Back stretches can greatly help to alleviate back pain. Regular stretching increases blood flow to the area, which helps relieve pain and aids in healing from injury. With any stretching program, it's important to check your form and maintain regular visits to a chiropractor or other professional bodyworker. Never stretch to the point of pain, and make sure to go slowly while maintaining awareness of your body position. Try to do 10 repetitions of each stretch.
Proper Standing Posture
Practicing a proper standing pose in front of a mirror each day can improve posture and back pain. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart with toes pointed straight ahead. Avoid locking your knees and imagine that the entire ball of your foot is engaged with the floor. Engage the muscles of your legs without tensing them. Imagine that the waist down is akin to the trunk of a tree. Imagine that there is a rod going from your tailbone to the top of your head along your spine. This will help straighten your back, neck and head. Look to see that your head is not tilted and your shoulders are not raised. Take 3 deep breaths in this position, visualizing the oxygen going to the places in your back that have pain. You're now in the proper position for standing stretches.
Upper Back Stretches
From the standing pose, lift your arms straight up in the air with your palms facing each other. Make sure the inside of your upper arm is aligned with your ears. Imagine that you are being pulled straight up by a string on each fingertip, but maintain the solid grounding of the trunk in the standing pose. Then lower the arms as your rotate the palms to face downward. Stop when the arms are at shoulder level and hold for 3 to 5 seconds.
These exercises can be done from a seated position, but are best when done standing. Start with your arms at your side and the proper standing pose. Lift the right arm over your right ear, palm facing down, and bend at the waist without any twisting. Reach outward with the right hand and down the left leg with the left hand. Repeat on the other side.
Legs up the Wall
Lie on your left side with your buttocks up against a wall and your legs out in front of you. Roll onto your back with your buttocks right up against the wall and your legs straight up against the wall. Straighten your legs as much as is comfortable without locking the knees. Keep the bottom of your feet pointed up. You can have the bottom of each foot touching the other, with knees bent for more stretching in the hips and lower back, or if the other position is too difficult.
Lying Down Stretches
Lie on your back with a low neck pillow. Bring both knees to your chest, hugging them with your arms. Rock from side to side. Rock all the way to one side and have your knees as close to the floor as possible while keeping your back on the floor. Repeat on the other side, and go back to a straight lying position. Bring one knee to the chest at a time. Another stretch involves bending one leg toward the chest with the foot on the floor and resting the other ankle on top of the thigh in a cross-legged position.