Exercises for Lower Back Pain Relief

Whether it is a mild pain or chronic pain, exercises form a major part of treatment for back pain.

At some point of time, almost 80 percent of individuals suffer from varying degrees of back pain. Back pain is caused by many factors. Yet, inactivity or sedentary lifestyle accounts as the major cause of back pain. Back pain may range from acute pain to intolerable pain that restricts your mobility.

A basic response to back pain is, just take it easy. It can be resolved with ease. You may feel like you want to take some rest and sleep for while to get rid of back pain. Yet, back pain will not subside with rest; rather rest aggravates the pain. Moving and exercising is the best remedy for back pain, it is one of the most effective ways to relieve back pain.

Exercises strengthen the muscles of the lower back, thighs, legs and abdomen. When your pain is intense or if you suffer from any chronic condition that leads to severe pain, you may need to consult with a healthcare professional before doing any exercise for back pain. In case of acute pain or back pain caused due to poor lifestyle, doing some simple exercises everyday reduces the pain and also prevents the recurrence. Here is the list of simple stretches, exercises and tips for lower back pain.

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5 Easy Exercises for Lower Back Pain Treatment

Sometimes, staying active is quite sufficient to get rid of the moderate episodes of back pain. Staying active doesn’t mean you should fix a workout routine or hit the gym, etc. Just modify your daily activities so that you can avoid being sedentary. For instance,

  • Walking to market or grocery store instead of taking your scooter or car
  • Getting down from your bus at a stop before and walk to your place
  • Mopping your floor once in two days
  • Taking your dog for a walk
  • Playing with your child in the outdoors etc.

1. Walk to Reduce Lower Back Pain and Stay Active

From the face of it, it is apparent that walking makes an easy exercise for lower back pain. Walking is a whole body workout. Although it cannot be helpful in reducing chronic back pain, it prevents you from becoming a potato couch.
Walking reduces the stress on the muscles. It soothes the nerves and improves blood circulation and oxygenation. Oxygenated blood supply makes the muscles active and provides relief from pain. Just walk for 20 minutes a day to keep the back pain at bay.

2. Wall Push to Strengthen the Core Muscles

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This is a simple and easy exercise to get rid of lower back pain. It strengthens your core muscles and reduces stiffness of the body.
  • Stand facing a wall
  • Place both your palm against the wall
  • Gently push the wall and make yourself comfortable in the standing position
  • Both your foot should be flat and just lean your body towards the floor
  • Push your hands harder on the wall without moving your legs
Try this for 30 seconds and gradually increase to 2 minutes. This simple exercise strengthens all your upper body muscles, not to say the back muscles too.

3. Lunges for Lower Back Pain Treatment

Lunges refer to a position where one leg is bent forward with flat foot and other leg is positioned behind.
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  • Stand straight
  • Move left leg forward and keep your foot flat on the floor.
  • Stretch the right leg back
  • The right leg from knee to your toes should touch the floor
  • Support this position by holding the left leg on knees.
  • Stay in this position for 10 counts and repeat it with other leg.
Alternatively, you can try it the other way.
  • Stand on your knees.
  • Gradually move the left leg forward as much as you can
  • Hold your position for 10 counts
Your entire back is stretched and strengthened.

4. Pelvic Lift to Ease Away Lower Back Pain

This is a simple exercise that strengthens your lower back muscles and eases away the pain in a few minutes. It also tones your hip and abdominal muscles.
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  • Lie flat on your back
  • Keep the knees bent
  • Place your hands stretched at either sides
  • Slowly raise your pelvis  (raise the lower back, whereas your torso stay on the floor)
  • Don’t support it with your hands and try to stay as longer as you can.
Within few minutes you can find relief from pain.

