10 Stretches For Back & Neck Pain

May 2022

These ten stretching exercises are ideal to relieve back and neck pain. They will also increase your range of motion, which will help the muscles to relax for longer periods of time and contribute to pain relief. 

These stretches can be done at any point of the day, but you should perform them frequently throughout the day. They are especially useful for those who work in sitting or in the same position all day. You should take a 5 minute pause to stretch every 2 hours.  

Stretching can also help with relaxing and better sleep at the end of the day. To boost potential, you can take a hot bath before stretching.

How to stretch properly 

During the stretch, it’s normal to feel the muscle becoming longer, but it’s important not to force it too much, so your spine doesn’t get hurt. Hold each position for 20-30 seconds, repeating the movement three times, or maintaining each position for a minute.

If you feel any pain or tingling, visit a physiotherapist, who will tell you the best treatment for your particular problem.

1. Forward bend

With your legs together, bend your body forward at the hips, as shown above, keeping your knees straight. 

2. Sitting down leg stretch

Sit on the floor and bend one leg towards you. Then stretch out the other leg in front of you bend your body forward. Try to touch your foot while keeping your leg stretched, as shown in the picture. If you can’t reach your foot, try to reach your shin or ankle. Repeat with the other leg. 

3. Floor reach

This one is similar to the first exercise, but it is more intense. In this exercise you bend forward and try and place your hands on the floor, without bending your knees. 

4. Neck stretch

Tilt your neck to the side, and use your hand to hold your head, thus encouraging the stretch. The other hand can be on your shoulder, or you can just relax it near the hips.

5. Backwards head tilt

Keep your shoulders aligned and look up, tilting your head back. If you like, you can place one of your hands on the nape of your head as this will make it more comfortable.

6. Downwards head tilt

With one hand on top of the other at the back of the head, tilt your head forward, and notice your back stretching. 

7. Heel sit

Kneel on the floor, and then place your buttocks on your heels, and bring your core down to the floor, keeping your hands stretched forward, as the picture shows. 

8. Hands on your back

Sitting with your legs bent, in butterfly position and keeping your back straight, try to touch your palms together behind your back, as shown in the picture. 

9. Back twist

Sit on the floor, with one leg on the floor and one knee bent up. Twist away from the bent knee, placing force on the bent knee with the elbow on the same side to deepen the stretch. Then repeat the same exercise with the other side of your body. 

10. Pyramid on the floor

Standing with your legs wide apart, reach your arms forward and then and bend your body forward to touch the ground. Support yourself by placing one hand in the center of the floor, and turn your body to the opposite side, keeping the other hand stretched out behind you. Then repeat on the other side.

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Edited by Tua Saude editing team in May 2022. Clinical review completed by Marcelle Pinheiro - Physiotherapist in May 2022.
Clinical review:
Marcelle Pinheiro
Physiotherapist
Physiotherapist degree provided by the University of Estácio de Sá (Brazil). Licensed to practice under CREFITO #170751.