10 Stretches to Get Rid of a Stiff Back

10 Stretches to Get Rid of a Stiff Back

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Incorporate a variety of stretches into your daily routine to relieve back stiffness.

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Back stiffness can put a damper on your daily schedule, making it difficult to exercise, complete household chores or even get out of bed. Include a variety of stretches into your daily routine to relieve this stiffness and get you back on track to fitness and your daily routine.

Target Your Erector Spinae

Your erector spinae muscles run along either side of your spine from your sacrum to your skull. One way to stretch these muscles is by performing the cat movement stretch. Place yourself on your hands and knees on the floor. Drop your chin to your chest and round your entire back toward the ceiling. Reverse the movement by tilting your head back while arching your entire back. Alternate between the two movements 10 to 15 times. You can also stretch your erector spinae muscles with the lying lower back stretch. Lie face up on the floor. Bend your knees, place your hands on the back of your thighs and pull your thighs toward your chest, letting your hips lift off the floor. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. A third way stretch for the erector spinae is the squatting lower back stretch. Grasp a fixed or heavy object in front of you at hip height. While holding the object with your hands, step back two to three feet. Bend your knees and lower your butt as far toward the floor as you can, continuing to hold the object as you do so. Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds.

Use Yoga Moves to Add Flexibility

Many yoga moves can help relieve back stiffness. Three you may want to add to your stretching routine are child's pose, downward dog and cobra. To perform child's pose, start on your hands and knees. Keep your hands on the floor and sit back on your heels, lowering your face and torso toward the floor. For downward dog, start on your hands and toes as if getting ready to do a pushup. Without moving your hands, push your butt toward the ceiling and lower your heels toward the floor. Begin the cobra pose by lying face down on the floor. Bend your elbows and place your hands directly under your shoulders. Slowly straighten your arms and push your torso up, stopping when you feel a stretch in your abs, hips and back. Hold all poses for 20 to 30 seconds.

Add Hip and Glute Stretches for the Lower Back

Because your glute and hamstring muscles attach to your pelvis, tightness in these muscles can lead to lower back stiffness. Stretch your glutes by lying face up with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your right ankle on your left knee, lift your left foot off the ground and pull your left leg toward your chest. Stay face up to stretch your hamstrings. Straighten your right leg on the ground. Grab your left leg at the back of your thigh. Pull your left knee toward your chest. Maintain pressure with your hands and try to straighten your left leg. Hold both stretches for 20 to 30 seconds before switching sides.

Add Chest and Rhomboid Stretches for the Upper Back

If your upper back is an area of concern, stretch your chest and rhomboid muscles, which both attach to your scapula. To stretch your chest, place both hands behind your head with your elbows out to your sides. Squeeze your elbows back and hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Stretch your rhomboids by hugging yourself across your chest. Place each hand on the back of the opposite shoulder and pull your shoulders forward, holding for 20 to 30 seconds.