10 Best Stretches For Back & Neck Pain

Marcelle Pinheiro
About the author: Marcelle Pinheiro
Physiotherapist
June 2021

These ten stretching exercises are perfect for back and neck pain relief. They will also increase amplitude of movement, which will bring more pain relief and help the muscles to relax for longer periods of time. 

They can be done in the morning when you wake up, at work or whenever you need to. To improve the effectiveness of the stretch have a warm bath or shower as this helps to relax the muscles, increasing the effectiveness of the exercises.

How to stretch properly 

During the stretch, it’s normal to feel the muscle stretching, but it’s important not to force it too much, so your spine doesn’t get hurt. Keep to 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 as shown above, and keep your knees stretched. 

2. Sitting down leg stretch

Sit on the floor and bend one leg towards you. Then bend your body forward and stretch out the other leg. Try to touch your foot with your hand while keeping your knee stretched, as shown in the picture. If you can’t reach your foot, try to reach the middle of your leg or ankle. Then do the same 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. Heels 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 get the palms of your hands together, as shown in the picture. 

9. Back twist

Sit on the floor, put one hand on the floor near your bottom and tilt your core backwards. To help maintain this position, bend one of your legs and use it to support the arm, as the picture shows. Then repeat the same exercise with the other side of your body. 

10. Pyramid on the floor

With your legs wide apart, open your arms horizontally and bend your body forward. Support yourself by placing one hand in the center of the floor, and turn your body to the side, keeping the other hand stretched out. Then repeat on the other side.

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About the author:
Marcelle Pinheiro
Physiotherapist
Physiotherapist degree provided by the University of Estácio de Sá (Brazil). Licensed to practice under CREFITO #170751.