Many people suffer from daily pain or discomfort in the lower back, as well as along the shoulders and neck. Having the back muscles suddenly freeze up completely, referred to as "throwing the back out," is also not uncommon. This is due to the fact that the back muscles are constantly in use, keeping the body supported and upright, even when you're sitting down or lying in bed. Those muscles also provide extra support when you bend, reach, or lift anything.
These demands on the back muscles can cause them to become overworked and tense, which leads to back pain. Keeping those muscles limber can help to alleviate that pain and reduce the risk of injuries; note a few tips on how to do this, and remember to see a doctor or chiropractor if you have chronic, consistent pain anywhere in the back area.
Poor posture can cause back muscles to become tense and stiff, as being hunched over will cut off healthy blood flow to the back, so those muscles aren't being nourished and can't move very easily. When you sit up straight, you are not only opening up the muscles for better blood circulation, but also you are avoiding undue stress on the neck and lower back.
Check your posture throughout the day and get in the habit of correcting it; adjust the mirror in your car to a spot that forces you to sit up straight, and keep it there. Ask a chiropractor about getting a posture brace, which is like a large belt or girdle that simply corrects your posture and keeps those muscles limber.
Proper stretching every day can also loosen the muscles and keep them limber. You might try a very simple, beginner's yoga routine that concentrates on stretching the back muscles. These routines won't get you into odd or weird poses, as you might mistakenly assume, but will simply stretch all the muscles of the back and shoulders and help to increase blood circulation along the upper body.
Relaxing the back
If your back is tense and stiff, you want to relax those muscles. Use a heating pad to increase blood circulation, which will force the muscles to relax and not be as stiff and painful. When lying down, put a pillow under your knees, as this will take pressure off the muscles in the lower back. Sometimes just leaning back and gently rolling your neck can also alleviate that pain and discomfort, and allow the back to relax.
For more information, contact a chiropractic professional.