Good & Bad Exercises For Lower Back Pain


Although you may feel like you should be resting in order to heal, moving is good for your back. Lower back pain exercises can help strengthen your stomach, back, and leg muscles. They support your spine and relieve back pain. Before you do any exercises for back pain, make sure to consult your doctor. Some exercises might not be appropriate depending on the severity and cause of your pain.  

Avoid: Toe Touches   

Low back pain can be relieved by exercise, but not all exercises are helpful. As muscles get stronger, any mild discomfort should go away. Patients should consult a doctor if they feel pain that lasts longer than 15 minutes or is severe. Certain exercises can worsen pain. For example, standing toe touches can put more stress on your disks and ligaments. They can also strain the lower back and hamstrings.  

Try: Partial Crunches    

If you suffer from acute low-back pain, some exercises may aggravate your back pain. Particular crunches can strengthen your stomach and back muscles. Place your feet on the ground and bend your knees. Cross your arms across your chest, or place your hands behind your neck. Your stomach muscles should be tightened and your shoulders lifted off the ground. As you lift your shoulders, breathe in. Do not use your elbows to lead or pull your neck from the ground. For a second, hold and then slowly lower down. Repeat this 8-12 times. Proper form will prevent excessive stress from your low back. Your lower back, tailbone, feet and toes should always be in contact with the mat.  

Avoid: Sit-ups  

Sit-ups may seem to strengthen your abdominal muscles or core, but most people do sit-ups using muscles in the hips. Sit-ups can also place a lot of pressure on your spine discs.  

Try: Hamstring Stretches  

Place one hand on the knee of your partner and lie down on your back. Place a towel underneath your ball foot. Slowly pull the towel under your foot. Feel a gentle stretch along the back of your leg. For at least 15-30 seconds, hold the position. Repeat the exercise for each leg 2 to 4 times.  

Leg Lifts: Avoid  

Sometimes leg lifts can be used to strengthen your abdominal muscles or core. Although it can help relieve pain, strengthening your lower back may be a good exercise. However, lifting your legs while lying down on your back will strain your core. This exercise can worsen back pain if it is weak. Instead, lie on your back straightening one leg and keeping the other bent at the knee. Keep your lower back flat on the floor. Slowly raise the straight leg about 6 inches. Hold for a moment. Lower leg slowly. Do this 10 times more, and then switch sides.  

Wall Sits  

Stand between 10 and 12 inches from the wall. Then, lean back so that your back is flat against it. Slowly slide down to your knees, and press your lower back against the wall. For 10 counts, hold the position and then slowly slide back up against the wall. Repeat the process 8-12 times.  

You can also try: Press-up back Extensions  

Place your hands on your stomach and place your hands below your shoulders. Push your hands forward so that your shoulders lift off the ground. You can also place your elbows directly below your shoulders, if you feel it is comfortable.  

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Begin by laying on your back. One leg should be extended behind you. Keep hips level. For 5 seconds, hold the position and then switch to your other leg. Repeat the exercise 8-12 times on each leg. You can also try to increase the duration of each lift. For each repetition, lift your opposite arm and extend it. This is a great exercise to help stabilize your low back while moving your arms and legs. Do not let your lower back muscles relax while doing this exercise. Do not raise your limbs higher than is necessary to maintain a low back position.  

You might also try: Knee to your chest    

Place your feet flat on the ground and place your knees on your back. One knee should be bent at your chest. The other foot should remain flat on the ground. Hold the position for between 15 and 30 seconds. Lower your knee, then repeat the process with the other leg. Repeat this process 2 to 4 times per leg.  

Try Pelvic Tilts    

Place your feet flat on the floor and lie on your back. Tend to tighten your stomach as though you are preparing for a punch. Your back will press into the ground, and your hips will rock back. Continue to hold for 10 seconds, while slowly breathing in and out. Repeat this 8-12 times.  

Bridging is a great option  

With your knees bent, lie on your back and place your heels on the ground. Press your heels into the ground, squeeze your buttocks and lift your hips up off the floor so that your shoulders, hips and knees are straight. For about six seconds, hold the position and then lower your hips to rest for 10 seconds. Repeat this 8-12 times. As your hips rise, avoid arching your lower back. Prevent overarching by strengthening your abdominal muscles before and during the lift.  

Lifting weights may be a good idea   

Lifting weights properly doesn’t usually cause any injury to your back. It may even help with chronic back pain. However, if you are suffering from acute (sudden), back pain, adding extra strain to your back muscles or ligaments may increase the risk of injury. Ask your doctor if you should lift weights and which exercises to avoid.  

Try Aerobic Exercise  

Aerobic exercise can strengthen your lungs, heart and blood vessels, and help you lose weight. Back pain can be reduced by walking, swimming, or biking. You can start with small sessions and increase your intensity over time. Swimming is a great way to strengthen your back, especially if you are experiencing pain in your back. Avoid twisting your body.  

Try these Pilates moves  

Pilates is a combination of stretching, strengthening, core abdominal exercises, and Pilates. It may be beneficial for those suffering from back pain if you are taught by an experienced instructor. You may have to stop some moves if you are experiencing back pain.

We hope these lower back exercise tips help you get closer to achieving a pain free lifestyle, but as always we are here to help! We’d love to schedule some training sessions with you, or feel free to stop in for a session in our community open gym. If you’ve got any questions feel free to contact us today! 

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