14 Good and Bad Exercises for Lower Back Pain

Exercises for Lower Back Pain
Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
 

Lower back is a common problem that affects most people at some point in their lives. Even though both genders can develop pain in this area of the body, women are more prone than men. The intensity of lower back pain varies; some people feel mild discomfort while others experience tremendous and severe pain.

Luckily, this problem is manageable and although getting some much-needed rest is recommended, don’t be sedentary for too long. In fact, the balance between rest and exercise is an important aspect of lower back pain management. Bearing in mind exercise for lower back pain is essential, this post aims to inform you about maneuvers you should do and exercises to avoid.

What are the Best Exercises for Lower Back Pain?

The last thing you should do when suffering from lower back pain is to go to bed and stay there as long as possible. As mentioned above, getting some rest is important but you also have to be active. One study found that exercise is safe for patients with low back pain because it doesn’t increase* the risk of future back injuries. Moreover, exercise has a tremendous potential to improve* back flexibility and strength. Below, you can see the best lower back pain exercise examples.

1. Partial crunch

Partial crunch

Partial crunch is one of the classic exercises to strengthen your core, but it also builds strength in the lower back. With this simple exercise, you can strengthen both the back and your abdominal muscles, and you can relieve pain. In order to do this exercise, you should:

  • Lie flat on the ground with knees bent
  • Cross your arms over the chest or put them behind your head, choose the option that is more convenient to you
  • Keep stomach muscles tight and raise your shoulders from the ground
  • Breathe out and hold the position for one-two seconds and release
  • Do 8-12 repetitions

2. Child pose

Child pose

Child pose is an incredibly easy exercise that relieves tension in the lower back area. The exercise can relieve the pain and help you move around more easily. Here’s how to do it:

  • Kneel down on a yoga mat or a blanket and, if possible, sit on your heels
  • Extend arms in front of you and kneel forward
  • Rest your head on the ground in front of you
  • Stay in this position for 30 seconds to two minutes

Remember, if you feel pain while performing this exercise for lower back pain, cross your arms on the floor and rest on the forearms.

3. Hamstring stretches

Hamstring stretches

Hamstring stretches to relieve the back of your leg, the point where some muscles that support lower back are located. I order to do this simple exercise, you need a fitness band or a towel. Then, you should:

  • Lie on the ground with one knee bent
  • Threat a fitness band or a towel under ball of the foot on your unbent leg
  • Slowly, pull back on the towel trying to straighten the knee. At this point, you will feel gentle stretch on the back side of your leg
  • Stay in the position holding the stretch for about 15-30 seconds
  • Release
  • Repeat the same process two to four times with each leg

4. Wall sit

Wall sit

Prolonged sitting can only aggravate lower back pain, which is why this exercise is ideal. Wall sit help you ease the pain after you’ve been sedentary for a while, perfect for office workers and other people who experience pain in the lower back due to their occupation. So, to practice wall sits, you should:

  • Stand straight with back facing the wall and at a distance of about 10-12 inches
  • Lean against the wall carefully
  • Start sliding down the wall until the knees are bent, at the same time make sure you press low back into the wall
  • Count to 10 before returning to the starting position
  • Do 8-12 reps

5. Cat/Cow

Cat/Cow

Cat/cow is a simple yoga pose or stretching exercise for improved* forward and backward movement of the entire spine. Here are the instructions:

  • Get on all fours making sure knees are under hips and hands under shoulders
  • Exhale
  • Round the back toward the ceiling slowly while lowering the head toward the ground
  • Reverse the process
  • Making sure your arms are straight, arch your back and inhale, bring belly and chest toward the ground, and your head up

If you experience pain during this exercise, try performing it more slowly or decrease* the range of motion.

6. Press-up back extensions

Press-up back extensions

This is one of the easiest exercises you can do to alleviate lower back pain and prevent discomfort from occurring (with regular exercise, of course). The process is easy:

  • Lie on the stomach with hands right under shoulders
  • Push down on your hands. At this point, you will feel shoulders are starting lifting off the ground
  • Set the elbows on the ground
  • Spend several seconds in this position
  • Release and repeat

7. Clamhell

Clamhell

Clam is an exercise that supports the healthy hip movement, thus taking the pressure off the lower back area. Here’s how to do this lower back pain exercise>:

  • Lie on the left side with feet stacked and knees bent at 90-degree angle in front of you
  • Lift your right knee as far away from the left as possible while keeping the feet together and ensuring* hips are vertical
  • Hold the position for a few seconds then return to the start
  • Do 15 reps on each side

If you experience pain during this exercise, it means you should make sure to avoid twisting lower back through the movement.

8. Bird dog

Bird dog

Bird dog is yet another yoga posture that can serve as a wonderful exercise for the lower back area. This maneuver teaches you to stabilize low back during movements of arms and legs. To do this exercise, you should:

  • Get on all fours
  • Tighten the muscles in your abdomen
  • Lift and extend one leg behind you and keep it at your hip level
  • Stay in the position for five seconds
  • Switch sides
  • Do 12 reps on each side

Exercise Mistakes that make the Lower Back Pain Worse

While some exercises have the tremendous potential to alleviate the pain in the lower back area, others can only aggravate it. Now that you have eight pain relief options, here are exercise mistakes to avoid.

posture we should avoid

9. Toe touches

Despite the fact toe touches are easy to perform, they’re a wrong kind of exercise for lower back pain. In fact, they only worsen the pain because of too much stress on spinal discs and ligaments. Also, toe touches overstretch hamstrings and lower back muscles.

10. Sit-ups

Sit-ups are probably the most commonly performed exercise, but you should avoid them if you deal with lower back pain. They cause too much pressure and spinal discs and increase* the risk of injury. Sit-ups don’t alleviate lower back pain, they enhance* it.

11. Leg lifts

This is yet another exercise that seems too easy to cause any harm to the lower back area. Lying on your back and lifting both legs off the ground increases* the risk of injury and aggravates the pain. The reason is simple, when you lift both legs at the same time, the pressure on lower back increases*.

12. Incline leg presses

While leg press machine can give you ripped and strong legs, you should stay away from it when you’re dealing with lower back pain. Why? When you use this machine, your back is in flexed, uncomfortable position and the risk of injury is greater.

13. Jogging

Jogging is a popular activity, it helps you stay in shape, keeps weight in a healthy range, but it also puts too much strain on your back and aggravates pain you experience. This pressure is particularly noticeable when jogging on hard surfaces.

14. Bent over rows

Even though bent over rows are known as back exercises, they still carry certain risks. The exercise forces the lower back area to do all the work and increases* the pressure on this part of your body.

Conclusion

Benefits of exercise for lower back pain are well-documented, but you can’t do just about any movement. Some exercises do great work in pain relief, while others aggravate discomfort by enhancing* pressure on your back. Be wise, do low-impact exercises that stabilize your muscles without adding extra stress.

References

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Author

Expert Author : Beth Solomon (Consumer Health Digest)

Beth Solomon has been writing articles on health for more than two years with a concentration on pain management and men’s and women’s health and fitness. She has been a contributing editor to Consumer Health Digest since 2013.