stretching for back pain

Stretching for low back pain

It is a sad fact that low back pain affects four out of five adults at some point in their lives!

For those of you who suffer from low back pain, it may feel like you would do anything to get even the tiniest bit of relief.

The benefits of stretching are numerous and not only to relieve low back pain but to improve overall flexibility of the whole body.

As we age the likelihood of having issues with back pain increase, mostly due to the effects of age-related conditions such as, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.

Whether your pain was caused by the ageing process, an injury, overuse or from long hours sitting in a chair, stretching a few minutes each day can go far in helping to keep that back pain in check and to help prevent future pain.

5 Benefits of stretching

  1. Stretching lengthens and relaxes the muscles in your spine and whilst stretching your back is important for pain relief, a full body stretch can be beneficial in relieving any tension being held throughout the body, which in turn, can cause other muscles to work harder to compensate.


  1. Stretching reduces the likelihood of injury. Tight, short, cold muscles are not prepared for activity. Have you ever bent over and felt your back twinge? If you have then you have experienced muscles that are not prepared for bending!


  1. Stretching increases circulation, which means that your tired muscles get a fresh supply of oxygen and nutrients. Increasing the circulation in your body helps get rid of muscle waste and dead cells efficiently.


  1. Stretching serves as a natural pain reliever, especially when it is combined with other forms of physical activity. Movement is the best medicine for pain, regular movement, including stretching helps to lower the pain threshold by re-teaching the brain that movement is, in fact, good for you.


  1. Stretching reduces muscle tension and has been shown to increase serotonin levels, the hormone that helps to stabilize our mood, reduces stress, and makes us feel good, which in turn decreases depression and anxiety levels!


What stretches are good for the low back?

Stretching can help with pain relief but it can take some practice to be effective. Poor technique can also cause injuries. It is important when starting on any new exercise/stretching programme that you talk to a professional.  Here at Heale’s Clinics, our Chiropractors are happy to discuss whether a new exercise or stretching routine is appropriate for you and even give you adapted versions to suit your particular needs.

First and foremost, never stretch a muscle that is cold – that way leads to injury!  Always stretch after a warm-up that is at least 5-10 minutes long.

Here are three gentle stretching exercises that can be performed easily at home:-

Child’s pose

This stretch has a relaxing effect on the body and helps to loosen up tight low back muscles, promoting flexibility and increased blood circulation.

  • On all fours on the ground, sink back through hips to ret your bottom onto your heels
  • Hinge at the hips as you fold forwards, walking your hands out in front of you
  • Rest your tummy on your thighs
  • Extend the arms in front, with head down

Knee to chest

This stretch relaxes the hips, thighs and glutes while promoting overall relaxation.

  • Lie on your back with both knees bent and feet flat on the floor
  • Gently pull one knee up to your chest until you feel a stretch in the lower back
  • Gently lower that leg and repeat on the other side

Pelvic tilts

These build up strength in the stomach muscles, which helps relieve pain and tightness in the low back, as a bonus they also have a beneficial effect on the glutes and hamstrings.

  • Lie on your back with both knees bent and feet flat on the floor
  • Tighten your stomach muscles and push your back into the floor
  • Release this position and take a few deep breaths to relax before repeating

If you would like some further information or to speak to a member of our team please call us on: Hitchin 01462 420077 or Luton 01582 579687, alternatively e-mail us at: or