Effective stretch for back pain

Angry cat happy cat stretch (cat camel stretch)

This back stretch is great for spinal mobilisation, just be careful if you have any back problems such as disc issues. If you do contact one of the team and we will happily give you some advice.

It’s known as the cat camel back stretch, don’t ask me why but we’ve renamed it angry cat happy cat, we like to be different!

This gentle exercise stretches and strengthens the muscles that stabilise the spine and your abdominals. Done regularly it can really help ease back tension and/or pain, just remember to seek advice from a professional if you do have back issues before you start.

Finding ways to combat the sitting posture so many of us find ourselves in at work is fast becoming one of the main problems we deal with in our studios. Getting our clients to do angry cat happy cat at home is one of the ways we do that. By flexing and extending your back you are mobilising the spine and all the muscles associated with those movements.

Benefits

  • Increases flexibility of the neck, shoulders, and spine.
  • Stretches the muscles of the hips, back, abdomen, chest, and lungs.
  • Helps relieve back pain, stiffness, improves posture, and relieves sciatica.

How to do the angry cat / happy cat stretch

  1. Get onto all fours, on your hands and knees
  2. Keep your knees spaced hip-width apart and your hands directly beneath your shoulders
  3. Tighten your abdominal muscles and arch your spine upward toward the ceiling (angry cat). Hold the position for a few seconds, then slowly relax your back.
  4. Allow your stomach to fall toward the floor, bring your shoulders together and stretch your back downwards into a swayback position (happy cat)
  5. Hold for a few seconds, then return to the starting position
  6. Repeat the entire sequence at least three times

Watch Harry show you how in our video below

 

Things to watch out for

  • Do not bounce or jerk your body at any point during the exercise, as this can lead to injury

  • Perform slowly and gently

  • Never force it so much that you feel pain during this stretch

  • If you do feel pain or discomfort simply reduce the number of reps and slow the pace right down or stop completely

Happy, not angry, stretching!