Stiff Back: Stretches To Relieve Stiffness of Back Muscle

“Wake up! Get a cheerful smile and enjoy the pretty morning.” How beautiful it feels when one listens to such good morning wishes! But just wonder about those who actually worry getting out of bed, not because of the laziness but because of the stiffness. “My stiffness exists in my back till I do some morning stretches.” Perhaps this quote fits perfect for all those people who might have suffered from a symptom of stiff back in the morning while getting off the bed or maybe while standing up after a long sitting or long biking. So, do you want to know about why this stiffness is irritating you? Are you concerned about your stiff back and want to know about some exercises on eradicating the stiff back? Then, here is the one article which would assist you in letting you know about some of the conditions and causes of the stiff back and also will put a limelight on some of the essential stretches recommended for the stiff back issue.

Stiff Back

Conditions When One Might Feel The Stiff Back:

Before we move forward to know about the causes of stiff back, it must be an important thing to know about certain states in human beings where one might experience a stiff back issue. Let us first look upon the conditions which lead to stiff back.

  • Standing up after long hours, or sitting at work in front of the laptop or computer etc.
  • After a long drive or long distance biking
  • After getting out of the bed in morning
  • While walking, especially those with a sedentary lifestyle with lack of exercise or physical activities and unhealthy fitness like people with excessive weight.

Causes of Stiff Back:

Now when we look upon the individual causes of stiffness at the back while sitting or while getting out of bed etc; here we can put forward a list explaining the reasons behind the stiff back.

  • An extended period of sitting at work, driving or riding, sitting in front of the computer or while doing any work in sitting posture gets the muscles, ligaments and the joints of the spine turn stiff and thus the stiff back symptoms are felt in the person. Apart from this, there grows some additional problems in stiff back because of the reason that with an extended sitting phase, the nervous system innervating the muscles turns idle or inhibited.
  • One simple and easier quote for stiff back can be mentioned as, “Your laziness gets you the stiffness!” Wondering about it? Well! Being clear about this it must be known that if you are not putting your spine into much of physical activity all throughout the day so as to keep the lumbar disc buoyant and puffed up then there are excessive chances you are going to meet with a stiff back symptom either after getting out of bed or after standing up from a sitting for a prolonged period. 
  • Ankylosing spondylitis is another condition in the spine which can also lead to stiffness in the back. This is a kind of arthritis in spine which causes ankylosis of vertebral and sacroiliac joints, and is mostly seen in adult males (though females also suffer from this kind of spine arthritis). Apart from this, any kind of minor sprain in the spine can also cause stiff back.
  • One more reason for the stiff back, especially while getting up from bed in the morning may be a wear and tear of the joints in your back. There is a wear and tear in the back joints when they are either overused or due to aging. The fact comes here is that with the growing age or overuse the surface of the back joints get worn out and no more remains smooth. They rub against each other and thus stop moving properly. This in turn results in the symptoms of stiffness. An additional period of rest, like sleeping for long or sitting may add to the stiffness. Just imagine, ”Your 8 hours of sleep is resulting in you with the stiff back in the morning and that takes couple of hours more from the morning for getting rid of stiffness after some movements.” Well! Some essential stretches prescribed for stiff back can actually help you take a quick and early move off from the stiffness. We will be discussing on the same in the later part of the article.
  • Met with any spinal injury? Can you feel swelling around the joints in the spine? Well! There is one more cause leading to stiff back and that is an inflammation or a swelling around the joints or the spinal discs. Any inflammation or swelling around the joints of the spine present around your back because of disc problem or any injury to the spine may lead to pain and stiffness. Moreover this inflammation builds up in excess overnight and results in a stiff back with excessive swelling and pain. It must be kept in mind that though movements and activities might reduce the stiff back and pain it might also cause more of swelling on your back. So, having a proper knowledge on the stretches and exercises for your condition is absolutely needed. Though we have tried to present some of the beneficial stretches for stiff back, it is always advised to reach an expert health professional or a professional physiotherapist to get expert advises and prescribed moves. 
  • Now, apart from all these causes which might lead you to the stiff back we would also let you know “Extra comfort can get you the discomfort!” Coming straight on this, do keep a check on your bed. There are also reasons that extra comfort gifting beds or the beds which are excessively soft, may simply cause back stiffness or even back pain after a long hours of sleep.

