Back pain is a common issue that affects millions of people worldwide. One of the most effective ways to alleviate back pain and maintain flexibility is through regular stretching. Among the many stretches available, the prayer stretch, also known as child’s pose, is often recommended for back pain relief. However, this popular stretch can be challenging for those who cannot get down on the floor or put pressure on their knees. Fortunately, there is an excellent alternative: the seated rolldown stretch. This modification provides a comprehensive back and whole body stretch without the need to kneel or lie on the floor. It can be conveniently performed while sitting in a chair, on the side of a bed, or on a couch.

Introducing the Seated Rolldown Stretch

For individuals who find the prayer stretch challenging, the seated rolldown stretch is a fantastic alternative. This stretch offers similar benefits without requiring you to kneel or lie on the floor. It is a gentle and effective way to stretch the back and entire body while seated comfortably.

How to Perform the Seated Rolldown Stretch

  1. Find a Comfortable Seat: Sit on a chair, the side of a bed, or a couch with your feet flat on the floor and your back straight.
  2. Position Your Hands: Place your hands on your in between your thighs or on the outside of your knees.
  3. Begin the Rolldown: Slowly lower your chin toward your chest, allowing your upper back to round forward.
  4. Continue Rolling Down: Gradually roll down vertebra by vertebra, letting your hands hang down by your legs. Go as far as you comfortably can, ideally reaching towards your ankles or the floor.
  5. Hold the Stretch: Hold this position for 20-30 seconds, feeling the stretch in your back, shoulders, and legs.
  6. Roll Back Up: Slowly reverse the movement, rolling up one vertebra at a time until you return to the starting position.
  7. Repeat: Perform 2-3 repetitions for optimal results.

Benefits of the Seated Rolldown Stretch

  1. No Pressure on Knees: This stretch is perfect for individuals with knee pain or those who cannot kneel.
  2. Improves Flexibility: It enhances flexibility in the spine, shoulders, and hips.
  3. Reduces Back Pain: Regular practice can alleviate back pain and reduce muscle tension.
  4. Easy to Perform: It can be done anywhere with a seat, making it accessible and convenient.
  5. Promotes Relaxation: Like the prayer stretch, the seated rolldown can be effective with deep breathing and relaxation.

Tips for an Effective Seated Rolldown Stretch

  • Breathe Deeply: Focus on deep, controlled breaths throughout the stretch to enhance relaxation and effectiveness.
  • Move Slowly: Perform the roll down and roll up movements slowly and mindfully to prevent any sudden strain.
  • Listen to Your Body: Stretch to a point where you feel a gentle pull but not pain. Avoid overstretching, which can lead to injury.
  • Incorporate Daily: Make this stretch a part of your daily routine, especially if you spend long hours sitting or engaging in activities that strain your back.


The seated rolldown stretch is a versatile and accessible alternative to the traditional prayer stretch or child’s pose, offering a gentle and effective way to relieve back pain and improve flexibility. By incorporating this stretch into your daily routine, you can experience the benefits of a comprehensive back and whole body stretch without the need to kneel or lie on the floor. Whether you are sitting in a chair, on the side of a bed, or on a couch, this easy-to-perform stretch can help you take care of your back health comfortably and conveniently.

More Doctor Jo Videos about the Back Pain Relief:

20-Minute Back Pain Relief Routine with Real-Time Stretches & Exercises

5 Back Pain Relief Stretches You Can Do In Bed

You may also like

Back Pain Relief
These back pain relief stretches are great for helping to relieve general back pain and back stiffness. The back stretches are done in real time, so they are easy to follow.
Sore Back Stretches
Sore back muscles are common when starting a new workout program or when exercising a little too hard. These back stretches can help relax a sore & tight back and provide pain relief.
Back Pain Relief
Extension and rotation back stretches will help loosen your back and relieve pressure.
Upper Back Pain Relief
Upper back pain can be caused when the rhomboid muscles get overworked & stressed. This real time rhomboid stretch can help relieve the pain.
Yoga Back Pain Relief
Therapeutic Yoga can help relieve back pain by incorporating physical therapy & yoga. Trudy, a fellow PT & registered yoga teacher, stops by to show me stretches & exercises for back pain relief.
Crack Your Back
Cracking your back can help relieve back pain. But make sure the cause of your back pain is diagnosed first because with some back issues you should never crack your back.
Upper Back Pain Relief
The upper back can be a hard area to stretch. Tight rhomboid muscles and other muscles around the shoulder and neck can cause upper back pain. My favorite stretch for the upper back area is a seated rhomboid stretch.
Low Back Pain Relief
Low back pain can make it difficult to perform everyday activities. Here are three of my favorite lower back pain relief stretches that can be done lying down. 
Mid Back Pain Relief
Mid back pain (also called middle back pain or thoracic back pain) can make it difficult to perform everyday activities. Here are 3 of my favorite mid back stretches to help relieve pain & tightness.

Page 1 of 5