Our 5 Favorite Stretches for Mid-Back Pain
If you’re experiencing back stiffness or discomfort, some simple stretches for mid-back pain can make a real difference. Loosening up the mid-back area, which can easily become stiff through daily activities and even lack of movement, is easy to implement.
Causes of Mid-Back Pain and Benefits of Stretching
When you stretch, you release built-up tension and stress that you tend to store in your back. Just sitting at a desk all day and working on a computer or driving for hours can have your back in knots by the end of your workday. Add to that poor posture and weak abdominal muscles, and you have a recipe for back pain. What’s the fix? Besides lifting weights to strengthen your back and core, stretching is a great way to relieve pain.
Regular stretching sessions can help you loosen up tight and overworked muscles throughout your back, neck, shoulders, hips, and hamstrings and can also help you avoid further pain or even injury.
How to Do Mid-Back Stretches
Start slowly—it’s important to ease into your stretches and not push yourself too far too quickly. Your body has spent a long time tightening down, and it will take some time to get it to relax again.
Don’t bounce—bouncing to increase your stretching ability can do more harm than good. Instead, slowly increase your range of motion over time. Hold the stretch for 20 – 30 seconds with gentle tension on the muscle. Over time, you’ll be able to move farther and more easily, but take it slowly.
Do your stretches often—the more often you stretch, the faster you’ll feel better and become more flexible. Try doing your stretches for mid-back pain after your workouts three to four days a week.
Try These Favorite Stretches for Mid-Back Pain
These five stretches for mid-back pain should become staples in your exercise regimen. They are easy to do just about anywhere at any time, but for best results, do them once you’re fully warmed up.
1. Child’s Pose
This pose will help relieve your mid back of stress. Start by kneeling on a mat. Your knees can be slightly farther apart than knee-width for the best stretch. Sit back on your hips and bend your upper body forward, placing your arms as far forward as you comfortably can. Your head should rest easily between your shoulders. Let your back stretch out and relax. Hold this pose for 20 seconds and then return to the sitting position.
2. Thread the Needle Stretch
This stretch will really sort out any tightness in your mid-back region. Also a yoga pose, this gentle stretch is very effective. Start as you did with Child’s Pose, on your hands and knees, with palms flat on the ground, shoulder-width apart. Take your right arm and bring it under your chest and across to your left, bringing your face and right shoulder down close to the mat. Let your left hand move as far forward as you can as you feel a good stretch through your mid-back. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds. Bring your right back to the starting position and repeat the sequence on the left side.
3. Seated Twists
Begin by sitting on a mat with your knees bent and your legs crossed in front of you. Take your right arm and bring it all the way around behind you as far as you can. Twist your torso as you do this and allow yourself to feel a good stretch through your mid back. Sit up straight and allow your head to naturally follow the path of your right shoulder. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds and then return to the beginning position. Repeat on the opposite side.
4. Cat-Cow Stretch
This is a stretch you have probably seen your pets repeatedly do, and with good reason. This will help to loosen up the mid-back area. Start on your hands and knees on a mat. Your palms should line up with your shoulders. Next, drop your head down and let it hang comfortably between your shoulders as your arch your back as high as you can. Then move your midsection in the completely opposite direction by pushing your stomach and chest toward the ground, arching your back, and bringing your head up high. Repeat both parts of this stretch five times.
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5. Hanging Hamstring Stretch
This stretch will help release tight hamstrings, which are often the culprit when it comes to having a tight back and mid-back pain. Simply stand with your feet about hip-width apart. Fold over at the hips and let your arms float down in front of you. If you are flexible enough to touch the ground, that’s great; otherwise, fold your arms and let yourself hang for 30 seconds. Keep your legs straight so you can get a good stretch through the hamstrings.