Stretches to ease back fatigue

The following exercises should cause you to feel a gentle stretch, but no pain.

Overhead stretch

Picture of a standing overhead stretch to ease back fatigue
  1. Stand comfortably with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Looking straight ahead, raise both arms over your head and reach toward the ceiling. Do not allow your head to tilt back.
  3. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, then lower your arms to your sides.
  4. Repeat 2 to 4 times.

Side stretch

Picture of standing side stretch to ease back pain
  1. Stand comfortably with your feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Raise one arm over your head, then lean to the other side. Slide your hand down your leg as you allow the weight of your arm to gently stretch your side muscles.
  3. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat 2 to 4 times to each side.

Press-up

Picture of press-up stretch to ease back pain
  1. Lie on your stomach, supporting your body with your forearms.
  2. Press your elbows down into the floor to raise your upper back. As you do this, relax your stomach muscles and allow your back to arch without using your back muscles. As your press up, do not let your hips or pelvis come off the floor.
  3. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, then relax.
  4. Repeat 2 to 4 times.

Relax and rest

Picture of relax and rest position to ease back fatigue
  1. Lie on your back with a rolled towel under your neck and a pillow under your knees. Extend your arms comfortably to your sides.
  2. Relax and breathe normally.
  3. Remain in this position for about 10 minutes.
  4. If you can, do this two or three times each day.

Last Updated: June 8, 2009

Author: Shannon Erstad, MBA/MPH

Medical Review: William M. Green, MD - Emergency Medicine & David A. Fleckenstein, MPT - Physical Therapy

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