I’ve been dealing with an achy neck and back for quite some time thanks to a car wreck back in the day. I absolutely hate taking medicine (pain relievers and muscle relaxers), thus I’ve tried dealing with this naturally – chiropractor, massage, physical therapy, stretching, strength training and cardio. Unfortunately, none of it has helped long-term. My neck and back loosen up for the moment but quickly stiffens thereafter. Need I say it’s quite frustrating being in discomfort daily, non-stop. While I’m able to deal most days, some days it’s just too much. Recently, I’ve attempted basic yoga to help strengthen and relax the muscles but even yoga hasn’t helped long-term.
I located some simple exercises that can be done sitting or standing while web surfing remedies for strained back muscles. At first glance, I dismissed the exercises as I felt I’ve tried just about everything but nothing has helped / is helping. After studying the exercises a little longer, I decided to give them a try.
From start to finish it took about 10 – 15 minutes to complete. By the time I was done, the tightness / soreness in my back reduced immediately to being about 95% pain-free. I honestly felt it was a fluke. I continued throughout my day doing this exercise repetition every 2 hours as a non-smokers smoke break. By the evening of day 1, I felt about 98% pain-free.
I have been doing these exercises for a couple of days now and my back remains with diminished pain ranging from 95-98% pain-free. Stretching several times daily is really working well for my back. If this is what it takes to have loose, pain-free muscles, then I’ll do it! Count me in.
While you might not have been in a car accident like I have, you might have a job that keeps you tense or sitting for long periods which could lead to hunched shoulders or slumped posture. Completing these exercises is easy and I find them very soothing to my stress levels. My back and my stress levels are thanking me each and every day.
Ok so you know I’m not a doctor, right? I’m simply sharing how I significantly reduced back discomfort seemingly overnight. As with anything — use care when performing physical activity and/or seek physician recommendation before starting / stopping a workout regimen.
Seated Stretch for the Back, Neck & Shoulders
(most can also be done standing)
Roll the shoulders in small circles working up to larger circles. Do 10 circles forward and repeat backwards.
Contract the abs, lean to the floor and reach with fingertips to stretch the back. Hold for 10-30 seconds.
Wide Back and Shoulder Stretch
Spread feet wide, wrap arms around calves, gently pull upwards to stretch upper back. Hold for 10-30 seconds.
Forearm and Bicep Stretch
Extend arm with fingers pointing upward, flex fingers toward body with the help of the other hand. Hold for 10-20 seconds and repeat on the other hand.
Extend arm with fingers pointing downward, flex fingers toward body with the help of the other hand. Hold for 10-20 seconds and repeat on the other hand.
Dynamic Neck Stretch
With one toward the floor and the other hand on top of the head, stretch and press head and neck into hand above hand. Do 10 reps then switch side.
Twisted Shoulder Stretch
Extend arms outward, cross the arms so that the palms are also facing together, lean forward and relax the neck to stretch back. Hold the stretch for 10-30 seconds.
Hold a band over the head making sure to take the arms back just a bit as you lower them down while stretching the chest. Hold for 10-30 seconds.
Gently twist torso with using hands to stabilize the body and deepen the stretch. Hold for 10-30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Lace fingers together, inhale while stretching toward the ceiling, exhale and open the arms to sweep them back down to your side. Repeat for 8-10 reps.
Grab one side of the chair and gently pull in the opposite direction while tilting head. Hold for 10-30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Hip Flexor Stretch
Keep one leg stationary while dropping/dipping the other leg to do a lunge. Hold for 10-30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Seated Hip Stretch
Cross the leg over the knee, gently lean forward keeping the back straight. Pressing down on the knee deepens the stretch. Hold for 10-30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Inner Thigh Stretch
Use elbows to push against thighs to stretch inner thighs and back. Hold for 10-30 seconds.
-Please refer to the reference links above for detailed exercise instruction.
-Please exercise caution and use at your own risk.