How to Stretch for Back Pain Cat Cow Stretch

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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.

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.