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Sleep better and relieve back pain with this 1 gentle stretch

by Today

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When you have back pain, doing a twist probably isn’t the first type of stretch that comes to mind. But experts say it’s actually important to learn how to rotate our spine properly to perform all kinds of daily movements. And, if done correctly, spinal twist stretches can have all sorts of benefits — including relief from back pain and muscle tension.

“There’s this misbelief that twisting and rotating is not good, and we shouldn’t be doing it,” Paul Spano, a physical therapist in the NYU Langone Sports Medicine Department, tells TODAY.com. “Contrary to that, (twisting is) actually a very important aspect for proper and healthy spine mobility.”

As a golfer, Spano needs to incorporate healthy rotation into his movement practices, he says. “And I try to incorporate it into many of the (plans) for the patients that I’m working with, especially those who have back-related injuries.”

In fact, performing twising stretches has become a part of my own daily routine and I’ve noticed improvements in my back pain, sleep quality and stress levels.

That said, improper twisting — like rotating while bending down to pick something up too quickly — can lead to pain, he says.

And twisting isn’t typically the first type of movement experts prescribe for patients with pain, Dr. Melissa Leber, an associate professor of orthopedics and emergency medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, tells TODAY.com. “You don’t usually start with that, even though it does have its benefits,” she says.

Here’s what to know about using spinal stretches to improve your mobility and the other potential benefits of incorporating these gentle movements into your routine.

Spinal twist stretch benefits

Twisting movements are essential for many activities we perform every single day — including something as simple as walking, Spano says. And…

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