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How to Stretch for Back Pain 2: Cat Cow Stretch

Picture a cow in a pasture or a sleeping cat—could their lives be any more relaxed? Since stress aggravates back pain, take a cue from these animals and practice this relaxing yoga-inspired stretch.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Get on hands & knees Get down on your hands and knees. Your hands should be pointing forward and aligned underneath your shoulders, and your knees should be aligned underneath your hips.
  • Step 2: Inhale & arch back Inhale, and slowly arch your back over a count of 5, dropping your belly towards the floor and raising your head, chest, and tailbone up.
  • TIP: Don’t overuse your lower back muscles; let gravity do most of the work.
  • Step 3: Hold stretch Hold the stretch for 3 seconds.
  • Step 4: Exhale & round back Exhale, and slowly round your back over a count of 5, dropping your head and tailbone down and pulling your belly inwards
  • Step 5: Hold stretch Hold the stretch for 3 seconds.
  • TIP: To vary the stretch, rotate your midsection in a clockwise circle as you arch up and then down. Repeat 5-8 times and then rotate counter-clockwise for the same number of times.
  • Step 6: Repeat stretch Repeat the stretch 3-5 times in each direction.
  • FACT: Americans spend an estimated $24 billion a year on back pain treatments.

You Will Need

  • Comfortable clothes
  • A floor

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