Nearly all of us will experience back or neck pain at some point in our lives. It may be chronic. It may be temporary. But, many of us will all fall victim to some form of back and neck pain no matter our job, sleeping position, or level of exercise. This pain can ruin our day. It can distract us from regular activities, whether at work or at play. It is a nuisance that none of us want to experience.
Methods of getting rid of back pain include correcting diets and gym exercises. While those two things can be effective, they can also be expensive and time consuming. Some of us don’t have access to healthy food or a gym membership. When we do have access to those things, we may find ourselves incapable of performing necessary exercises. These methods are out of the question for us. Thankfully, all of us do have the ability and easy access to stretch. It’s something we are all physically capable of doing. And, the only equipment we need is our bodies and the ground.
Here are ten easy stretches you can do for neck and back pain.
- Behind The Back Neck Stretch
Let’s start with a stretch that targets both your neck and your back. The behind the back neck stretch is very simple and is great for stretching the sides of your neck in addition to your shoulders and upper back. Just stand with your feet hip distance apart—that is only about six inches if you aren’t sure. Reach both of your hands behind your lower back, grabbing your right wrist with your left hand. Pull slightly as you lower your left ear to your shoulder. Hold for about 30 seconds before you perform the stretch on the other side.
- Child’s Pose
Child’s pose is a resting yoga pose that is great for relaxing the spine and stretching your neck and back. To perform this pose, get on your hands and knees. Spread your knees just wider than your hips while your big toes touch each other. As you sit your hips down into the pose, stretch your arms out and rest your head on the ground. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat it three times. This stretch is perfect for a post workout routine.
- Grounded Tipover Tuck
This is a great stretch to do right after you do child’s pose, primarily because you should already be close to that position. When you are finished with child’s pose, interlace your fingers behind your back and press your palms together. Lift your hands as high as possible. As you shift your weight forward, lift your hips off your heels, making almost a right angle with your legs. Hold for ten seconds and lower for tend seconds. Repeat at least five times before resting back into child’s pose. This exercise is great for your neck and back in addition to helping out with some headaches.
- Yoga Cat/Cow
For this next ground stretch, come back to all fours. Place your hands directly under your shoulders, creating a straight line with your arm from your shoulder to the ground. Make sure your knees are placed directly under your hips, as your torso remains parallel to the floor. As you exhale, curve your spine as though you were imitating the shape of a cow. Inhale to curl your spine up as if to imitate a cat. Hold each position for 5-10 seconds, repeating for at least 10 repetitions for maximum benefits. This common yoga exercise helps loosen your spine which may be causing you pain.
- Cobra Stretch
To perform this yoga stretch which mostly targets your lower back, lie down flat on your stomach with your legs extended behind you. Place your hands just beside your pectorals. While keeping your hips on the ground, slowly push your upper body off the ground. Push into this pose as far as you can without feeling tension and hold for ten seconds. Repeat as much as you feel comfortable. This exercise is great for your lower back and abdominal muscles.
- Knee To Chest
Much like the cobra stretch, the knee to chest stretch is very simple yet very beneficial. Lie on your back, pointing your toes upwards. As you slowly bend one knee to pull in to your chest, wrap your around your shin. Still lying flat on your back, pull your knee into your chest. Hold this post for 20 seconds and switch to the other side. Repeat this about three times for each leg. This stretch is very useful for lower back pain.
- Lying Knee Twist
Another useful stretch you can do while lying on your back is the lying knee twist. Still lying on your back with your legs extended, bend your right knee to your chest. As you cross it over to your left, hold your right knee with your left hand. Try to get your shoulder blades on the ground and gaze to your right. Hold for about 20 seconds and switch to the other side. Repeat this stretch about three times on each side. This exercise a great, detoxifying stretch for your spine and releases tension in your lower/ middle back.
- Piriformis Seated Stretch
This is stretch is called the piriformis seated stretch because it stretches your piriformis, a muscle located in the buttocks. However, it is great for your lower back and spine as well. As you sit on the ground with a straight back, place your left leg over your right leg, positioning your foot next to your thigh as you tuck your right foot towards your buttocks. Position your right elbow on your knee and slowly twist. Keep your chest lifted and back straightened to avoid any unnecessary strain. Hold for 20 seconds before switching to the opposite side. This stretch is great for those of us that experience sciatica pain.
- Seated Neck Release
A great, sitting stretch that targets your neck is the seated neck release. Sit on the floor with your legs in a cross legged position. Tilt your head to the left using your left hand. As you apply gentle pressure with your hand, make sure your torso and the rest of your spine stays straight. Doing this will isolate the stretch on the side of your neck. Hold for about 30 seconds before switching sides. This stretch is very useful for your upper spine and neck pain.
- Seated Clasping Neck
While still sitting in a cross-legged position, clasp your hands to the back of your head. Make sure your spine is straight and you are sitting up tall. Tuck your chin into your chest by pressing your hand into your neck and towards your thighs. Create length in your neck by pulling your head away from your shoulders. Hold in this position for 30 seconds before lifting your head back up.
These stretches are accessible to everyone and are very useful. Though some of us may not have the money for a gym membership, we can still perform these exercises to alleviate some of our back pain. As we do so, we will see an improvement in our back pain and spinal health. So, the next time you sleep in an odd position and wake up with a terrible pain in your back or neck, don’t fret! Do these ten easy stretches for back and neck pain!