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Lower Back Pain Ruining Your Day? Try These 10 Exercises

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Lower back pain reduces the ability to focus and drains people who suffer from it. Instead of taking painkillers, many patients are switching to exercise to help their bodies work better. Not all exercise will help every person, but these ten exercises are a great place to start.

Wall sits

Instead of sitting around doing nothing, why not try wall sits? Simply stand with the back to the wall. Carefully lean into the wall until the entire back rests firmly along the length. Then, bend the knees and slide down the wall. The best thing about this exercise is that it delivers benefits even when the knees are only slightly bent. The key to doing this one successfully is to make sure the back remains fully and firmly against the wall while the position is held. Hold the position for the count of ten and then slowly rise. More information is available at fitnessrealm.co.

Modified leg lifts

Leg lifts help strengthen muscles, but many people with lower back pain find that they exacerbate pain. Instead of lifting both legs at the same time, try lifting just one. Lie on the ground and extend one leg. This will be the leg that is lifted. The other leg should be comfortably bent at the knee. This will help to stabilize the lower body. Slowly lift the extended leg, hold it to the count of ten, and then lower it slowly. Do a few reps with each leg.

Stretch the hamstrings

When the hamstring muscles of the legs are too tight, they cause pain in the lower back. Gentle stretching relieves this pain and helps the lower back readjust itself. To perform this stretch, lie on your back with one leg bent. Raise the other leg and, using a towel, pull that leg gently towards the body. Stop if the pain becomes sharp and hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds. Repeat at least five times with each leg to get the best stretch.

Modified sit-ups

Sit-ups are notorious for placing strain on already overworked spines. They are designed to increase core strength but don’t work well when lower back pain is present. Change how sit-ups are done by lying on the ground and keeping both legs bent. Before beginning, extend both arms past the head. Then, use those arms to rise to a sitting position. When back pain is severe, even this exercise may be too much to do. Consider trying a gentler exercise instead.

Bring knees to chest

This gentle exercise is a great way to stretch the muscles of the lower back while working the legs. This exercise doesn’t require much room to do, so it can be done in most homes. Start by lying on the back with the lower back pressed firmly to the floor. Bend the knees and place both feet firmly and flatly on the floor. Once in position, begin by pulling one leg towards the chest. Hold the position for 30 seconds and repeat with each leg at least five times to get a good stretch.

Tilt the pelvis

The pelvic tilt requires help from the abdominal muscles to work. Lie on the floor with knees bent and feet firmly on the ground. Tightening the stomach muscles while in this position will pull the pelvis upwards. Breathe slowly and steadily through the exercise. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat. Tilting the pelvis releases muscles that are cramped and overworked. In addition to this exercise, many people find relief from pain by working at a standing desk to reduce muscle tension.

Touch the toes

Be careful when performing this exercise. When people have sciatica, it can often increase pain instead of relieving it. However, for some people, it is an effective way of stretching the back and releasing tension. Starting from a standing position, bend over and try to touch the toes. Start by reaching for the left toes with the left hand. Over time, increase the side stretch by using the hand on the opposite side of the body to reach for the toes on the other side. This may take time to achieve, so it is important to allow the body to hang and stretch slowly. Never force this stretch, and be patient.

Extend the back by pressing up

This gentle exercise requires starting by laying on the stomach on the floor. Both hands are laid in front of the body with arms bent at the elbow. To begin the exercise, simply press upwards with the arms until the head and upper back rise from the floor. It is important not to overextend, so pay attention to how the body is reacting. Once a comfortable position is reached, hold that position for several minutes and relax into the extension.


People with back pain often swear by the comfort they find in a pool. Try swimming regularly, and make a point to extend and flex the body while it is submerged in the water. Many gyms have classes in pools to help people with back pain regain mobility. Long, slow stretches made while the body is supported by surrounding water are relaxing and invigorating. Instead of pounding the pavement to release tension, try sinking into a big, wet world.

Engage in cardiovascular exercise to get the blood flowing

Sometimes, back pain is the result of too many toxins concentrated in one area of the body. Cardiovascular exercise increases blood flow and helps to clear those toxins. That’s one reason people who work out feel so good afterwards. It’s a cleansing activity. However, to be effective, the exercises must be done properly. Consider working with a trainer or attending a class to exercise the right way.

Lower back pain reduces the enjoyment of life. Many people find that regular exercise helps them reduce pain more than taking painkillers. These ten exercises are designed to work the muscles that need stretching and strengthening to carry the load without delivering a jolt of pain. Try them to see if they work for you.


Image credit: Freepik

Dennis Relojo-Howell is the managing director of Psychreg. He interviews people within psychology, mental health, and well-being on his YouTube channel, The DRH Show.


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