Fitness Articles

Exercising with Lower Back Pain

Increase Strength & Flexibility to Decrease Pain

10KSHARES

It’s a common problem for many who exercise. It makes everyday activity difficult, and scares a lot of people away from any physical activity. It’s lower back pain. For those of you who suffer from it, there is hope.  While there are a multitude of things that can cause back pain, from genetic malformations to injury, a number of recent studies show that a lack of core strength contributes to pain and stiffness in the lower back.


So what's the best way to deal with lower back pain that your health care provider has attributed to a lack of core strength? Exercise.  This might cause a little more pain in the beginning, but under the care of your health provider, it can reduce your pain in the long run.  And for many people, the long-term solution for back pain lies in abdominal, hip and lower back strengthening and stretching exercises.

Some pain or aches in your lower back might be the result of weak abdominal muscles. When you have a weak abs, you are more likely to have poor posture and your lower back muscles are forced to take over, which can strain them in a way that becomes uncomfortable or painful over time. You can minimize back pain by doing exercises that make the muscles in your abs stronger, while also training to increase the strength and flexibility level in your lower back, hips and thighs.

Everyone's back pain is different, so it's a good idea to check with your health care provider about what's best for you. If core strength is your problem, the following exercises can help.

Leg Raises to strengthen stomach and hip muscles
How to: Lie on your back with your arms at your sides. Lift one leg off the floor to about a 45° angle. Hold your leg up for a count of 10 and return it to the floor. Do the same with the other leg. Repeat 5 times with each leg. If that is too difficult, keep one knee bent and the foot flat on the ground while raising the opposite leg.

Leg Raises to strengthen back and hip muscles
How to: Lie on your stomach. Tighten the muscles in one leg and raise it from the floor. Raise it as high as you can (approximately 30°) without causing any discomfort to your lower back or lifting your hip off the floor. Hold your leg up for a count of 10 and return it to the floor. Do the same with the other leg. Repeat 5 times with each leg.
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About The Author

Holly Little Holly Little
A former Division I basketball player, Holly is a certified in Spinning and personal training.

Member Comments

  • IAJJJOHANSON
    Thanks for your leg lift exercise suggestions. When I do it I normally lift both legs and try to keep them from touching the floor until I have completed a set of 15. I will try adding just lifting one at a time and holding it to my work out. It will probably be harder that what I am currently doing. http://www.advanc
    edchiroclinic
    .com.au - 1/14/2016 12:41:41 PM
  • SPUNOUTMOM
    I have just recovered from back pain. My Doctor gave me some of these exercises. She also added bird dog which really helped increase range of motion & strength. But they need to be done in order to be able to do them. - 12/16/2015 10:44:57 AM
  • I agree with your statement "check with your Dr first". I am not allowed any form of sit up.
    Leg lifts,yes and other that would not stress the back. I also agree with try to keep moving (circulation). thanks for the input.
    - 12/16/2015 8:36:12 AM
  • BELINDAFA
    I have degenerative spine pain and fibromygia had both of these sice 1998 it hasn't got any better just gets worse my doctor told me if I didn't use it I will lose it he was telling I had to stop sitting and laying around cause I was in pain so I did I joined the Y and I also went thru therapy for 6 weeks then had to go some where else to take pool therapy it started helping at that point I now can walk thru the grocery store and don't have to leave before I get what I went after I also had 4 back and 2 neck surgerys I also had a back stimulater put in my back I have only been at the Y for a few days now but looking forward to getting better I know I will never get back the way I was but if I can go walking and get out and enjoy life I am going to do what I have to so I can enjoy life with my friends and family - 11/17/2015 9:49:02 PM
  • GINAE53
    I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease in the cervical disc area in the fall of 2013 but have been able to do aerobics and yoga with no problems. This past year severe pain struck me in the lower spine and MRI showed a bulging disc in the thoracic area. I took physical therapy to teach me good exercising and strengthening methods and has really helped. I do Hatha yoga now with Pilates and has done wonders for me. I just underwent the epidural steroid injection in my tail bone due to nerve endings being irritated. I had wanted to do Zumba but now know this isn't safe. I will continue my yoga and Pilates as these are safe and gives a wonderful workout. - 7/21/2015 3:24:58 PM
  • ANNIELILMA
    My father in law has been suffering from back pain since 6 years and he is a Grocery business man. For this reason he has to sit in his chair for a long time. After using back brace he feels comfort.. So I think it is a great way to reducing pain. This article has shown this. To know more details please go to http://www.backbr
    aces.org/ Thank you. - 6/29/2015 3:16:51 PM
  • WILLWORKNOW
    I too cannot get on the floor and never will be able to do so. I will start doing some of the other exercises mentioned though. I wonder if doing the floor exercises would be OK to do while in bed? - 6/13/2015 1:14:54 PM
  • AREED78
    I need to do something about my back pain, it's preventing me from working out. I'm trying to do some yoga stretches, I'm hoping that helps. I'll try doing some leg raises and see if that helps out my problem too, thanks for all the great advice! http://thehealing
    center.net/ - 3/3/2015 4:54:19 PM
  • FOXGLOVE999
    I think it's strange that most of these exercises require lying on your back. I can't lie on my back due to the lower back pain, and I'm sure this is not unusual. That being said, the others exercises look promising. Currently, I am doing some of the chair/seated exercises available, and although I'm sore, they are doable. - 11/13/2014 7:26:58 AM
  • SHERRY-LUCILLE
    my lower back pain started when I gained weight so I know what to do,,,, but now I just have to do it, I am going to try the back exercises listed in the article and I am excited to see how they work for me! - 6/20/2014 6:46:07 PM
  • NJFIEBELKORN
    SparkPeople...is the best resource I have found in the last five years. I too have backpain, and it is hard to do some exercises, but your website reaches out to every type of person with real excuses to not exercise. Nicole's demonstrations are so clear, and I even told my PT people about you. You do have info that follows their programs. Keep up the great support. NF - 12/17/2013 8:52:12 AM
  • Thanks for sharing - 11/16/2013 5:14:05 AM
  • Thanks for sharing - 11/9/2013 5:52:56 AM
  • I have had 7 spine surgeries and deal with chronic back pain. My best advice is, water fitness, walking in water, water aerobics. - 9/6/2013 1:46:25 PM
  • TREVOR022
    The chair exercise has been awesome!!! I can finally ditch my cybertech medical back brace! If you do need a back brace I would highly recommend the one I have been wearing from Braceability.com! Good luck! and Do these workouts! They will make a huge difference in your quality of life! - 6/24/2013 1:22:31 PM

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