So you woke up and your back is in an insane amount of pain. While you've simply been asleep for (hopefully) eight hours, it feels a little like you've been run over by an eighteen-wheeler, and getting up to start your day doesn't quite feel entirely possible yet. Fear not! There are stretches for back pain you can do right in the comfort of your own bed.
And believe me, you're not alone in your struggles; back pain is extremely common. According to the Global Burden of Disease report, back pain is, in fact, one of the most common reasons people have for missing work, as well as the second most common reason why people go to the doctor, second only to respiratory infections, or the typical cold.
Of course, this means being mindful about your back and spine health is super important, and you might need to take a little extra care to maintain mobility. If you're waking up in pain more often than not, consider working some of these gentle stretches into your routine each morning — not only to stretch, lengthen, and strengthen your muscles, but also to check in with yourself about how you're feeling and what does or doesn't feel good for your body.
Starting on your back, bend your knees and place your hands behind your head. Think about rolling up your spine from the tip of your tailbone, but since you're doing this bad boy on your bed, you don't actually have to lift your butt and back totally off the ground. Just think about rolling and stretching through the vertebrae with slow, gentle micro-movements.
This one feels amazing for the hip flexors, and for me, relieves my lower back pain within a matter of moments. Sitting with your legs crossed, ground your palms on the bed behind you. Transferring your weight into your hands, gently guide your head back as you draw your chest and hips to the ceiling, lifting your butt slightly off of your bed.
A spinal twist is simple, but so incredibly effective for relieving any kind of back pain that's keeping you planted in your bed. Start by lying on your back, and hug your knees close into your chest. Lower your left leg to the floor, but squeeze your right knee into your chest. Stretch your right arm out to the side, with your palm facing down. "Hook" your right foot behind your left leg and guide that right knee across your body, toward the floor, or wherever you begin to feel a stretching sensation. Guide your gaze to the right, and try to keep both of your shoulders on the bed. Breathe deeply for up to 10 counts, then switch sides.
This stretch happens to be one of my own personal favs. Sitting up, stretch one leg out to the side, and bend your other leg, bringing your heel in toward your crotch. Don't forget to use some pillows under your knees for support if you need it — after all, there should be plenty nearby since you're still in bed! Keeping your belly button in toward your spine, and your sit bones and hips softly grounded into your mattress, guide your arm over your head and stretch the side of the body. You can even mirror the woman's movements in the above video, and let your head rest on your fist, or use your other hand to ground you — whatever feels best for you and your body. Switch sides and repeat whenever you're ready.
Come On Into Child's Pose There's nothing quite as cozy as this classic, not to mention the fact that it gives the whole length of your back a nice, supported stretch. Sitting on your knees, keeping them either separated in a "V" shape or knit together, bring your upper body forward and down over your knees, or down toward the ground. Be sure to bring yourself down as slowly and gently as your back is telling you to go. Breathe deeply, and relax your body into this pose. If you want a bit of a different sensation, try extending your arms out long in front of you, and then walk them over to the left then right side of your body, keeping your hips centered throughout.
Another great movement, in my experience, is simply sitting with my legs crossed and stretching my neck. You can also do these with the support of a wall behind you, or while propping yourself up against a pillow. Guide your spine to be as tall and straight as feel sgood, and bring your ear toward your shoulder, placing gentle pressure on your head with your hand. Switch sides, and if it feels loose enough, do a gentle neck roll to top it off.