Stretch it out: 5 exercises to relieve back pain

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Stretching can help reduce back and neck pain.

After a long shift spent sitting in the driver’s seat, back and neck muscles can tense up. But, there is help.

The North American Spine Society recommends several exercises for stretching and improving flexibility. These five stretches can help work out back and neck muscles, relieving them of pain and helping to minimize future flare ups.

Remember to check with your physician before beginning any new workout regimen.

Neck Stretches

Nod your head slowly forward, bringing your chin toward your chest. Repeat five times. Turn your head from side to side very slowly until you can align your chin with your shoulder. Repeat five times. Tilt your head slowly from side to side, bringing your ear over your shoulder.

Shoulder Rolls

Roll your shoulders forward, then backward in a circle. Do this for 10-15 seconds to start. Begin with little circles and progress to larger circles. Do this several times during the day to relieve tension.

Frontal Core Stretch

Stand with your feet hip width apart and tighten your abdominal muscles. Shift your hips to the right while reaching overhead with your right arm. Repeat, shifting your hips to the left while reaching with your left arm. Repeat 10 times, alternating sides.

Backward Bending

Stand up, placing hands on the top of buttocks, just below the waist. Keep your feet shoulder width apart with your toes turned slightly out. Bend your head, then shoulders, then back backward, letting hips go slightly forward for balance. Slowly return to standing. Repeat 10 times.

Press Up

Lie on your stomach, placing hands on the ground under your shoulders. Push up, attempting to straighten your elbows, so your back arches gently while your hips and legs remain on the ground. Don’t use your back muscles; your arms should support you, so you feel the stretch in your chest and stomach. Hold, then slowly lower yourself. Repeat 10 times.

View more exercises recommended by the North American Spine Society here.