Exercises or Stretches for Stiff Back

It would be right to say, “The stretches begin when you actually want to break-up with the stiffness!” So, if you are fed up with the stiff back problems and actually want to get rid of it then look forward for some of the essential stretches to be added on your daily exercises in a proper manner.

Toe Touch Exercise To Get Relief From Stiff Back

This is one of the simplest exercise to stretch your back muscles and relieve the stiffness. Stand straight with your feet kept close to each other. Now slowly bend your back with your knees kept straight and try touching your fingers to your toes. This may not be possible for many in their first attempt, but with regular practice, in few days to few weeks, you will be able to touch your fingers to the toes which would indicate that you back is getting flexible.

Sitting Toe Touch or Head to Knee Exercise To Relieve Back Stiffness

Sit on the floor with your both legs extended and kept straight together. Now slowly bend forward and try touching your fingers to the toes or your head to the knees but make sure you do not bend your knees. For those who are not used to exercising, this may be difficult to accomplish but with practice in few days time you will be able to touch your fingers to toes in sitting position but for your head to touch knee it will take couple of weeks of regular practice. This is an effective exercise to relive back stiffness.

Sitting Toe Touch Exercise with Legs Spread Wide Apart To Relieve Back Stiffness

Sit on the floor with your both legs extended but spread wide apart. Now slowly bend towards the right leg and try touching your fingers to the right toes or your head to the right knees but make sure you do not bend your knees. For those who are not used to exercising, this may be difficult to accomplish but with practice in few days time you will be able to touch your fingers to toes in sitting position but for your head to touch knee with legs spread wide apart it will take couple of weeks of regular practice. This is an effective exercise for stiff back.

Heel Sit Exercise For Stiff Back

This is one of the simplest and most effective stretches for the stiff back problem. Here below are the steps explained.

  • With feet hip width apart, kneel down, your knee and palm should be on the floor, make sure there is a distance of at least 2 feet between your knee and your palm on the floor.
  • Slowly try moving your buttocks towards your heels with your hand firmly on the ground.
  • You will feel a stretch at your lower back.

Cat Stretch For Stiff Back

This type of stretch is perhaps one of the most effective stretches for reducing stiffness of the back. Steps to do cat stretch for stiff back:

  • Kneel down at first and next get both the hands touch the ground keeping in mind your hips, knees and both the shoulders are rightly place at 90 degrees.
  • Through your lower and middle back, carefully arch slowly.
  • Hold the position for some time, relax and repeat the same.

Double Knee-to-Chest Exercise For Stiff Back

Look below to understand the procedure.

  • Lie down with your back on a smooth surface.
  • Try and bring both your knees towards your chest. Take the help of your hands by wrapping around your knees and exerting more pressure on them towards chest.
  • Hold on to this position for a few seconds or as long as you can.

Standing Extension Exercise To Relieve Back Stiffness

Now this is one more recommended stretches for stiff back issues. Check out below to understand the steps.

  • Stand up straight with your feet spread shoulder width apart
  • Put your hands on the lower back, and then bend backwards with your face pointing towards the sky and your hips forward, maintain this position for few seconds and come back to original position. Repeat this 8-10 times.

Cross Body Toe Touches to Relieve Stiff Back:

To do this exercise, stand straight with legs spread wide apart. Now, try and touch the right leg toe with the left hand finger, while doing this, your right hand should be pointing towards the sky, now alternate it by touching your right hand fingers to the left foot toe without bending the knees. This is a good stretching exercise for your low back and hips.

Caution: These exercises are for stretching and strengthening the back. If anyone has a preexisting back condition then it is advisable that the individual consult with the primary physician before beginning these exercises.


Now that we are known to some of the most effective stretches for stiff back, how about follow these procedures and get some relief from the stiffness at the back especially after getting out of bed or after a long hours of sitting? Let your morning time be a time to smile and greet your day with the stretches that extends your fitness all throughout your fine day.

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 11, 2019

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