7 Morning Back Stretches for Back and Neck Pain Relief

How often have you woken up feeling stiff as a board? And how often does that stiffness give way to aches, shooting pains, and soreness later in the day?

It can feel difficult to escape back pain, shoulder pain, and neck pain. But if you practice stretching exercises and develop a daily stretching routine, you can achieve sweet relief over time.

Whether you’re recovering from an injury or looking to improve your flexibility, these seven morning back stretches can benefit your life in a variety of ways.

1. The Chin-to-Chest Stretch

This stretch is perfect to start your morning stretch routine because you can do it while sitting up in bed. If you ever wake up with a stiff neck, try this stretch right away to warm up the muscles.

To start, bend your head forward and attempt to press the chin to the top of the chest. You should feel a stretch at the back of the neck. Hold it for a few seconds, release, and repeat until you feel more mobility.

You may also want to add this stretch to your daily stretches. Throughout the day, take a moment to step away from the computer or work and complete this stretch. It will help stave off pain and keep you focused on the task at hand.

2. The Ear-to-Shoulder Stretch

You can relieve neck pain after car accident injuries with this stretch. Start by rolling the neck in a circular motion to warm up the muscles. Lean your head to the right side and try to press your ear to your shoulder.

Hold this for a few seconds, then do the same on the opposite side. For an extended stretch, place the opposite hand on your head and press down without moving your shoulder. Feel free to complete this stretch a few times for maximum effect.

Of course, you should ask your doctor for advice about treating neck pain after a car accident. You may need to combine this stretch with medication or a brace for safety.

3. The Wall-to-Wall Stretch

For this stretch, you can use the corner of a room for support. Walk up to the walls and place one forearm flat against each wall. Keep the elbows a little higher than shoulder-length height.

Once you’re in place, lean forward. You should begin feeling a stretch underneath the collarbone and spreading out from there. Hold for a few seconds and repeat three times.

4. The Cross-Legged Stretch

After you’ve taken care of the neck and shoulder part of your stretch routine, it’s time to focus on the back. The cross-legged stretch makes a perfect starting point.

For this one, you’ll need to get down on the ground. Sit with your legs crossed and your back straight. Then, reach your arms up toward the ceiling.

As you do so, lengthen your neck and spine but keep your body anchored with your crossed legs. Hold the stretch for a few seconds, breathing in and out slowly. Clear your mind and let the relaxing stretch take over.

If you’d like to extend the stretch to the sides, lower one arm and keep the other raised. Reach up and over to the opposite side with the raised arm until you feel a stretch in your side. Repeat on the other side to balance it out.

5. The Knee-to-Chest Stretch

The knee-to-chest stretch has two variations: a single-knee raise and a double-knee raise.

To start, lay down with your back against the ground. Bend your knees and place your feet flat against the ground, as well. From this position, you can begin both knee-to-chest stretches.

For the single-knee raise, lift your right leg up and bring your knee toward your head. Wrap your hand around the back of your knee and pull it as far forward as you can, with the goal of pressing it to your chest. Hold it for a few seconds, and make sure your other leg stays put.

After the right leg, do the same on the left side. Next, you can transition into the double-knee raise. But first, stretch your legs out flat before starting the next stretch.

Once you’re ready, put your legs back into the same position, with the knee bent and the feet on the ground. Then, bring both knees forward at the same time. Hug your knees and bring them close to your chest.

Hold for a few seconds and release. These stretches will help with low-to-mid back pain.

6. The Kneeling-Lunge Stretch

This stretch begins with kneeling. If you experience knee pain, you may want to skip this one or rest your knee on a soft surface to reduce impact.

To start, kneel on the ground. Then, move one leg forward, bend at the knee, and place your foot flat with the ground. Keep the other leg still and balance out your weight.

Now, rest your hands on the top of your thigh. Lean forward until you feel a stretch in the other leg. Repeat on the opposite side after holding for a few seconds.

This stretch may feel focused on the leg, but it stretches your hip muscles. If you do a lot of walking, running, or standing, this stretch should keep away any pain emanating from the hips and spreading up the back.

7. The Sitting Toe-Touch Stretch

If getting down on your knees hurts too much, you can use this stretch while sitting. Keep your feet planted flat against the ground, and try to avoid sliding forward as you stretch.

To start, raise your arms and keep them straight out. Then, slowly lean forward and bend. Reach for your toes and go as far as you can. 

This stretch should feel like a gentle pull on your lower back. Over time, your flexibility should improve to the point where you can reach your toes without a problem. It makes for an easy, low-impact stretch you can do anytime, anywhere.

Incorporate These Morning Back Stretches Into a Daily Routine

Feel free to try out these morning back stretches to decide what provides the most relief for you. Then, incorporate them into a relaxing routine you can jump into after waking up. You’ll find that daily stretches can improve your flexibility, enhance your mood, and relieve pain.

Looking for more fitness tips and light exercises to start your morning off right? Check out the Yoga Resources page on our site.

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