10 exercises that help relieve lower back pain

10 exercises that help relieve lower back pain

Lower back pain can make performing daily tasks difficult. Back pain can be acute (long term) such as a slipped disc, caused over time through lifting using incorrect techniques or due to an accident. Acute back problems are sometimes not curable and it is a case of managing the pain through exercise and medication. Chronic (short-term) back pain such as a muscle spasm usually does heal.

Making small and minor changes in your life such as correcting your posture and sitting correctly at your desk decreases the chances of developing back problems. Certain exercises can help provide relief if you already suffer from an issue with your back. Resting and immobility aren’t always good for the back. Take a look at the following exercises that can help relieve back pain.

Partial crunches

Lay down flat on your back and keep your knees bent. Keep your hands behind your neck or across your chest, tighten your stomach lift shoulders off the ground. Hold that position for a second and slowly return to your starting position. Repeat these exercises 8-12 times. Keep your lower back flat on the ground at all times.

Hamstring stretches

Lay down flat on your back and bend one knee. Keep your other leg vertically outstretched place a towel underneath your foot and slowly pull back on the towel against your foot. Try and hold this for about a minute and repeat with the other leg. Do both legs twice each.

Wall sits

In a wall sit, a person will imitate the same posture of one sitting on a chair, without the chair. Stand up straight with your back flat against the wall and slowly lower yourself until your knees are slightly bent. Hold that pose for up to 15 seconds and slide back up the wall to the original standing position. Repeat 8-12 times.

Press up back extensions

Assume the common press-up position by laying down on your stomach and keeping your hands under your shoulders and legs on the floor. Push with your hands so your shoulders begin to lift off the floor and hold that position for up to 10 seconds.

Bird dog

Begin on your hands and knees and very slowly extend and lift one leg and hold that position for 5 seconds before returning to the starting position. Repeat the same with the other leg and perform the exercise 8-12 times per leg. It is important to only lift the leg as high as the lower back position can be maintained. Once you are used to the exercise, start lifting the opposite arm per repetition too.

Knee to chest

This is a relatively simple exercise. Lay flat on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor Bring one knee to your chest whilst keeping your other foot and back flat. Hold the position for 15 seconds and repeat with the other leg. Repeat this up to 4 times per leg.

Pelvic tilts

This is another exercise where you are required to begin flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Contract your stomach muscles until you feel your hips and pelvis rocking back. Hold this position for 10 seconds before relaxing. Repeat this between 8 to 10 times.


This time lie on your back with your knees bent and only your heels on the floor. Dig your heels into the floor as much as possible, squeezing your buttocks.  Next, lift your hips until they form a straight line with your shoulders and knees and stay in that position for 5-7 seconds. Return to the starting position, and rest for 10 seconds before trying again. Try and repeat at least 8 times. Avoid arching your lower back as your hips move upward. Do not overarch by contracting abdominal muscles at any point throughout the exercise.

Other exercises that may help

Lifting weights can help relieve pain from chronic back trouble but can have the opposite effect on acute back pain and could make it worse.

Aerobic exercises, such as swimming, walking and running can help reduce back pain and is also good for the body, particularly for weight loss.

Pilates is a form of exercise that can improve your physical strength and posture by using techniques of stretching, strengthening and exercise that work out your core abdominal area.

Before attempting any of the exercises, be sure to consult a doctor and, if working with a fitness instructor, do let them know of any back trouble so they can customise your exercise regime.