5. Leg lift for Lower Back pain

Leg lift is not recommended in case of severe back pain. Raising the legs to 90 degrees may hurt your back and causes more pain. However, this is different. The major restriction on leg lift in case of moderate to chronic back pain is lifting both the legs simultaneously! Lifting one leg at a time doesn’t put much pressure on your back. These leg lift workouts won’t hurt you.
a. Reclining Leg Lift 
 
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  • Lie flat
  • Slowly raise your left leg just to 45 degrees (slightly about the floor)
  • Hold this position and count as long as you stay comfortable.
  • Repeat with right leg.
Repeat the set of leg lifts 5 times. After completion of one set, you can increase the distance between the floor and your leg. Just raise your leg to 60 degrees. If you feel your back strains, just halt. If you can continue, do the third set by raising your leg straight to 90 degrees! But don’t stress yourself, lift your leg up to where it doesn’t hurt you.
Remember to stop the leg lift exercise when you feel extra pressure or strain on your back. However, doing this everyday will not only help you reduce pain but also strengthen the back and thigh muscles.
b. Leg Lift with a Chair 
Don’t you love to get rid of back pain just by lying down for a few minutes? Here is your lazy way to alleviate lower back pain.
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  • Place a chair with a soft pillow
  • Lie down and lift your leg
  • Your upper body should stay put on the floor, while the lower body from your thigh should elevate.
  • Raise your leg and place the knees on the chair, stretch the legs over the pillow and stay in this position for a few minutes.
  • It treats the sore muscles and provides good relief from back pain.

5 Simple Exercises for Chronic Lower Back Pain Treatment

Chronic lower back pain affects your mobility. You cannot sit, you cannot stand, you cannot walk or you cannot lie flat. It hurts you badly. Chronic pain is often an outcome that you ignored the back pain in the initial stages. It is never too late to do some exercise to reduce the episodes of chronic lower back pain.
While you have to be very careful in doing certain exercises with chronic back pain, there are simple and safe exercises that can reduce the pain.

1. Lumbar Exercise for Chronic Lower Back Pain

In most cases where a chronic back pain is experienced, the underlying reason could be any injury to the lumbar or sacral joints in the spine. Lumbar extension reduces the constriction, makes room for muscle movement, stretches the muscles and lessens the inflammation. All these collectively reduce the lower back pain.
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  • Lie on your stomach
  • Place your hands near your chest
  • Slowly raise your upper body and support yourself with palms pressing the floor
  • It’s just like a reflex. When you press your hands hard on the floor, raise your body.
  • Lift your body and stretch backwards as far as possible that it doesn’t hurt your back
  • Try to retain in this position for a minute

2. Spinal Twist

When your spine is erect and stiff affecting your mobility with radiating pain, just do this spinal twist exercise. There are many variations to spinal twists. Reclining spinal twists provide instant relief from chronic back pain.
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  • Lie on your back with knees bent and foot on floor.
  • Stretch your hands either side
  • Tuck in your chin and watch the ceiling
  • Don’t move your torso
  • Lean your lower body left side from your hips
  • Your left leg (it should be bent on knees) should touch the floor and right leg placed over the left leg.
  • While the upper body remains erect, the lower body should incline on the left.
  • Stay in this position for a few counts as long as you feel comfortable.
  • Slowly raise your legs and come back to normal posture.
  • Repeat it with right side.
It works on all muscles from your lower back to legs and provides instant relief from back pain.

3. Ankle over Knee

This is one of the ancient practices that cures and reduces the aggravating episodes of chronic back pain. You can do this every day. Just spend a few minutes before you sleep and you will find immense relief from chronic back pain.
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  • Lie on your back and bend your knees
  • Place the right ankle over the left knee
  • Stay in this position for 10 minutes (yes 10 minutes without any change)
  • That’s it.
  • Repeat it and place left ankle over right knee
In three to five minutes, you will feel a mild stress or strain on your nerves radiating from your hip. Don’t worry it is not a sign of pressure. It works effectively when you practice it for 10 days continuously.

