If you find yourself working from home, hunched over your kitchen table, or you spend long periods of your day sitting behind a desk, then chances are, you might wake up some mornings with a stiff, or achy back. Experts (opens in new tab)have estimated that 80% of Americans will suffer from lower back pain at some point in their lives, but if you are suffering right now, what are the best stretches to try?
We’ve rounded up the best exercises to do if you have lower back pain, as well as the best exercises to do if you sit down all day, but as someone who suffers from sciatica — pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve, I have a few stretches in my day-to-day routine to prevent my back from getting too stiff. And one of them just went viral on TikTok.
It goes without saying, if you are suffering from any sort of pain in your lower back, it’s a good idea to go and see a doctor or a physiotherapist before turning to the internet for advice. What might work for me might not be right for you and your body.
@dr.susie.squats (opens in new tab) ♬ som original - LORD.xp (opens in new tab)
(If you're a fan of TikTok trends, be sure to follow Tom's Guide on TikTok (opens in new tab))
What is the quadruped T-spin thoracic rotation?
The stretch in question in the TikTok video, which has amassed more than 260,000 views on the platform, is a quadruped T-spin thoracic rotation. The video has been shared by physiotherapist Dr. Susie Spirlock, who goes by ‘dr.susie.squats (opens in new tab)’ on the platform.
In the comments, users claim the stretch has given them instant back pain relief, but what is it, and how do you do it?
The stretch itself increases the thoracic spine mobility (this is the upper and middle part of the back) with minimal lower back movement. It’s a good exercise to try if you’ve been sitting down, hunched over your laptop all day, as it can help remove tension in the upper back and shoulders.
Here’s how to do it:
- Start on all fours
- Bend your left elbow and bring your left hand to your temple, keeping your right knee and your right hand on the mat
- Brace your core, and keeping your hips still, rotate your upper back to the left, taking your eye gaze and elbow up to the ceiling, before taking your elbow back down to the ground as if you’re trying to touch your right wrist.
- Complete a couple of rotations, before switching sides
Looking for more stretching inspiration? I do this lower back stretch everyday to help with my back pain, plus, I suffer from tight hip flexors and these are the stretches that help.