Lower Back Pain: How Exercise Helps You may feel like resting, but moving is good for your back. Exercises for lower back pain can strengthen back, stomach, and leg muscles. They help support your spine, relieving back pain. Always ask your health care professional before doing any exercise for back pain. Depending on the cause and intensity of your pain, some exercises may not be recommended and can be harmful.
Avoid: Toe Touches
- Exercise is good for low back pain — but not all exercises are beneficial.
- Any mild discomfort felt at the start of these exercises should disappear as muscles become stronger.
- But if the pain is more than mild and lasts more than 15 minutes during exercise, patients should stop exercising and contact a doctor.
- Some exercises may aggravate pain. Standing toe touches, for example, put greater stress on the disks and ligaments in your spine.
- They can also overstretch lower back muscles and hamstrings.
- Although you might think sit-ups can strengthen your core or abdominal muscles, most people tend to use muscles in the hips when doing sit-ups.
- Sit-ups may also put a lot of pressure on the discs in your spine.
Try: Hamstring Stretches
- Lie on your back and bend one knee.
- Loop a towel under the ball of your foot.
- Straighten your knee and slowly pull back on the towel.
- You should feel a gentle stretch down the back of your leg.
- Hold for at least 15 to 30 seconds. Do 2 to 4 times for each leg.
Try: Wall Sits
- Stand 10 to 12 inches from the wall, then lean back until your back is flat against the wall.
- Slowly slide down until your knees are slightly bent, pressing your lower back into the wall.
- Hold for a count of 10, then carefully slide back up the wall.
- Repeat 8 to 12 times.
Try: Press-up Back Extensions
- Lie on your stomach with your hands under your shoulders.
- Push with your hands so your shoulders begin to lift off the floor.
- If it’s comfortable for you, put your elbows on the floor directly under your shoulders and hold this position for several seconds.
Try: Knee to Chest
- Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Bring one knee to your chest, keeping the other foot flat on the floor.
- Keep your lower back pressed to the floor, and hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
- Then lower your knee and repeat with the other leg.
- Do this 2 to 4 times for each leg.