Back Stretches – Strengthening

PRESS UPS – Begin and end every set of exercises with a few press-ups.

    • Lie face down with hands at shoulders.
    • Prop yourself up on your elbows, keeping the lower half of your body relaxed. If it is comfortable rest on your elbows for 10 seconds – increase slowly to 30 seconds.
    • Keep hips pressed to the floor. Feel the stretch in your lower back.
    • Lower upper body to the floor. Repeat 3-10 times, slowly.
    • Stop if pain is increased or has moved towards the foot.
  1. PELVIC TILT – This exercise gently moves the spine and stretches the low back.
    • Lie on you back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. (use a small towel roll under the curve in your low back if this more comfortable.)
    • Slowly tighten your stomach muscles and press your lower back against the floor. Hold for 10 seconds (do not hold your breath). Slowly relax.
  2. TRUNK ROTATION – The trunk rotation exercise stretches the hips and the rotator muscles of the low and mid back.  Use caution with this exercise.  Rotation Stretches the ligaments that support your discs.  Start with a very small range. Move the knees side-to-side a few degrees. Slowly increase the range as tolerated.
    • Lie on your back with your knees bent
    • Slowly move both knees side to side
    • Feet should stay on the floor
    • Hips should come up off the floor to allow the low back to twist.
  1. KNEE TO CHEST The knee-to-chest exercise stretches the low back and hamstring muscles and relieves pressure on the bone facets, where the vertebrae come together.
    • Lie on your back with knees bent and feet close to the buttocks.
    • Bring one knee to your chest at a time, keeping the other foot flat on the floor, or the other leg straight, whichever feels better on your lower back. Hold for 5-10 seconds.
    • Relax, lower knees one at a time and return to starting position.
  2. Hamstring Stretch This stretches the muscles in the back of your thighs. Flexibility of these muscles allows you to bend your legs while keeping your back in a neutral position. Stop this exercise if it increases leg pain or if you feel a pull in your back. (You should feel a stretch along the back of your thighs, not in your back.)
    • Bring your knee to your chest.
    • Straighten leg until you feel a stretch along the back of your leg.
    • Support low back with a towel roll if this is more comfortable.
  3. When you can complete the stretches shown above you can try the standing stretches.

    Back Extension

Psoas  – Hip Flexor Stretching


  1. Side Bending is best demonstrated with a video


    More side bending videos and details of how this works
    Click here

    Shoulder Stretch Standing Hamstring Stretch Trunk Rotation

    Achiles Stretch

After two or three days of exercise:

  • Resume or begin  daily walks ( increase to 5-10 minutes three to four times a day)
  • Try swimming DO NOT DO ANY EXERCISES THAT INCREASE YOUR PAIN. Start with floating on your back (no more than 5 minutes your first time in the pool) Lap swimming or kicking with swim fins is often helpful to prevent back pain from recurring.

When your pain is gone slowly resume normal activities.  Continue to use caution with lifting, bending, sitting & sports for 6 – 8 weeks, after the pain is gone, to allow the back to heal.  If you have a regular exercise program begin easy exercises that do not increase your pain. Start with  2-5 repetitions twice a day and increase to 10 as you are able

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