4. Abdominal Contractions

Strengthening your back is a core part of chronic lower back pain treatment.  Working on your abs will strengthen your back. Practicing abdominal contractions helps your back to regain the strength.
  • Lie on your back and place the hands below the rib cage
  • Bend your knees and this ensures comfort
  • Just contract your abs and pull it inside
  • You should feel that you are squeezing your ribs towards the back
  • Hold contraction for 10 seconds or less as long as you are comfortable
  • Slowly expand your abs
  • Repeat it for 10 times.
  • Don’t forget to breathe while you constrict your abdominal muscles

5. Wall Sit – Modified version of Squat

It is an easy and modified version of squat. All you need is wall to support your back. Squats, sit-ups and crunches aren’t recommended when you suffer from chronic back pain. Yet, this modified version of squats is safe. You can easily get rid of the intensity of the pain with ease.
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Sit like you were on a chair (but no chair) while your back is supported by a wall! That’s it. Stay put for a few seconds as long as you are comfortable. 
This is the best strengthening exercise for your lower body. It takes off all the pressure from your body that caused by bad posture. It also works on all the muscles in your lower body and thighs!

6 Simple Stretches for Lower Back Pain Treatment

When your back is stiff and tends to hurt you more with prolonged sitting, you should stretch a little. In fact stretching is the best way to kick start any workout routine. Many times, doing some simple stretches for lower back pain is enough to get rid of the acute and moderate pain. Stretching reduces the stiffness of the muscles and improves the mobility. When the muscles are relaxed, it alleviates the pain.
A recent study about the effect of stretching exercise on back pain puts it at par with yoga for lower back pain.
Stretching exercises are classified into two:
  1. Static exercises – Holding a certain pose for a few seconds to a few minutes
  2. Dynamic exercises – Involving a range of stretching movements

In most cases, static stretching exercises are sufficient to reduce the lower back pain. Let us see about the simple stretches for lower back pain.

1. Knee to Chest

This is a very easy exercise that manipulates the muscles in your thighs, back , butt, legs and stomach.
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  • Lie flat on your back.
  • Keep the left knee bent and place the feet flat on the floor.
  • Keep the right leg straight flat on the floor, where the ankle touches the floor.
  • Bend the left knee and bring it to your chest. (You may not be able to do it perfectly or bring it closer to chest initially for few days)
  • Hug the bent leg and stay put for 10 counts.
  • Repeat the same for right leg.
It gives a good stretch to the back, butt and thigh muscle and relives pain quickly. It also helps reducing the sciatica pain and swelling.
Do this stretch for around 5 times each side. Besides, you can also do this with both legs simultaneously! It also helps you reducing your belly fat and aids in digestion.

2. Hamstring Stretch

When it comes to lower back pain treatment, it is impossible to ignore hamstring stretch. There are many versions to hamstring stretch. Hamstring stretch tones and stretches the muscles from middle back to your toes.
Hamstring stretch without any accessory
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  • Lie flat on your back
  • Hold the left leg around your knees with both hands.
  • Gradually lift your leg and straighten it.
  • Hold your leg in this position for 15 seconds and repeat the same with other leg.
Once you master this exercise, you can hold your feet with both the hands.
Hamstring stretch with accessory 
The difference is how you hold the legs. Instead of holding your leg with hands, you can get the balance and support the leg raise with a shawl or exercise rope.
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  • Lie flat on your back
  • Place a towel or any other cloth behind the knee or feet on your left leg. Hold both ends of the cloth in both hands
  • Gradually raise your left leg and adjust the supporting cloth to lift the leg.
  • Stay in this position for 10 seconds.
Using a cloth or rope will be more comfortable to do a hamstring stretch. You can stretch the leg easily.

