A physiotherapist recommends doing this one-minute stretch to prevent back pain

Soothe your spine and hips while boosting your flexibility with this short stretching routine

A man in white shirt and grey shorts stretching on a yoga mat, next to him is a green leafy plant
(Image credit: Getty / Abraham Gonzalez Fernandez)

Millions of people around the world suffer from lower back pain (619 million as of 2020, according to the World Health Organization). But there are ways to stop it.

Strengthening your mid-body muscles with core workouts is one method, but gentle stretching can also relieve stress on your spine. 

If you want to incorporate some stretches into your working day, physiotherapist and Complete Pilates founder Helen O'Leary recommends neck rotations. The exercise will only take a minute to complete, but it can help keep your joints healthy and relieve tension in your back and hips. 

How to do neck rotations

O'Leary says this exercise can relieve a stiff back and hips, by providing some gentle movement in the hip joints and the small joints of the lower spine.

"Mobility exercises encourage movement of the fluid within these joints, which helps to bathe and nourish the cartilage that lines them. It also encourages gentle stretching of the fibrous material—the capsule—that surrounds the joints, helping maintain flexibility."

If you want to get more out of the move, she suggests increasing the range of motion and holding the pose for several seconds, which will create a nice stretch down your front and sides. 

Strengthening the muscles that surround and support your spine could also help relieve back pain. There are several different types of exercise that can help with this, but if you're a newcomer to working out we'd recommend Pilates. It uses precise, repeated movement patterns to build strength, boost balance and improve your flexibility. 

For a taster session, try our Pilates for beginners routine, which will introduce you to some fundamental moves. Or try this Pilates for posture sequence, which targets your all-important core muscles. 

Need a new mat for your stretching routine? See our guide to the best yoga mats

Harry Bullmore
Fitness Writer

Harry Bullmore is a Fitness Writer for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, covering accessible home workouts, strength training session, and yoga routines. He joined the team from Hearst, where he reviewed products for Men's Health, Women's Health, and Runner's World. He is passionate about the physical and mental benefits of exercise, and splits his time between weightlifting, CrossFit, and gymnastics, which he does to build strength, boost his wellbeing, and have fun.

Harry is a NCTJ-qualified journalist, and has written for Vice, Learning Disability Today, and The Argus, where he was a crime, politics, and sports reporter for several UK regional and national newspapers.