Spinal Decompression At Home

This blog post will cover 14 different ways to perform your own spinal decompression at home.

Reducing pressure on structures in the spine (such as the disc, nerve and/or joint) may help alleviate pain in your lower back.

It can be helpful in conditions such as:

  • Sciatica
  • Disc bulge/herniation
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Tight muscles

Disclaimer: The content presented on this blog post is not medical advice and should not be treated as such. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Use of the content provided on this blog post is at your sole risk. For more information: Medical disclaimer.

(Please consult a healthcare professional before attempting any of the exercises suggested in this blog post. If the exercises are too painful, consider starting with simple back stretches for your lower back pain first.)

How to do Spinal decompression at home

spinal decompression of lower back

Key points:
You will need completely relax your muscles in order for the spinal decompression exercises to be effective.
Aim to feel a gentle stretch sensation in the spine.
All exercises are designed to be pain-free. Stop the exercise if symptoms worsen.
Perform the Pelvic tilts and Lumbar rolls after each decompression technique.
Note: Provide just enough traction to reduce some of the symptoms. If over done, there is a chance that the symptoms may aggravate once the traction force is removed.


It is important to perform the following exercise after EVERY decompression exercise. This is to help slowly return movement into the spine and reduce aggravations.

Lumbar rolls and Pelvic tilts

pelvic tilt and lumbar rotations


  • Lie on your back.
  • Bend your knees and keep your feet on the floor.
  • Perform slow 30 repetitions of each:
    • Rock your knees from side-to-side
    • Tilt your pelvis forwards and backwards

1. Knees to chest

knees to chest to decompress back


  • Lie down on the floor.
  • Hug both knees towards your chest.
  • Completely relax your legs and allow the arms to take the full weight of the legs.
  • Perform gentle oscillations in this position.
  • Continue for 30 seconds.
  • Note: If you are having difficulty with this exercise, perform the exercise with one leg at a time instead.

2. Child’s pose

child's pose to decompress lumbar spine


  • Kneel on the floor.
  • Reach as far away as possible and place both palms on the floor in front of you.
  • Move your buttocks backwards until they are in contact with the back of your heels.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.

3. Camel pose

camel stretch to help decompress spine


  • Assume the 4 point kneel position.
  • Perform a Posterior pelvic tilt:
    • “Tuck your tail bone underneath you”
  • Keep your back completely rounded.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.

4. Chair flexion

Lower back stretch


  • Sit on the edge of a chair.
  • Fold your torso between your legs.
  • Relax and “dangle” your torso.
  • Aim to feel a stretch in the lower back.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.

5. Side decompression

lower quadratus lumborum stretch


  • Whilst standing, lean all the way over to one side.
  • Allow your upper leg to lift and dangle.
    • Keep it relaxed!
  • Allow gravity to pull your leg down.
  • Do not let your pelvis rotate.
  • Aim to feel a stretch on the upper side of your waist.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat on other side.

6. Posture Reset position

posture reset position


  • Lie down on the floor.
  • Support your legs in the 90/90 position. (see above)
  • Use a thin pillow for your neck. (if required)
  • Rest your arms in the “T” or “Y” position.
  • Aim to have your ENTIRE back completely FLAT on the floor.
  • Relax in this position for 15-20 minutes.

7. Manual traction


  • Lie down on the floor.
  • Have someone to hold both of your ankles and gently pull on both of your legs.
  • Keep your legs completely relaxed.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Note: If you find that your body is sliding on the floor, perform the exercise whilst lying on top of a tiled floor and have the skin on the lower back in contact with the floor. (This will help stick you to the floor!)

8. Decompression over a ball

spinal decompression at home


  • Lie on top of a large exercise ball. (Facing downwards)
  • Position your body so that your lower back is in line with the top of the ball.
  • Completely relax your legs and allow them to dangle.
    • Let the weight of your legs pull on the lower back.
  • Support your body using your hands only.
  • Allow the toes to gently rest on the floor.
  • Aim to feel a stretch in the lower back.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.

9. Hanging off edge of arm rest

spinal decompression exercises for lower back


  • Lie over the edge of an arm chair. (Facing downwards)
  • Lean forwards to place a majority of your weight through your arms.
  • Completely relax your legs and let them dangle.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.

10. Chair Hover

decompression of lower back


  • You will need 2 chairs for this exercise. (kitchen bench top will work too)
  • Hold onto the top of the chairs. (See above)
  • Slowly apply pressure into your hands as to take pressure off your feet.
  • Most of your body weight will be going through your arms.
  • Keep your legs and lower torso completely relaxed.
  • Keep your toes lightly rested on the floor.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Note: Please make sure that the chairs you use are sturdy and can support your body weight.
  • Do not attempt this exercise if you have issues in your upper limb, shoulder or neck.

11. Decompress spine by Hanging


  • Hang off a bar above your head height
  • Allow your body to completely relax.
  • You can keep your feet lightly rested on the floor.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • To increase the stretch: Apply weights to your ankles.
  • Note: Do not attempt this exercise if you have issues in your upper limb, shoulder or neck.

