How to stretch back muscles

How to stretch back muscles - main  image

Have you ever wondered what the key to a healthy back is?

Do you want to relieve pain throughout your body, such as low back pain and pain in your shoulder blades, making daily life easier and avoiding a trip to the physical therapist? Keep reading to find out some stretches and exercises that will help provide relief for your muscles, spine, and even your knees.

Child’s pose

Child's pose stretching

Let’s start these back stretches with a nice, comfortable stretch that will help reduce pain in a tight lower back. This is a good exercise as it helps loosen the muscles around your spine, providing pain relief.

Starting position: kneel on your yoga mat.
Keep your knees bent as you stretch both arms over your head and lean forward so that your chest is level with the mat.

Cat cow

Cat cow pose

Here’s another back stretch that will also help relieve tension in your neck as well as back pain.

Starting position: On your hands and knees, in a tabletop position. This is also known as ‘neutral position’.

Slowly bring your spine into a ‘C’ shape, pushing up. Return to neutral, then reverse the stretch and push down with your abdominal muscles, bringing your shoulders together.

Levator scapula stretch

Stretches your cervical spine (neck), making it a great exercise for neck pain.
Starting position: sitting up straight on a flat surface with your head forward.

Slowly lift your right arm forwards and bring it to your right shoulder. Gently pull down. Look at the top of your left arm and tilt your head down. Bring the left hand to the back of your head to deepen the stretch. Return to the starting point and then repeat on the opposite direction.

Piriformis stretch

Great for tight hips and lower back pain. Stretch one knee at a time.
Starting position: lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor, and both knees bent. Keep your feet shoulder width apart. You can use a rolled-up towel as a pillow if necessary.

Use one arm to bring the right knee to the left side of your chest. After you’ve brought the knee to chest, repeat this with the opposite side and the other leg, bringing your left knee toward you.

There are also other stretches to stretch your piriformis, like taking the ankle of one leg and resting it on the ankle of the opposite leg. For example, lie on your back and take your right ankle and cross it over your left ankle. Then take your left thigh and gently pull it towards your body. This knee-to-chest stretch is one of those back exercises you might not always think of, but it provides an excellent pelvic tilt which can help stop pain when you lie with your legs extended.


Altogether, these stretches will help form part of an effective physical therapy program which will support the relief of neck and back pain. Whichever stretch you prefer will depend on which part of your back hurts, so make sure to listen to your body.


How can I support my physical therapy program?

Remember, regular stretching helps keep your muscles loose and gentle stretching ensures you don’t overextend them.

Are there any more stretches?

Yes, loads! To start with, check out a supine twist.

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