When you're dealing with the aches and oftentimes debilitating soreness of lower-back pain, there's a good chance all you want to do is stay in bed. Yet research published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that any kind of exercise—whether it's core strengthening, aerobic exercise, or stretching—is the best way to ease pain and reduce the risk of another back pain attack.
The nice thing about gentle stretching is that it's feasible to do when you're in pain—and often provides the fastest relief, says Jamie Costello, fitness director at the Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa, who recommends these 5 stretches for the next time back pain strikes.
A few tips to keep in mind before you get started: Try to hold each stretch for at least 10 seconds and preferably 30 seconds or longer. The pain-relieving benefits will increase the longer you hold these stretches, says Costello. What's more, these stretches will feel even better if you enjoy them. Rather than rush through the moves, Costello recommends turning on soothing music and using this stretching time as a chance to relax and renew (here are 6 ways to manage your chronic back pain).