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When it comes to treatment for back pain and neck pain — whether that’s a spinal issue or a relatively common low back strain, chiropractic care is one of the least risky options for managing pain and correcting underlying problems. But as any good chiropractor will tell you, chiropractic care is best backed up by at-home strengthening exercises that support better posture and prevent future injury. That’s why physical rehab is important.

Building healthy back muscles doesn’t have to do just with strengthening them or bulking up, however; stretching is also an important component of maintaining a healthy, pain-free back. Here are three easy stretches you should try to do every day to benefit your back:

  1. Knee-to-Chest Stretch

    Lie flat on your back with your legs extended. Slowly bend one leg and raise the knee to your chest, hugging it to your torso using your arms. Hold for about five seconds while tightening your abdominal muscles and picturing your belly button drawing in toward the spine. Release and do the same with the other leg, doing about five sets in total. This will loosen up muscles in your lower back and legs, as well as strengthening your abs.

  2. Standing Hamstring Stretch

    Tightness in your hamstrings (the big muscles on the back of your thighs) can actually cause lower back problems by tugging the pelvis out of alignment. In order to stretch them out, stand on one leg with the other extended in front of you, your heel resting lightly on the floor but not bearing very much weight. Lean down and put your hands on the floor, remembering to bend in the hip joint rather than rounding the back. If you’re not flexible enough for this stretch, try putting your heel up on a low table or footstool instead, so that you can feel the stretch in your hamstrings without hurting your hips or back.

  3. The L-Stand Stretch

    Find a table that is about the same height as your hips. Place one leg on the table in front of you, bent so that the entire outside of the leg from hip to ankle is touching the table’s surface. While arching your lower back — but keeping the abdominal muscles engaged — lean forward until you feel a stretch in your gluteal muscles, your hips and your back. Hold for at least five seconds, then slowly return the leg to the floor and raise the other. Repeat twice on each side.

How else can patients support chiropractic care at home? Share your thoughts in the comments.