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Banish Back Pain

After the common cold, back pain is the second leading reason that Canadians visit doctors. But, with a little work you can bust back pain without a trip to the clinic. 

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Simple stretches can soothe your aching back.

Following a stretching routine can keep tendons, ligaments, and joints limber and help relieve muscle tension and arthritis pain. The following stretches target the postural muscles to help relieve muscle pain, and improve your range of motion.




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Knee Hug

Target: lower back

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.


Exhale as you use your abs and hips to pull your knees toward your chest. Place your arms behind your knees with your palms on your elbows. Use your arms to pull your knees closer to your chest.


Hold for two to three seconds, then release your legs, lowering your feet slowly to the floor. Repeat.


To increase this stretch, raise your chin to your knees as you hug your knees to your chest.



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Cobra (Press Ups)

Target: abs and lower back

Lie facedown on the floor with your hands near your shoulders, palms against the floor.


Exhale as you start to straighten your arms to raise your upper body, keeping your elbows tucked close to your sides. Keep your hips and lower body relaxed and on the floor.


Stop when you begin to feel a stretch in your lower back or waist. Hold for two seconds before lowering yourself to the original position. Repeat.




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Side Twist

Target: entire side-muscle groups, from outer thighs and hips to upper back

Lie on your back, your arms out to the sides, your knees bent, and your feet flat on the floor.


Exhale as you lower both legs slowly to the left, keeping your knees together and bent. With your left hand, gently press down on your right leg until you feel a strong stretch along your right side.


Inhale as you raise your legs toward center. Repeat for two to four reps, then switch sides.

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Side Twist

To intensify this stretch, bring your upper leg slightly forward as you lower your legs to the side.


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Cat’s Back

Target: upper and lower back and spine

Rest on your hands and knees, keeping your back flat.


Exhale as you curl your back upward and lower your head until you’re looking at your abdomen. Hold for a moment.


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Cat’s Back

Inhale as you lower your back slowly until it is arced as far as comfortable, raising your head so you’re looking up toward the ceiling. Repeat.