Treatment

Bed stretches to relieve back pain

Stretching in bed

There are many stretches you can do to relieve back pain, including ones you can do while still in bed. You can do them to help you relax and relieve back pain before drifting off to sleep, or first thing in the AM to help you take on your day. 

Dr Robert Oexman, director of the Sleep to Live Institute, says: “The greatest incidence of slipped discs occurs within 30 to 60 minutes after we wake up.” Oexman recommends taking a few minutes to “ease into the day” with simple back stretches you can do right in bed. 

Spinal twist:
This one was made to do in bed. Lie on your back in the middle of your bed. Bend both knees into your chest, and then cross them over to the left side of your body. You can let your knees hang slightly over the edge of the bed for a deeper stretch. 

Extend your arm in a T position, and look to your right. Stay like this for 15 to 30 seconds. 

Lift your knees using your abs back to centre, and repeat on the other side. 

Knee to chest back stretch: 
Lie on your back with your knees extended. Gently bend your right knee into your chest. Clasp your hands in front of your shin and gently pull down to increase the stretch. Keep your left leg relaxed and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat with the left knee. 

Hamstring stretch:
Lie on your back and raise your left leg as high as  you can, keeping your pelvis flat on the mattress.. Hold your thigh and move your leg, slowly towards your head. Feel free to flex your foot to stretch your calf. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides. 

Hip and lower back stretch:
From the same position on your back, bend both knees and hold on to the balls of your feet. 
Use your arms to gently pull your knees toward the floor beside your chest. 
Relax your head and shoulders for 30 seconds. 

Cobra:
The Cobra is great at lengthening the muscles in your abs, chest and neck and also increases flexibility in your spine. 
Roll over onto your stomach and extend your arms out in front of you. Keeping your legs and pelvis grounded, slowly begin to walk your hands towards your chest. As your torso lifts off the bed, keep a slight bend in your elbows. Walk with your hands until you feel a stretch in your abs. Relax your shoulders away from your ears and lengthen your neck. If it feels okay, lower your head back between your shoulder blades, and you’ll feel a stretch in your chest and neck. Stay like this for 30 seconds and then lower your torso back to the bed. 

Piriformis Stretch:
The Piriformis muscle runs through the buttocks and can contribute to back and leg pain. To stretch this muscle, lie on your back and cross one leg over the other; gently pull the knee towards your chest until you feel a stretch. Hold for 30 seconds. Relax. Repeat 3 more times. 

For other stretches to relieve back pain, view our ‘stretches to relieve back pain’ here.

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