12. Towel under Sacrum Stretch

back block


  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor.
  • Lift your bottom off the floor and place a block (or rolled up towel) under your sacrum.
    • (Make sure that the block is not directly underneath your lower back!)
  • Straighten your legs so that the feet are in contact with the floor.
  • You should feel a comfortable pulling sensation in your lower back.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Lift your bottom upwards and remove the block from underneath you.

13.  Spinal Decompression Devices

The following devices are designed to help you perform your own spinal decompression at home.

(Please consult your healthcare professional prior to using the following.)

a) Anti-gravity boots

b) Mechanical traction

c) Inversion tables

d) Lumbar belts

Make sure to perform Pelvic tilts and Lumbar Rolls once you have completed decompressing your lower back.

14. Sitting technique (Gokhale Method)

Prolonged sitting can increase the amount of compression in your lower back. Here is a great way to take some pressure off your lower back whilst sitting.


  • (You will need a chair with a back rest.)
  • Place your bottom right into the back corner of the seat.
  • Hinge forwards at the hips.
  • Bend your spine forwards by lowering the lower ribs at the front.
  • Place your hands on the seat and gently lift your body upwards.
  • Lean back and hook your mid back on the back rest.
  • Allow your torso to “slide down the chair” whilst keeping your mid back in contact with the back of the chair.
  • Make sure that your pelvis and lower back are still in a NEUTRAL position!

 Remember to ELONGATE your spine and sit up right!

(Imagine that your rib cage is floating on top of your pelvis.)


Performing Spinal Decompression at home can help reduce symptoms in your lower back.

These exercises are designed to work by taking pressure off painful structures such as the nerve, disc and joint.

Consult a healthcare professional prior to starting the exercises to see if they are suitable for you.

What to do next

1. Any questions?… (Leave me a comment down below.)

2. Come join me on the Facebook page. Let’s keep in touch!

3. Start doing the exercises!

19 thoughts on “Spinal Decompression At Home”

  1. Hi Mark,

    What could cause my left rib cage to stick out while my right rib cage is in? I also notice my left shoulder sits a little higher than my right. I do not have scoliosis, but do have winging scapula due to tight muscles.

    Thank you!

    • Hey George,

      Most likely Extension of the left lower back is causing the lower left rib cage at the front to stick out. You might benefit from having a read of this blog post: Flared Ribs.

      Uneven shoulders are usually due to the spine being tilted towards one side (see this post) or one of the shoulder blades is elevated or depressed (see this post).

      If you would like to directly address the winging, see this post: Winged Scapula Exercises.

      All the best!


  2. Hi,

    I was looking for something to help with my back pain and I found your site. I believe I have hyperlordosis and suffer a lot of discomfort. I have started doing some physio exercises/stretches but feel my ribs are also involved. If I lay on my back it feels like I’m laying on a rock under my right rib cage, could this be connected to the curved back do you think?

    Thanks for the page, very helpful.

  3. Hi Mark,

    I just spent my first day using a stand-up desk, and I felt like my back was over-arched. Thankfully Google found your website—I think I have hyperlordosis. I do a lot of yoga so many of your exercises are familiar to me, I just need to tailor them to your recommendations (and cut back on Up Dog and Sphinx Pose!).

    I’m curious to know how much back decompression I should incorporate into my routine. I realize that I have to do lumbar rolls and pelvic tilts between each decompression exercise, so I feel like I would max out at three maybe? Is that too much?

    So glad I found your site Mark. Everything is so well-laid out and well-presented. Thank you for generously sharing your knowledge.

    • Hi Justin,

      You can pick 1-3 exercises from the ones listed in this blog post.

      You do not have to do them all. Pick the one that gives you the most benefit and do it often as required.

      Glad you have found the website! Hope it helps.


  4. These are very very usefull tools to help yourself. It is good to do them carefully and listen to your body. That’s the most important thing. To go with the pace your body tells you.

    I do a variation of No. 8 and 9 for my neck as well. Actually I just gently pull my head “out” and my whole spine elongates. Good stuff.

  5. Mark, amazing website. Just tried a few of your exercises and feel better already, will try much more of them very soon! Thank you from Iceland.

  6. Hey Mark I’ve been trying to find a right program to help with my posture but it all seems over whelming Im not sure where to start.

    Alot of these programs cost alot of money too.

    Quick background:
    Im 5’8 180 lbs with a big gut but i never want to work out because of my lower back issues ( when doing ab workouts) and neck pain when doing shoulder works ( overhead stuff)

    Ive come to research that i have bad neck posture – nerd neck and curved back and just any ab workouts kill my lowerback so it may be a hip fleor issue?

    Your site also has alot..I was wondering what workouts from your site would u recommend cause theres alot? Atm im only thinking of doing pullups dips or push cause anything else hurts.

    doing eercises against the wall is also hard cause way and nim not fleible

    • Hi Yama,

      I hear you. It can definitely be quite overwhelming at the beginning!

      If the lower back is the main thing that is stopping you from working out, I would probably be inclined to address this area first.

      Do you happen to what an anterior pelvic tilt?

      If you do, might be an idea to start with this blog post first.

      If you were looking for some work outs, you can start out by doing the more gentle exercises such as walking and hydrotherapy.



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