4 Exercises to Alleviate Lower Back Pain

Here are some exercises to help lower back pain.

Lower back pain is not fun, but it’s a prevalent issue many people deal with. It can be caused by tight muscles, an injury, or underlying health issues. Unfortunately, this can make daily functions gruesome since your back is essential to movement. 

However, there are certain exercises you can do to strengthen your lower back and alleviate pain. This article will cover the four exercises you should implement if you are experiencing any lower back pain. 

Prevalence of Lower Back Pain

According to the National Institute of Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), at least 80 percent of Americans will experience low back pain at some point in their life. Typically, the older you get, the more you’re at risk. That’s because as you age, there’s a reduction in the fluid in between the vertebrae in your spine. (1)

Keeping your back strong and healthy will carry over to the rest of your health and daily activities. A strong back is essential for supporting your body, bones, ligaments, and core stability. 

Lifestyle factors and not enough proper exercise causes many people to face back issues. Lower back pain makes moving more difficult, and if you’re an athlete or want to make progress with your physique, preventing and healing all back ailments is vital. 

What Causes Lower Back Pain

Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain often stems from other muscles that aren’t your back, such as your glutes and your lifestyle. 

Tigh Glutes

Having tight glutes is a big culprit to lower back pain, so it’s important you’re doing exercises to strengthen and stretch your glutes to reduce lower back pain. (2)

Weak Abdominals

If your abs are weak, there’s a good chance you’ll experience some lower back pain. Start incorporating more core workouts into your strength training plan, and your back will reap the benefits. 

In fact, this 2019 study found that women with lower back pain had weaker abdominals compared to a group with stronger abs. (3)

Desk Jobs

Your occupation may have more to blame for your back health than you think. Desk jobs are common, but it’s not natural for us to be sitting behind a desk for eight-plus hours a day. It’s important that you take periodical breaks from sitting throughout the day and maintain good posture — try not to round your shoulders or slouch too much and sit upright.

This study shows that the more you sit, the higher your chances of developing lower back pain. (4)

4 Exercises for Lower Back Pain

hip thrusts to reduce lower back pain

Note: If you’re used to throwing around heavy weights in the gym, the exercises below may seem too easy for you. Before you dismiss them completely, know they’re supposed to be light and are for the health of your back, not hitting new personal records (PR’s). 

Glute Bridge

How to Do

Lie down supine on the ground and bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground with your arms by your side. Lift your hips off the ground until your body forms a straight line. Squeeze your glutes for a couple of seconds, then lower your hips back to the starting position. 

Benefits

  • Targets your glutes. 
  • Improves your hip mobility. 

Bird Dog

How to Do

Kneel down and lie your hands down on a matt beneath your shoulders while keeping your back straight, making sure your neck is relaxed and looking down. Lift one arm off the ground and do the same thing with your opposite leg while staying parallel to the ground. Pause for a second, then return to the starting position. 

Benefits

  • Work your glutes and abdominals. 
  • Increases your balance. 

Superman

How to Do

Lie prone on the ground with your arms extended out in front of you. Raise your arms and legs off the ground as high as you can and hold it for a second. Lower your arms and legs back to the ground. 

Benefits

  • It focuses on your lower back. 
  • Engages your abs, glutes, and hamstrings. 

Plank

How to Do

Rest your elbows under your shoulders and position your body parallel with the ground and hold for as long as you can. 

Benefits

  • Strengthens your core. 
  • Targets your spine, rhomboids, and trapezius. 

Stretches You Can Do

Aside from exercises, stretching is beneficial for your back health as well. Try out the few stretches below. 

Cobra

How to Do

While lying prone, place your hands down on the ground and straighten your arms to lift your chest up off the ground while looking up. Hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds. 

Benefits

  • Healthy for your spine. 
  • Stretches your abdominal muscles. 
  • Lengthens your neck, shoulders, and lungs to alleviate stress. 

Figure-4

How to Do

Lie on your back with your knees bent. Next, bring your ankle to the opposite leg and cross your legs. Lastly, reach through the gap between your legs to grasp your leg on the ground and pull towards your chest. 

Benefits

  • Improves your hip mobility. 
  • Relieves tension in your glutes and lower back. 

Child’s Pose

How to Do

Kneel on the floor and lower your torso to the ground and flex your hips while extending your arms out in front of you with your palms facing down. Rest in this position as long as you’d like. 

Benefits

  • Stretches your spine and hips. 
  • Relaxes your mind and body. 

What Else Can Cause Back Lower Pain? 

Aside from not strengthening and stretching the correct muscle groups, poor health and diseases, such as cancer of your spinal cord, herniated disc, sciatica, arthritis, and spine and kidney conditions may lead to lower back pain. Also, you could have strained your back from excessive physical activity. 

If there is cause for concern that your back pain is stemming from an underlying health issue, seeing a medical professional is recommended. 

Final Word

Lower back pain is common and underlying health issues may be to blame, however, having a weak core and glutes can be a big culprit to the problem. Implement the strategies in this article to reduce back pain. If pain persists, seeking a medical professional is advised. 

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References

  1. Wong, A. Y., Karppinen, J., & Samartzis, D. (2017). Low back pain in older adults: risk factors, management options and future directions. Scoliosis and spinal disorders, 12, 14. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13013-017-0121-3
  2. Sadler, S., Cassidy, S., Peterson, B., Spink, M., & Chuter, V. (2019). Gluteus medius muscle function in people with and without low back pain: a systematic review. BMC musculoskeletal disorders, 20(1), 463. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12891-019-2833-4
  3. Kato, S., Murakami, H., Demura, S., Yoshioka, K., Shinmura, K., Yokogawa, N., Igarashi, T., Yonezawa, N., Shimizu, T., & Tsuchiya, H. (2019). Abdominal trunk muscle weakness and its association with chronic low back pain and risk of falling in older women. BMC musculoskeletal disorders, 20(1), 273. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12891-019-2655-4
  4. Bontrup, C., Taylor, W. R., Fliesser, M., Visscher, R., Green, T., Wippert, P. M., & Zemp, R. (2019). Low back pain and its relationship with sitting behaviour among sedentary office workers. Applied ergonomics, 81, 102894. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apergo.2019.102894
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As a personal trainer and writer, Terry loves changing lives through coaching and the written word. Terry has a B.S. in Kinesiology and is an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer. When he's not writing or training, he enjoys playing music, reading, and film.