What Is the Best Exercise for Back Pain?

Medically Reviewed on 11/10/2020

What is the best exercise for back pain?

You can do many exercises to strengthen back muscles.
You can do many exercises to strengthen back muscles.

We are often a bit negligent toward our back while doing chores or physical exercise. The back is such an important part of our bodies, and any issue with it can affect our posture, mobility and ability to perform daily tasks. Unfortunately, the attention toward the health of the back usually goes when there is some discomfort or pain associated with it. Back pain  is perhaps one of the most common reasons people visit their doctors. Several conditions may cause or put you at risk of back pain. These include

  • Old age
  • A strain in the muscles or ligaments 
  • Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis (a condition in which bones become weak and brittle)
  • Bulging or ruptured intervertebral disc (the cushions present between the bones of the back or vertebrae)
  • Poor posture
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Lifting heavy weights
  • Lack of exercise
  • Period cramps (felt in the lower abdomen and back)
  • Smoking
  • Tumors 

While the causes for back pain may vary, regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight are crucial for keeping the back healthy. Smokers are also more vulnerable to get back pain. Smoking can give you a long-term cough, which may cause bulging or rupture of intervertebral discs. Smoking can also compromise blood supply to the bones, increasing the chances of osteoporosis

If your back pain does not subside with routine measures such as stretching, physical therapy or pain medications, you must visit your doctor. Also, before starting any exercise or dietary regimen, you must ask your doctor. It is very important to warm up and stretch before any exercise.

Three of the easy exercises that can be done at home to strengthen your back and ease back pain include

Glute bridges: To do this exercise

  • Lie face upwards on a mat on the floor.
  • Bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the ground with heels touching the floor.
  • While you dig your heels into the ground, simultaneously squeeze your hip muscles.
  • Lift the hips until your shoulders, hips and knees come in a straight line.
  • Hold this position for about five to six seconds.
  • Bring your hips back to the floor slowly. 
  • Rest for five to ten seconds and repeat.
  • Avoid any jerky movements.
  • You may repeat this exercise eight to 15 times or as advised by your healthcare professional.

Knee to chest: To perform this exercise

  • Lie with your back toward the floor.
  • Bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor.
  • Draw your right knee toward your chest while keeping the left foot flat on the floor.
  • Hold this posture for around 15 to 30 seconds making sure that your back is flat on the floor.
  • Avoid the temptation of lifting your lower back or putting pressure on it.
  • Gently lower your right knee. Relax.
  • Now repeat the exercise with your left knee.
  • Avoid any jerky movements.
  • Repeat for four to five times on each knee or as advised by your healthcare professional.

Superman: For this exercise

  • Lie on the floor or exercise mat with your face down.
  • Stretch your arms in front of you so they lie parallel to the floor.
  • Raise your arms, legs and chest simultaneously off the floor.
  • Hold for about two seconds. Remember to breathe out during this movement.
  • Slowly inhale and lower your arms, legs and chest back onto the ground.
  • Repeat for eight to 10 times or as advised by your healthcare professional.

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Medically Reviewed on 11/10/2020
References
Medscape Medical Reference

Mayo Clinic


The Ochsner Journal