arms fully in front of you and place your forehead on the floor. Hold for at least one minute.
Standing forward fold
Stand with feet hip-width distance apart (that’s about two side-by-side fists apart). Bend forward from your hips and let your hands rest on the floor, thighs or shins depending on your level of flexibility. You can also grab opposite elbows.
Gentle stretches can bring comfort to an achy back. Add these to your regular exercise routine for relief that lasts.