5 Easy Stretches for Back Pain, Posture & Alignment

Woman stretching back and arms at desk

How to Improve Posture with Back Stretches

Many of us sit in front of a screen as part of our daily lives whether you work at a computer, use social media, or watch tv as part of your nightly routine. Without paying attention to our posture, our upper body tends to slouch during these activities. This can lead to misalignment of the spine, which may cause a variety of aches and pains in our back, shoulders, and neck.

These simple stretches for better posture and back pain are easy to do and they promote proper spinal alignment. By learning how to stretch for better posture, you can discover back pain relief and develop healthier habits while doing the activities you enjoy.

Man with his hands on his lower back

Can Stretching Fix Bad Posture?

An aching lower back, headache pain, or sore neck might be the result of poor posture. Stretching for back pain provides an effective solution for these symptoms. By reducing tension and strengthening the muscles in your back, stretching helps to not only straighten your posture, but also make you more aware of your body so you can stop yourself from slouching.

Is it Good to Stretch Your Back if it Hurts?

If your back hurts, stretching with back pain can alleviate symptoms, reduce stiffness, and improve both your flexibility and range of motion. However, those with chronic back pain from injuries or conditions like sciatica should speak to their healthcare provider first. Typically, it is recommended that you do not stretch your back if it hurts due to a spinal disc injury or nerve damage.

Female doctor examining a male patient’s back

5 Simple Stretches for Back Pain Relief

A daily stretching routine can help you feel better from head to toe. Stretches for posture and pain relief prioritize strengthening the muscles in your upper back to promote better alignment and a straighter form. When the shoulders are pulled back and the chest is open, it takes the stress off your muscles to prevent slouching and keep your body upright.

Breathing Stretch

People laying on ground diaphragmatic breathing

A deep breathing sequence, like diaphragmatic breathing, while lying on your back relaxes your body and releases tension in your lower back, reducing pressure on the lower discs. To perform this stretch for lower back pain:

  1. Lay on your back with both feet flat on the floor or completely straight.
  2. Rest your arms at your sides.
  3. Take a deep breath in through your nose.
  4. Exhale slowly through the mouth.
  5. Repeat this breathing exercise until you feel relaxed and ready to move on.

    Child’s Pose

    Woman in child's pose

    Considered a beginner yoga pose, child’s pose works your shoulders, lower back muscles and core. Stretching your arms out above your head also helps to lengthen and stretch the spine to combat slouching. Here is how you can do this stretch and relieve your back pain:

    1. Get on all fours with your knees shoulder-width apart and the bottoms of your feet facing up.
    2. Crawl forward with your hands and reach your arms straight out in front of you.
    3. Slowly drop your hips until you are resting on your heels.
    4. Rest your forehead on the floor.
    5. Breathe deeply for 5 to 10 breaths before completing the pose.

      Cat & Cow Pose

      Man performing cat and cow pose

      Also a popular yoga pose, cat cow stretches for mid back pain increase mobility throughout your torso, massaging the spine and alleviating tension on your joints. When performed slowly, cat and cow pose helps with blood circulation and posture. To begin the pose:


      1. Get on all fours with your hands parallel to your shoulders and your knees parallel to your hips.
      2. Inhale as you drop your stomach and lift your head, extending the spine outward.
      3. Exhale as you slowly tuck in your chin and arch your spine toward the ceiling.
      4. Imagine each vertebra of your spine aligning with the next as you move.
      5. Return to the starting position and repeat the sequence for one minute.

      Chest Opener

      Woman with hands behind back performing chest opener stretch

      A chest opening exercise actively stretches the muscles in your upper back and neck while also targeting your chest and shoulders. It works out any tightness and supports a better range of motion, especially for those who sit at a desk for eight or more hours a day. Here are the steps:

      1. Stand straight up with your feet hip-width apart.
      2. Interlace your fingers behind your back, palms pressed together.
      3. Breathe in as you lift your chest up and draw your arms out and back.
      4. Take several breaths, squeezing your shoulder blades together with each inhale.
      5. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat twice.

      Forward Fold

      People doing the forward fold exercise

      The fifth stretch is a standing exercise that targets tension in your neck, shoulders, lower back, and hamstrings. You should be able to feel your lower back area open up as gravity weighs your torso down, lengthening your spine and slowly releasing the tension in your shoulders. To perform this stretch:

      1. Stand with your feet slightly apart and your hands resting at your hips.
      2. Slowly fold forward at your hips and release your hands to the floor.
      3. Allow your knees to bend slightly, taking pressure off your hips.
      4. Tuck in your chin and let your head hang without support from the neck.
      5. Hold this pose for one minute, then slowly stand back up.

      PowerStep® Orthotics for Back Pain Relief

      Woman placing shoe insole for back pain in white shoe

      There are several effective ways to get relief for back pain from stretching daily to wearing support braces such as an adjustable back brace. However, tired feet and legs are also a common cause of poor posture since they support your entire body. When your feet are too tired, or you have pain from a common foot condition, it can affect how the rest of your body feels, too.

      Misalignment of your feet and ankles and inward or outward movement of the foot when walking can cause pain in your back, knees, and hips. If you have back pain and try to compensate for it by putting less weight on one foot versus the other, it may lead to poor balance and bad posture overall.

      Illustration of an unsupported foot versus a foot supported by PowerStep insoles

      Recommended by chiropractors, PowerStep orthotic insoles for back, knee, and hip pain are designed by a podiatrist to correct overpronation or supination as you walk. PowerStep Pinnacle insoles feature our clinically proven arch shape for enhanced support while a stabilizing heel cradle helps align the foot and ankle for better motion control.

      Whether you need an insole for work or everyday relief from back pain caused by poor posture, a daily stretching routine helps relieve pain while supportive orthotic insoles treat and prevent the cause for lasting relief.