Back stretches 

Back pain is a very common condition, affecting about 80% of people at some point in their lives. A physiotherapist demonstrates some simple back stretches to help prevent aches and pains.

Learn more about back pain

Transcript of Back stretches

One of the problems we have in society today is that we're too sedentary.

We don't move enough.

So it's important that you get into a habit of moving.

You can do specific exercises or some general movements of your spine,

backwards, to the side, twisting round either side.

Just get into a regime of movement.

Here are a number of exercises that will help promote a healthy back.

The kneeling stretch exercise is quite good as a warm-up exercise

because it introduces nice gentle movement to the spine

before you start getting into the more stretchy exercises.

What we need to do is you start on your hands and knees.

You just need to bring your knees back underneath your hips. OK?

That's the starting position.

You're going to keep your hands still.

What I want you to do is sit back on your heels,

Go back on your heels. When you get to that point, drop your head down

so you get that stretch through your spine,

and then come back to the starting position.

OK. Now just do that five times.

So just go back onto your heels.

When you get to that point, drop your head down.

Come back up, lift your head up. That's it.

OK. So again, five times.

Looking at a nice relaxed movement to loosen up your back.

OK, good.

The back extension exercise is great

because we don't introduce that movement into our lifestyle on a daily basis,

so it's good to give you that change of posture and change of movement.

What you want to do is your hips stay flat on the bed now.

You're going to push on your hands, lift your head and shoulders off the bed.

So you arch your back and straighten your elbows

so that you feel that stretch in the low part of your back.

And then down. Again you're going to do that five times. OK?

That's it. Good.

The knees to the chest exercise

is good for stretching out the back into that bent flex position

to stretch the ligaments and the muscles.

If you bend your knees up so your feet are flat on the bed. OK?

Bring your knees towards your chest, get your hands below your knees,

squeeze your knees into your chest

so you roll your hips off the floor

so you feel that stretch in the low part of your back.

You hold that for the count of five.

And then release.

Again you're going to do that five times.

Get your hands on your knees, squeeze your knees into your chest

so you roll your hips off the floor.

Take yourself to the point

where you feel that stretch and discomfort in the low part of your back.

And then down. OK?

The knee rotation one is all about movement, really,

trying to introduce some sort of movement generally into the spine,

the middle part of your back and low part of your back.

It's all about movement.

So put your feet together, knees together.

Rest your hands on your chest.

Take your elbows and arms out to the side.

You're going to keep your shoulders and arms flat on the bed all the time.

Take your knees down to the left and then right.

So you're just going to oscillate between the left and the right

so you produce that nice relaxed movement of your spine.

You're going to do that five times either side. OK?

The Superman exercise is all about toning up the muscles

that are there to keep your spine stable.

So you're making yourself unstable to stimulate the stability muscles to work.

What I want you to do is take your leg out straight, backwards and upwards,

but to the point where you're keeping your pelvis still.

Now your right arm.

By doing that, what we're doing is we've made you slightly unstable

and your muscles are having to work to maintain your stability.

You hold that position for six seconds and then relax.

Now let's change sides, so right leg and then left arm.

Again make sure that you're keeping your spine still and flat.

That's it. Good. Count to six.

You're going to do that five times either side.

The bridging exercise is all about toning up muscles of the lower spine

and the hips and the pelvis

so that you create that stability again by instability.

So what I want you to do now is lift your hips off the bed

to the point where you get your hips in line with your knees.

You maintain that position.

What you can see yourself doing now, you're slightly trembling

because you're having to make the muscles work

to maintain that control of your pelvis and hips.

It's important that you get into a regime of exercise.

That can be anything from swimming, cycling,

yoga, Pilates, just exercise.

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