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A seated spinal twist can help align your spine.
Chad Baker/Jason Reed/Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images
Slouching in front of a computer, slumping in the car and maintaining poor posture while walking around during the day can all create misalignments in your spine. This can feel uncomfortable or painful, but stretching can sometimes help your spine achieve an appropriate alignment. However, if you're experiencing persistent or intense back pain, it might make sense to seek medical help. Don't stretch so intensely that the pain or discomfort increases; back off from stretching until a milder sensation is achieved.
Do the Twist
Spinal twists can help align your spine. To complete a spinal twist stretch, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet planted on the floor. Draw the left knee in toward the chest, and then use your right hand to gently guide it toward the right side. The left knee might touch the ground, but your spine will benefit from the twist regardless of whether it reaches the ground. Extend your left arm over to the side, keeping the left shoulder pressing into the ground. Slowly turn your neck so that you face your extended arm. Hold for at least five counts and then slowly release from this spinal stretch. Repeat on the other side.
Add Some Yoga
Transitioning between yoga's cat pose and cow pose promotes spinal alignment because of the flexion and extension involved. To enter cow pose, begin on all fours with your wrists placed on the floor directly beneath your shoulders. Inhale, lifting your head, sternum and tailbone and depressing your lower and middle back. To begin cat pose, exhale. Tuck your chin into your chest and press your tailbone down as you round through the spine. Continue to transition between cow pose and cat pose to align your spine.
Move in Opposite Directions
Dynamic tension through the body can also help to align your spine. In this stretch, begin on all fours with your palms pressing into the mat right beneath your shoulders. Inhale, extending the left arm directly out in front of you as if you're reaching for an invisible rope. Stay engaged through your core, and then kick back with your right leg, keeping your foot flexed and your toes pointed. Hold for five counts and then release back to neutral. Switch to reach forward with the right arm extended. The simultaneous forward-reaching and kicking-back motions will help your spine feel stretched and aligned.
Align While Seated
For a seated spinal twist, sit down on the ground with both legs extended. Bend your left knee, placing your left foot on the floor outside your right thigh. Use your right arm to wrap gently around the left knee, and place your left hand on the floor behind your hips. Inhale, lengthening through your spine, and then gently turn to look over your left shoulder as you exhale. Continue to lengthen through your spine on your inhales and twist deeper on your exhales. Release from the twist slowly and then repeat on the other side.