According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 58 percent of all adults in the United States experience some form of back pain on a regular basis. There are different types of back pain that can stem from myriad conditions, but a common one is spine problems.

The good news is that there are some effective ways to alleviate both the symptoms and the causes of severe back pain. Below are nine spinal decompression stretches that can help. Keep reading to find out different options to try to see which is best for your condition. 

1. Prone Pillow Stretch

You can perform this exercise using the edge of your bed or a table in your home. It also requires the use of a pillow.

First, lie on top of the pillow, face down, with your arms and head hanging off the edge of the bed or table. The pillow should be positioned between the surface and your pelvic region. 

To perform the stretch, reach your arms and head downwards towards the floor and hold it for at least 30 seconds. While doing so, take in deep, long breaths. Take a one-minute break between exercises, but repeat for approximately 20 minutes total. 

This exercise helps the lower back decompress. If the stretching sensation is not as pronounced as you would like, try adding a pillow. 

2. Side-Lying Stretch

This lower-back decompression technique involves lying on your side. You should be near and facing the edge of a bed, table, or sofa. Place your legs together, slightly bent at the knees. 

Next, drop your lower legs off the edge toward the floor and hold them there for approximately 30 seconds. You should feel a stretching in your lower back. Take a 30-second break, then repeat for another 15 minutes.

3. Overhead Stretch

This stretch does not require any equipment or furniture, so you can perform it anywhere. Stand on level ground with your legs shoulder-width apart. Join your hands above your head with your fingers interlaced. 

Intermittently reach up towards the ceiling, then bend at the waist towards the side. Hold each for approximately 30 seconds. Repeat five or six times as needed.

4. Child’s Pose Stretch

This stretch is similar to the yoga “child’s pose.” Starting by getting on the floor on all fours. Place your hands shoulder-width apart as if you were getting ready to do a push-up. 

Then, move your body backward so that your glutes touch the heels of your feet. Bending at your hips, reach back as far as is comfortable. The further you can go, the more it will stretch your lower back. 

Hold the stretch for approximately 30 seconds, then move back into the “child’s pose” position. Repeat several times if needed. 

5. Downward-Facing Dog Stretch

Another popular yoga position is the downward-facing dog, and it is fantastic for stretching back muscles. Like with the child’s pose, start on your hands and knees. Then, lift your knees to begin straightening your legs while your hands remain flat on the floor (with fingers wide) and your arms straight. 

Try to distribute your weight as evenly as possible without too much on your feet or hands. Hold the position for up to a minute, then repeat. 

6. Cat and Camel Stretch

From the same position as #5, you can perform this stretch. Once again, get all fours on the ground and position your hands shoulder-width apart. 

Next, arch your back downwards by pushing your stomach toward the ground. Rolling your head upwards helps accentuate the stretch. This is the “cat” position.

Now, push your back upwards towards the ceiling while rolling your head underneath. Due to the hump-like postures this creates, this is known as the “camel” position. 

You only need to hold each posture for about five seconds, then alternate to the other one. Complete about 15 or 20 full repetitions before resting.  

7. Supine Stretch

This is one of the easiest yet most effective stretches you can do to relieve back pain. Lie on your back with your knees bent and up in the air and your hands placed behind your head. Place your feet a little wider than your hips. 

Keeping your back flat on the floor, rotate your hips to the right or left, lowering your legs to the floor. Hold them there for about 15 seconds before returning to the starting position. 

Next, move your legs in the other direction, holding them in that position as well. You can repeat the stretch as many times as you like, but at least 10 repetitions should be enough to decompress the spine

8. Knee and Hamstring Stretches

These two spinal decompression stretches for back pain can be done from the same position as the supine stretch: lying flat on your back with your knees bent. For the knee stretch, interlace your fingers around one shin or thigh. 

Gently pull your knee towards you until it touches your chest (or as far as is comfortable). Hold this position for 30 seconds to a minute, then do the other leg. Repeat the entire sequence at least five times. 

The hamstring stretch is very similar, except that you keep your leg straight. Once again, pull your leg as close to you as is comfortable, and hold it there for 30 seconds to one minute. Then, do the other side and repeat the entire sequence at least five times.   

9. Bar Hangs

If you have a chin-up bar in either your home or gym, then this easy exercise is great for spinal decompression. First, simply hang from the bar with your hangs should-width apart. 

Then, relax your muscles as much as possible while still holding on. Your natural weight will release tension in your back. Retain this position for 30 seconds, then repeat five or six times. 

Learn More About Spinal Decompression Stretches

Now that you understand some of the basic spinal decompression stretches used to alleviate back pain, you can get started. A professional chiropractor can further advise you on spinal decompression exercises that can help you eliminate pain and keep it from coming back. 

At The Spine Center, we offer effective chiropractic care to meet the unique needs of each patient. We leverage extensive experience as well as innovative methods and technologies to diagnose and individualized plans for treating back pain. Reach out to us to schedule a free consultation today. 

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