Lower back pain is one of the most common conditions out there. In fact, 80% of the population will experience back pain at some point in their lives. There’s no doubt that back pain is pervasive and frustrating.
If you’re looking to get back pain relief, it’s a good idea to exercise regularly. Experts recommend exercise because it can keep your muscles from getting too stiff or tense. Depending on your exercise plan, you can also build your lumbar muscles and prevent back pain in the future. A good way to do this is through stretching exercises specifically designed for your back.
How back-friendly exercises can help
Stretching exercises are proven to help lower back pain. Specifically, exercises like this can improve back flexibility, strength, and endurance. At the same time, they can also reduce back pain to up to 10-50% in the long run. By building up your back muscles and making them more flexible, you’ll see significant improvements in your back pain.
Before you get started
Before you begin, make sure you’re ready to go! Check out our pre-exercise tips, which will make sure that you’re setting yourself up for successful and safe exercise. In general, you should:
Warm-up before you start your daily back exercises. This will ensure that your muscles are ready to bend and move, without any stiffness.
Check your sports shoes. They shouldn’t be worn out or otherwise unsuitable. Uncomfortable shoes can exacerbate your back pain.
Drink water so that your spine is hydrated and your muscles are fueled.
Don’t do too much, too fast. Build your strength and flexibility step-by-step. Don’t push your body too far before its ready.
Stop if you experience pain. These exercises should feel pleasant, not painful. If you’re experiencing pain, stop immediately.
Exercises for back pain relief
Now, let’s get moving! We’ll go over some stretches that you can incorporate into your daily morning routine for long-lasting relief from lower back pain. Ideally, your back pain exercise plan should include stretching, stability, strengthening and movement exercises.
Try to create a plan that includes all four of these types - or you can even sign up for Injurymap’s app for a personalized back pain plan. The app includes a 14-days free trial that lets you try out its various training programs for reducing pain.
Either way, it’s important to get all these kinds of exercises so that your back gets flexible, balanced, strong and dynamic. Let’s go through one exercise example per type below.
1. Stretching exercise example: Standing thigh stretch
One of the best stretch exercises for your back is the standing thigh stretch. You can hold this stretch for 30 seconds and do 3 sets. All you have to do is bend your knee and use your hand to pull your foot up and back. Your thighs should press together as you hold. If you need to, you can hold onto a chair or a rail.
Other good stretching exercises for your lower back:
2. Stability exercise example: Lying pelvic lift
If you’re looking to improve stability and balance in your lower back, you can also try the lying pelvic lift. This exercise can be done by lying on your back and bending your knees. Then, lift your pelvis up, keeping your body flat as you tilt it. Hold, then lower your back to the ground slowly. You can do this exercise 3 times.
Other good stability exercises for your lower back:
3. Strengthening exercise example: Crunches
Lie down on your back with your knees bent. Cross your arms over your chest and lift your shoulder blades off the floor. You can hold this position for 2-3 seconds and then lower your upper body. You can do this exercise 3 times.
Other good strengthening exercises for your lower back:
4. Movement exercise example: Curl and sway on knees
Get on your hands and knees. Slowly curve your back up and then down. You should be moving slowly enough that these movements take about 2-4 seconds. Try to do 10 sets of this up and down stretch.
Other good movement exercises for your lower back:
Other back pain tips
These exercise examples are a great way to get started with a daily stretching routine for your lower back pain. By taking care of your back, you’ll be able to prevent future pain and live your life without your back getting in the way.
Besides these stretching exercises, you can also combat back pain with different changes to your lifestyle. It’s a good time to take a holistic approach to back so that you’re not triggering pain unintentionally:
Follow an anti-inflammatory diet: Forget the fast food and try to consume whole foods. These include fresh fruits and veggies, fish and nuts, whole grains and olive oil.
Watch your posture: Avoid slouching and contorting your body during the day. You should always sit to the back of your chair and stand with your shoulders loose and down. Be sure to check your sleeping position as well - avoid starting the night on your stomach.
We hope these exercises and tips help you stay pain-free!
About Dr. Brent Wells
Dr. Brent Wells is a graduate of the University of Nevada where he earned his bachelor of science degree before moving on to complete his doctorate from Western States Chiropractic College.
He founded Better Health Chiropractic in Wasilla. He became passionate about being in the chiropractic field after his own experiences with hurried, unprofessional healthcare providers.