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Spinal mobility exercises

Your physiotherapy may give you these exercises to help improve the movement and mobility through your back.

Childs pose

Kneel on your hands and knees on the floor. Spread your knees wide but keep your toes touching. Lower your bottom towards your heels. Your hands stay on the floor and your arms will straighten in front of you as you lower. Stop when you start to feel a stretch.

Illustration of child sat on their knees, spread apart and reaching their hands and body forward to rest their head on the floor in front of themselves

Hold this position for 10 seconds and repeat 5 times. Keep breathing throughout the stretch.

Child’s pose with side flexion

Kneel on your hands and knees on the floor. Spread your knees wide but keep your toes touching. Lower your bottom towards your heels. Place your hands on the floor in front of you then move them slightly to the left side. Place your right hand on top of your left. Stop when you start to feel a stretch. Make sure you keep moving your hips towards your bottom.

Illustration of child sat on their knees, spread apart and reaching their hands and body forward to rest their head on the floor in front of themselves and stretching their body to one side

Hold this position for 20 seconds, then relax and return to the start position. Repeat on the other side. Repeat 3 times to each side.

Cat cow

Kneel on the floor with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Slowly drop your tummy towards the floor arching your spine and lift your head and chest looking up to the ceiling. Stop when you start to feel a stretch. Try not to let your shoulders rise up towards your ears.

Illustration of child on their hands and knees with their back first flexed to stick their bottom up and out, and then hunched and arched outwards

Hold for 5 seconds. Then slowly draw your tummy into your spine and round your back towards the ceiling , this should look like a cat stretching. Hold for 5 seconds and then return to the start position.

Repeat these movement 5 times.

Thread the needle

Start on the floor on your hands and knees. Keep your hands under your shoulders and knees under hips. Slide your right arm under your left with your palm facing up. Slowly lower your right shoulder and right ear to the floor.  Keep your hips up. Stop when you start to feel a stretch.

Illustration of child on their hands and knees, and with one arm threaded under the other to put their shoulder to the floor

Hold for 10 seconds. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat on the left side.

Glute or piriformis stretch

Lying on your back with both knees bent and your feet resting on the floor. Cross the right foot over the left knee, then using your hands around your left thigh, slowly pull your thigh towards you until you feel a stretch in the right bottom. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times. Repeat the exercise on the opposite side.

Illustration of person laid on the floor with one ankle over their other knee

To increase this stretch, you can put one hand over the left knee and apply pressure to push your knee away from yourself.

Hip flexor stretch

In half-kneeling with the leg to be stretched at the back. Tuck your bottom under and push your hips forwards until you feel a stretch in the front of the back leg. Hold for 20 seconds, repeat 5 times on each side.

Illustration of person with one knee to the floor with their other knee up so their foot is on the floor

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Disclaimer

Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: PT82

Resource Type: Article

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Sheffield
S10 2TH

United Kingdom

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