Stretching and back pain relief

For some people who experience back pain, stretching can be a helpful way to manage symptoms and help with range of motion. Others may avoid stretching if their pain is too great, out of fear of worsening the condition. Speak with your doctor if you have any concerns about starting a stretching program.

Proper stretching techniques have proven benefits for most people who have neck and back pain. Stretching promotes flexibility in the soft tissues of the spine, which is essential to keeping the spine healthy and in good working order.

Use proper stretching technique

A good stretching routine can offer relief for conditions such as sciatica, neck pain and bulging disc pain. When beginning to work stretching into your treatment plan, it is important to keep in mind that not just any stretches will help those who have back pain. Like other physical activities, proper technique is essential to seeing results and preventing injury.

When stretching properly, the sensation should be gentle and relaxing. You may not be able to stretch very far before the sensation intensifies past your comfort zone, and that’s okay. Over time, your tendons, ligaments and muscles will become more limber, allowing you to deepen your stretches without pain.

Be consistent

If you are experiencing back pain caused by herniated discs, arthritis of the spine or other similar conditions, your stretching routine will likely focus mostly on the neck and spine. In this case, an important element of the stretching program will be to make sure to stretch your neck and back muscles in proper order. Your vertebrae, as well as the soft tissues that support them, are connected to each other in a specific way. A good rule of thumb is to begin your stretching routine with your neck and work your way down. As you stretch each progressive group of muscles, you’ll benefit from the muscles you’ve already stretched along the way.

As you stretch, be careful not to bounce. Hold each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds, and breathe deeply as you hold the pose. Try to remain focused and peaceful; avoid distractions and rushing as much as possible.

Resources for good stretching

There are a number of websites and books that teach specific stretching techniques for neck and back pain. However, there is no better source than a trained professional with back pain experience. Your doctor should be able to recommend a physical therapist who can teach you proper stretching techniques. Monitor your body’s reactions carefully, and stop and seek immediate medical attention if you believe you are injured.

For patients dealing with back pain related to a spine condition, conservative options like stretching can provide lasting relief, but surgery may become an option after weeks and months if pain persists. To learn more about treatment for back pain related to a spine condition, including our minimally invasive spine surgery, contact the dedicated team at Laser Spine Institute.

We are happy to provide a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.