Stiff back is a common concern that bothers many people. The reasons for a stiff back range from overwork, injuries to medical conditions. Back stiffness is often a result of strained muscles, which can be relieved by stretches.(1) In this article, we discuss about 10 stretches to get rid of stiff back.
How Do You Stretch Out A Stiff Back: 10 Stretches for Stiff Back
While back pain occurring due to medical conditions may need medical attention, stiff back due to strained muscles is often relieved by simple stretches. Here are 10 stretches to get rid of stiff back.
- Stretching with Arms at Side: Arm side stretch is the simplest of the 10 stretches to get rid of stiff back. In this stretch, the sides of the back are stretched and greatly relieved. To do this exercise, you need to stand with the legs spread at about shoulder length, face forward, knees relaxed, and arm on the sides with palms facing towards the thighs. Now slowly raise the right arm and simultaneously bend towards the left with the left palm facing the floor. While bending, slide the left palm along the left leg, keeping the face forward at all times. Keep the head in line with the spine. Maintain this position for about half a minute and repeat it on the opposite side.
- Knee to Chest Stretch: Ideal for relieving stiffness and pain in lower back this stretch is extremely effective. This one of the 10 stretches to get rid of stiff back, also helps to relax thigh muscles. To perform this exercise, you need to lie on the floor with the knees bent facing the ceiling and the body relaxed. Now pull the right knee to your chest using both your hands, and straighten the other leg flat on the floor simultaneously. Hold the position for 15 – 30 seconds, slowly return back to the original position and then repeat the same exercise with the left knee. In the end, repeat the exercise pulling both your knees to your chest.(2)
- Cross-Leg Stretch: For this stretch, lie flat on the back with the arms resting on the sides. Now, slowly raise the left arm and place the left leg over the right such that they meet at the knees. Now stretch the head slightly towards the left side. Hold the position for 5- 30 seconds, then come back to the original position and repeat on the other side. This is one of the easy yet effective stretches to get rid of stiff back.
- Low Back Rotation Exercise: This stretch is best for low back and hip stiffness, this stretch makes the spine mobile and flexible making rotations easier. To perform this stretch, lie flat on your back with knees bent upwards. Now keeping the knees pressed together at all times, bring both legs to one side gently while keeping the shoulders and neck straight. Make sure that the feet and shoulders stay on the floor as you perform this stretch. Hold the position for about 10 seconds and then slowly return back to the initial position. Repeat the exercise on the other side also. This is an effective and relaxing of the 10 stretches to get rid of stiff back.
Reaching and Stretching: Another highly effective stretch to get rid of stiff back is the reach and stretch exercise. For this you need to stand straight with the feet spread at shoulder length and arms at the sides. Now raise the arms towards the sides of the head and at the same time bend the knees. Now bring the hands together in front of the eyes, maintain the stretch for about half a minute.
- Low Back Stretches: This stretch specifically focuses on increasing lower back flexibility. This too is one of the top 10 stretches to get rid of stiff back. This stretch is performed by lying flat on ground with knees bent upwards. Keeping the feet flat on the floor, slowly arch the back in a manner such that the pubic bone looks to be pointing to the feet. Then lie down with the back flat and squeeze in the belly button in a manner that the pubic bone seems to point to the head, hold the stretch at both points for about 10 seconds, come to the starting position, and again repeat the process.
- Bridge Exercise: To perform this stretch lie straight on the back with arms at the sides, now bend the knees upwards while still touching the floor with your feet. Now slowly lift the hips off of the floor, and squeeze the muscles of the buttocks and hamstrings. Hold the pose for about 120 seconds and relax. Repeat the stretch for at least 10 times for desired results. This is one of the 10 stretches to get rid of stiff back and is also effective for the abs.(2)
Pelvic Tilt: The pelvic tilt also is an extremely effective way to relieve stiffness of the lower back. For this pose, you need to lie flat on floor, with the knees bent towards the ceiling. Now concentrate on your breathing and with each expiration squeeze in the stomach as if it is reaching for the floor and contract the abdominal muscles also. The low back needs to be completely flat when performing this stretch. Hold the position for five seconds and relax the muscles. Again, do about 15 repetitions of this stretch. This is a static exercise and one of the important 10 stretches to get rid of stiff back.(2)
- Cat Stretch: The cat stretch is one of the most relaxing and effective stretches to get rid of stiff back. To do this exercise, you need to lie on all fours start on all fours, that is be in a position on the ground with your knees and hands touching the floor but not your stomach. Now sag the belly and back towards the floor, and then arch the back to point towards the ceiling and then finally come back to the original position. Relax and repeat the same again.(2)
- Spinal Twist: The last of the deals, this stretch involves a chair and is greatly effective stretch to get rid of stiff back. Sit straight on a chair with back support with the feet placed on a stool in front of you. Sitting in this position, put the arms across the chest. Now, try and pull the stomach inwards by gently applying pressure and twist the lower half of the body on one side as much as you can without any discomfort. Hold the position for about half a minute and then come back to the original position. Now, repeat the same process on the opposite side.
These 10 stretches to get rid of stiff back are effective and can be easily performed. However, if there is discomfort or if back stiffness does not seem to improve, it is best to seek medical advice.