Back pain is an incredibly common problem, affecting up to 80% of people at some point in their lives. Although most cases of back pain are just temporary, they can be quite severe, and they often lead to more serious issues down the road. If you suffer from back pain and want to avoid it in the future, try adding these 9 light stretches to your daily routine!

Stretch 1: Standing Quads Stretch

While standing, pull one knee up toward your chest and grab it with both hands. Pull gently until you feel a stretch in your quad. Hold for 20-30 seconds, then repeat on another side. Make sure to keep your back straight while performing your stretches. If you’re trying to prevent pain in your back, it’s important not to lean forward or backward as you stretch—and stand with good posture at all times.

Stretch 2: Hamstring Stretch

Lie on your back and bring one knee into your chest. Straighten that leg as much as you can, then gently pull it toward your chest. You should feel a stretch in your hamstring muscle on that side of your body. Hold for 10 seconds, release, and then repeat with your other leg. Be sure to keep both shoulders planted firmly on the floor at all times.

Stretch 3: Chest Stretch

To do a chest stretch, sit up in your chair and bring your arms over your head. Reach up as far as you can with one arm at a time. Try to touch your hands together, but don’t worry if you can’t reach them. Stretch both arms at once so that they are stretched straight out in front of you. Hold for 15 seconds and then switch sides. Repeat 2-3 times per side until pain relief is felt in the back or shoulder area of concern.

Stretch 4: Upper Back Stretch

Standing upright, place your hands at your sides. Raise one arm overhead while pulling that shoulder blade down and back slightly. Gently bend forward until you feel a little stretch in your upper back. Hold for 30 seconds and then switch arms and replication. Repeat 3-4 times total for each side of your body. Stand upright, legs about hip-width apart with feet facing forward.

Stretch 5: Shoulder Blade/Back Scapula Stretch

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and clasp your hands together behind your back. Tilt your head forward, but don’t drop it; look at the floor just in front of you. Slowly push your hands back, away from you, as far as you can without forcing it—you should feel a gentle stretch across your upper back. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.

Stretch 6: Tricep/Upper Arm Stretch

Stand tall with your feet together and arms straight out from your shoulders at chest level. Slowly bend your elbows so that you’re lowering your hands toward your back, keeping them as close to it as possible. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat twice more. (Hold on, Tiger!)

Stretch 7: Latissimus Dorsi (Lats) Stretch

The latissimus dorsi is a pair of large muscles that make up part of your back. Sitting in front of a computer or driving often leads to poor posture and pain in these areas. To stretch them, face away from a doorway, extending one arm toward it. Using only your arm, lean into the doorjamb and twist your body to try and touch your head with both hands (be careful not to bang it!). Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.

Stretch 8: Hip Flexor & Groin Tensor Muscle Group Stretch

Stand with your back straight and your legs a bit wider than hip-width apart. Keep your weight on your left leg, bending your right knee and grabbing that foot from underneath with both hands. Gently pull it up towards you, so that you feel a stretch in the front of your left thigh/hip area. Hold for 15–30 seconds and repeat on another side. If you can’t reach around your leg, place a towel or strap around it instead.

Stretch 9: Foot & Ankle Extension

Lie on your back with one leg fully extended. Bend and straighten your other leg toward the ceiling, resting your ankle on top of your knee. Hold for 20 seconds, then switch legs. Repeat 3 times for each leg.

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