How to Stretch a Stiff Spine

How to Stretch a Stiff Spine

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Stretching and strengthening exercises can both relieve and prevent stiffness along the spine.

Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Stiffness along the spine can arise from a number of causes. Bursts of activity after being desk-bound, such as when you dive into yard work or active sports on the weekend, can leave you sore and stiff when Monday comes. Long periods of inactivity, whether brought about by a sedentary lifestyle or by recovery from surgery or illness, leave you feeling weak and stiff. You can keep your spine and the muscles supporting it strong and flexible - the way they're meant to be - by incorporating simple stretching exercises into your daily routine.

Try an Overall Back Flexion Stretch

Lie on your back with your legs flat on the floor.

Raise your knees and pull them to your chest. Raise your head as you do this so that you feel a comfortable stretch along your spine.

Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. Release and return to the lying flat position. Repeat this sequence for five to 10 total reps.

Stretch in Sitting

Sit up tall on the floor with both legs straight in front of you. Cross one leg over the other so the foot of the crossed leg is outside the knee of the straight leg.

Twist toward the hip of the bent leg, reaching behind you with the arm on that side for support. Place your other arm outside the thigh of the bent leg to help you twist farther. Keep your sit bones on the floor and look over your shoulder as you do this.

Hold the stretch for 30 seconds before slowly returning to center. Repeat this stretch on the other side. Repeat the stretch on both sides for a total of four reps.

Try the Child's Pose

Kneel on your hands and knees with your hands directly under your shoulders. Keep your spine in alignment by looking at the floor as you do this exercise.

Stretch your hands out in front of you, palms flat on the floor, as you lower your buttocks to your heels. Rest your forehead on the floor and breathe deeply and gently for 20 to 30 seconds.

Slide your hands on the floor toward your legs and round your back as you return slowly to a sitting position. Let your head come up last. Repeat the complete sequence for a total of three reps.


  • Wear comfortable clothing that will move with you. Warm up before stretching with five to 10 minutes of moderate, low-impact activity such as walking or riding a stationary bicycle. Move smoothly into the stretch, breathing evenly as you hold the position.


  • Avoid bouncing as you move into the stretch. Bouncing can injure or tear muscles.

    Check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program. If you are new to stretching and flexibility exercise, work with a trainer or physical therapist to learn the proper way to perform the stretches.

Resources (2)