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5 Back and Neck Stretches to Do Every Day

man with neck pain

Most of us experience neck and back stiffness or pain at one time or another. The good news is that there are ways to get relief. Stretching your back and neck at regular intervals can help.

Here are five simple stretches to do throughout your day to help prevent and decrease neck and back pain. Please note that these stretches are for healthy people without existing back or neck conditions. They should not cause any pain when done correctly. Always consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

Stretches for Your Back

Trunk Rotation

  • Lying on your back, bend both knees, keeping your feet flat on the bed or the floor.
  • Move your knees slowly from side to side so that you feel a stretch in your torso.
  • Keep your shoulders in place and do not lift them up as your knees rotate.
  • Hold the stretch for 3 to 5 seconds in each direction. Repeat this stretch 10 to 15 times.

Slouch Overcorrect

  • Sit in a chair and allow yourself to slouch completely.
  • Relax for 2 to 3 seconds in this position and then draw yourself upright, accentuating the curve of your lower back as much as possible. This is the “extreme,” or exaggerated, version of the correct sitting posture.
  • Hold this position for 2 to 3 seconds and then return to the fully relaxed position.
  • Repeat this stretch 10 to 15 times.

Standing Lumbar Extension

  • Stand upright, close to a stable surface that you can use to steady yourself if needed.
  • Position your feet at least hips' width apart.
  • Support your lower back by placing your hands on the small of your back with fingertips pointing downward so that they meet in the center of your spine.
  • Slowly bend backwards at the waist as far as you comfortably can, using your hands to keep you steady and keeping your knees straight.
  • Hold this position for 1 to 2 seconds and then return to the starting position.
  • Repeat this stretch 10 times.

Stretches for Your Neck

Neck Retraction

  • This can be performed in a seated or standing position. Start by looking straight ahead and allowing yourself to relax.
  • Keep your chin tucked down slightly and move your head slowly backward until it is pulled back as far as you can without straining or feeling any pain.
  • Continue looking straight ahead, being careful not to tilt the head forward or backward while performing this stretch.
  • Maintain this position for 3 to 5 seconds and then return to the starting position.
  • Repeat this stretch 10 to 15 times.

Neck Rotation

  • This sretch can be performed in a seated or standing position. Starting by looking straight ahead and allowing yourself to relax.
  • Keep your chin tucked down slightly and move your head slowly backward until it is pulled back as far as you can without straining or feeling any pain.
  • Turn your head gently to the right, and then gently to the left. Remember not to strain your neck or push yourself to the point that you feel pain.
  • Hold the stretch for 2 to 3 seconds before moving your head to the opposite side.
  • Repeat this stretch 10 times in each direction, two times a day.

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