Sitting down all day, driving too much, picking up something that8217;s too heavy, general age-related weariness8230; there are plenty of reasons why your back might not be feeling its best. This 5-minute video walks you through a series of simple stretches you can do to to ease back pain, in real time, and without any equipment. It8217;s designed to tackle general back pain or stiffness in your back, and has racked up 19K likes on YouTube, which is reassuring.
While you don8217;t need any specific equipment for this stretching routine, you might find it comfortable to lie on a mat – our best yoga mats guide has plenty of tried and tested recommendations – and perhaps stick a pillow under your head. Alternatively, you can do them lying on your bed if that8217;s comfortable for you.
This sequence starts with a dog dressed as a unicorn, but don8217;t let that put you off. The teacher, Jo of AskDoctorJo, is a physical therapist, so she knows what she8217;s talking about (although, of course, for continued or significant pain you should consult your own doctor). As with any stretch, it should feel like a stretch but it should never be painful.
Here8217;s a quick run-through of the different stretches for back pain that are included in this routine. Each stretch is held for 30 seconds and repeated twice, with legs / arms alternated where relevant.
- Seated or reclined pelvic tilts – to warm up
- Reclined knee to chest stretch – to ease tightness in hips
- Reclined twists – trunk rotation to open up the back
- Seated side stretch – to stretch and loosen up the QL (quadratus lumborum) area
- Child8217;s pose – stretches a little bit of everything
- Cat-cow – to stretch the whole spine (don8217;t hold these for 30 seconds) and relax the body
Five minutes is short enough to fit into pretty much any day, but if you have more time, you8217;ll see more effective results if you take a little longer over this. Jo says the gold standard is to hold each stretch for 30 seconds, and do each three times. However, if you8217;re short on time, you8217;re best off still holding each stretch for 30 seconds, but lowering the number of reps.