4 basic back stretches for arthritis

4 basic back stretches for arthritis

Here are some gentle stretches to ease the sore back muscles that come with arthritis of the spine.

1. Standing posture exercise

Your posture may suffer if arthritis has made you guard your movements by, for example, rounding your shoulders or leaning to one side. This exercise helps train your body to maintain proper alignment.

  • Stand with your back against a wall with your heels as close to the wall as possible.
  • Touch the wall with your shoulders and the back of your head. Register how your body feels in this good-posture position. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds — but try to carry yourself in this position as much as possible throughout your day.

2. Cat stretch

This is a classic back stretch, often used in yoga routines.

  • Get on your hands and knees. Tuck your chin toward your chest and tighten your stomach muscles to arch your back. Hold.
  • Relax, raising your head so you’re looking straight ahead while pushing your stomach toward the floor. Hold.

3. Pelvic twist

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor and arms extended straight out to your sides.
  • Gently lower both knees to your right side until you feel a slight stretch in your left lower back and hip area. Hold and return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.
  • To get the most from this stretch, keep both shoulders on the floor.

4. Cross-legged seated stretch

  • Sit on the floor with your legs crossed and hands in front of you. Lean forward gently with your head down, rounding your back and “walking” your fingers forward until you feel a stretch in your lower and middle back. Hold.
  • Walk your hands back to your legs and return to the starting position.
  • For a balanced stretch to both sides of the back, do this exercise twice, switching the leg that is crossed over the top.

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