3. Chair Stretch

Stretching your entire back from hip to the heel enables easy movement and reduces pain to a great extent. This exercise relives the swelling, twitched muscles, spasms and pinched nerves.
a. Standing Chair Stretch 
You can use chair or table. Make sure the height of the chair / table is comfortable to place your leg.
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  • Put a chair near the wall.
  • Place your left leg on the chair
  • Slowly bend on your left to stretch your body and try to touch the feet without moving your legs
  • If you feel too much strain, stop it and return back to standing position.
  • Repeat it with other leg
b. Sitting Chair Stretch 
 
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  • Sit on a chair with legs placed wide apart (you would need an arm-less chair)
  • Take your right hand and try to touch the left leg (You may not be able to touch the left leg. Once you practice it regularly, you can master this stretching workout)
  • Return back to normal and try it with left hand and right leg
c. Seated Stretch 
 
  • Sit on floor with legs placed straight and make sure the heel touch the floor
  • Hold your left leg with left hand and try to touch the left knee with your head
  • You will feel a lot of pressure on your calf muscle
  • Try not to bend your knees and stretch your lower back
  • Stay in this position for 10 counts and repeat with other side.
These stretching exercises relax your muscles and stimulate the nerves.

4. Side Stretches

This is a simple stretch that heals your strained back
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  • Stand straight
  • Place the right hand near the lower abdomen and the left hand above your head
  • Gently bend right side
  • Don’t stretch yourself too much
  • Stretch and bend as long as you are comfortable. When you feel strain near your hips stop it.
  • Hold in this position for 10 counts and repeat the other side.

5. Back Stretch

Stretching your back is an effective option to reduce the strain on your back. It is good to release the stiffness of the muscles. When forward bending is prohibited, backward bending works great!
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  • Stand straight with legs slightly placed apart (not too close or not too wide)
  • Place your hands supporting your back at hips. Just hold the hips at either sides
  • Slowly bend backwards
  • Make sure you tilt the head and can see what’s on your back by bending.
  • Don’t stretch too much.
  • Hold the position for 10 counts and gradually move back to standing position.

Do this for 5 times. You can combine the side stretches and back stretches together to refresh your strained muscles.

6. Piriformis Muscle Stretching

The piriformis muscle runs from the back of your spine to the thigh bone called femur! When this muscle gets inflamed or strained, it cause tightness and restrict the mobility. It further causes sciatic pain radiating from your back to the ankle. Stretching the piriformis muscle help you reduce swelling and pain.
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  • Lie flat on your back
  • Bend both your legs and keep the foot flat on the floor.
  • Raise the left leg and place the right leg over the left knee. (Check the image)
  • Hold your legs to support this position.
  • Stay in this position for 10 counts and gradually release it.
  • Repeat it with other leg
This provides quick relief from sciatic pain and severe back pain.

General Tips for Lower Back Pain Treatment

  • Start mildly and don’t overdo the exercises. Spine is a delicate organ. Over exercising hurts it further. So, if you are beginner to exercise, start at a slow pace and exercise for no more than 20 minutes a day.
  • Do stretching exercises to get some flexibility. In fact the major cause of pain is poor flexibility in the body. Stretching warm up the body.
  • If you have chronic back pain, consult with your doctor before starting with any exercise routine. Chronic back pain is often linked with spinal deformity, which ranges from bulging disc to sciatic pain or inflammation of the spine.
  • Don’t do any sit-ups or forward bending exercises when you have moderate to severe back pain. It may lead to aggravation of pain and inflammation of spine. Also, take adequate steps to prevent back pain while working at computer if you need to sit for longer periods in front of the equipment.
  • Besides, these exercises for lower back pain, stability ball exercises and swimming is recommended. It works at its best and more effective over other types of exercise. However, you need a guide to help you learn swim (if you haven’t learned it) and to do stability ball workouts. You may even consider doing these water exercises for low back pain.
  • Don’t overdo these exercises as they may overstretch your muscles and tendons.
When you start doing these exercises, you may feel mild discomfort. However, upon regular practice over two or three days, it should disappear because the muscles get stronger. If the pain persists and increases, consult your doctor immediately. Exercises for lower back pain relief, anyways, should be done after consulting your doctor.
Image source: Google images

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