A yoga instructor recommends doing these four standing wall stretches whenever you want to relieve back pain

A quick mobility routine that could provide relief

Woman in sportwear stretching on a plant-filled balcony in morning sunshine
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Back pain is a common part of many people's lives, particularly those of us who work desk jobs and spend a lot of time sitting down.

One of the best ways to relieve a stiff back is by stretching. Yoga instructor Emily Mouu recently shared four stretches that could offer some relief.

These stretches are all done against a wall, which provides some resistance so that you can gently move 'deeper' into a stretch. Make sure you listen to your body and don’t push too far, stopping if you feel any pain.

How to do Emily Mouu's standing wall stretches

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Mouu uses a combination of static and dynamic stretches, which means that some of the stretches need to be held while others require movement. While Mouu doesn’t specify a timeframe for the moves, it’s a good idea to aim for 30 seconds on the static poses and two to four repetitions of the dynamic stretches.

Research published in the International Journal of Sports and Physiotherapy suggests that this is the sweet spot for stretching. Doing it for this amount of time will allow you to reap the benefits (improved range of motion in your joints and better flexibility) but holding the stretches for any longer won’t provide significant improvements.

The benefits of stretching

When we sit hunched over our desks for long periods, we force our muscles to stay in the same contracted position. This can eventually make them shorter, via a process known as 'adaptive shortening'. Regular stretching can help elongate the muscles again, but it’s a good idea to back up your routine with some strength exercises, too. This will make sure your muscles are resilient and less prone to injury, so try teaming the above routine with some upper-body dumbbell workouts.

If your lower body is also stiff and sore at the end of the day, you might want to try a combination of hip stretches and hip strengthening exercises.

Consult a health professional if you are dealing with consistent day-to-day pain. And if you have an injury, speak to your doctor before trying these stretches.

Alice Porter
Freelancer Writer

Alice Porter is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle topics including health, fitness and wellness. She is particularly interested in women's health, strength training and fitness trends and writes for publications including Stylist Magazine, Refinery29, The Independent and Glamour Magazine. Like many other people, Alice's personal interest in combining HIIT training with strength work quickly turned into a CrossFit obsession and she trains at a box in south London. When she's not throwing weights around or attempting handstand push-ups, you can probably find her on long walks in nature, buried in a book or hopping on a flight to just about anywhere it will take her.