Do you suffer from back pain? Whether your discomfort stems from an injury, poor posture, or a degenerative problem, an orthopedic back stretcher may help.
An orthopedic back stretcher is a simple arched device you can use at home to stretch your back muscles and spine. Simply place the stretcher on the floor or another sturdy surface and lie back on it. Your spine will elongate as you recline, creating space between the vertebrae and taking pressure off your spinal discs.
Sufferers often find relief when they perform two short stretching sessions per day. Most healthy people can use a back stretcher without consulting their doctor first, but if you are pregnant or have osteoporosis, spinal stenosis, or another diagnosis that concerns you, seek medical approval before engaging in this type of exercise.
If you’re intrigued by the thought of attaining easy back relief at home, you’re not alone. These affordable devices have gained considerable traction in the home health field. Read our buying guide to learn the basics on back stretchers and see some of our favorites.
Most orthopedic back stretchers adhere to one of two designs. The most common design involves two pieces: a flat, rigid base and a hard, flexible band that stretches over the base to form a rainbow-like arch. The flexible band may or may not be padded. In some cases, the pad is removable. (A large portion of users appreciate the padded surface, but a few prefer something harder.)
Perhaps the most appealing feature of the two-piece design is adjustability. Because the overarching piece is flexible, it can be bent and tucked into one of several slots in the base. This affects your degree of stretch. For example, one set of slots will make the arch steeper and your stretch deeper; another set of slots will flatten the arch for a gentler stretch.
The second most common design consists of just one piece. Often made of foam, this piece resembles a half cylinder. The arch angle cannot be adjusted on this type of back stretcher, but because it’s made of foam, it may have nodules for added stimulation.
The piece that supports your back may be made of wood or plastic. It’s sturdy but not infallible, so check the weight limit before purchasing. A smaller person may get by with a 200-pound weight limit, but a larger individual would be wise to purchase something with a weight limit of 300 pounds or more.