These 7 One-Minute Stretching Exercises Will Help to Reduce Your Back Pain

Image of illustration indicating back pain.TipHero

Work in an office? Back pain. Carry your child around often? Back pain. Sleeping on an old mattress? Say it with us now: Back pain! It seems like everything these days can cause your back to hurt, amirite?

It seems that back pain is one of the most common aches, with some 31 million Americans experiencing low back pain at any given time, according to the American Chiropractic Association.

Additionally, experts estimate that as many as 80 percent of the population will likely experience a back problem at some point in their lives. Right now, low back pain is actually the leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the Global Burden of Disease 2010.

When most people experience back pain, they’ll either hit up their chiropractor or visit the spa for a relaxing massage. But these solutions can be costly. Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on back pain, according to Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

If you’re sick of burning a hole in your wallet or spending all your free time at a doctor’s office, don’t fret: There’s an easier, cheaper, and faster way to combat back pain—stretching exercises. They’re easy, painless, and can help strengthen your muscles to avoid future back pain.

The best part: They only take one minute or less each, and you don’t need any expensive equipment.

So the next time you’re hurting, try one of these four easy stretching positions for back relief. Follow along in the moving photos at Brightside:

Stretches to strengthen your back

Stretch #1:

  • Lay down on your back with your knees up, arms horizontal.
  • Move your head towards the right while you move your knees overs to the left.
  • Pause for a 30 seconds and switch to the opposite side, keeping your knees and head opposite each other.
  • Keep your shoulders pressed to the ground as you move to each side. Your spine should feel glorious at this point.

Stretch #2:

  • Lay down on your back with your arms to your sides.
  • Stretch your right leg out while bending in your left one towards your chest.
  • Tilt your left knee that’s bent outward as you tilt your head inward.
  • Keep your shoulders pressed to the ground as you move. Mm how good does that feel?

Stretch #3:

  • Lay on your back and put your hands behind your head.
  • Tilt one knee up as you move your opposite elbow to that knee.
  • Repeat on the opposite side. You should be motioning a bicycle movement. Bonus: You’ll feel this not only in your back, but your core as well.

Stretch #4:

  • Get into a position on all fours, where your palms and knees are on the floor.
  • Arch your back and breathe in deeply.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds.

Stretch #5:

  • Get into that same position on all fours, where your palms and knees are on the floor.
  • As you arch your back and breathe in, lift one knee to your chest, as if you’re trying to to touch your forehead.
  • Straighten that leg as you keep your position parallel to the floor. 
  • Repeat on opposite leg.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds. This is a somewhat advanced move of Stretch #4.

Stretch #6:

  • Lay on your back.
  • Push your pelvis to the floor and breathe.
  • Exhale and lift your rib cage as if you’re doing a crunch. Again, you should feel this in both your abs and back.

Stretch #7:

  • Lay on your back with your arms parallel to your legs.
  • Draw one knee in and then out, straightening it.
  • As your straighten that one leg, bring your other knee in.
  • Repeat as if you’re cycling. This is similar to Stretch #3, except your arms are by your side.

What are your tried-and-true ways to combat back pain? Are you going to try one of these back pain-relieving stretches? Tell us about your experience.