Fitness Articles

Exercising with Lower Back Pain

Increase Strength & Flexibility to Decrease Pain

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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

  • 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
  • JOYCEWL
    I did the cardio chair exercise and it felt great.since I suffer from several back pains everyday,I have been afraid of exercise.so far this is working.I will tell more about it tomorrow
    - 6/8/2013 8:20:05 PM
  • This article came right on time for me. My lower back has been bothering me for over a week now. I have degenerative disc. I have been walking everyday... but this morning at the track I could only walk a mile....Ugh.... my lower back really started hurting bad...so I had to stop. I am going to try these exercises to strenghten my back. I refuse to let this get me down and stop my progress.
    - 6/8/2013 11:01:09 AM
  • thanks for this helpful and timely article.
    I had lower back surgery years ago and I can vouch for these exercises. I can give you a better forecast than the weatherman. But as much as exercising may cause strain...so does lack of exercise. - 6/8/2013 10:11:20 AM
  • Like the article. Will try it. - 6/8/2013 10:11:11 AM
  • Thank you so much for sharing these tips. I suffer from severe back pain and exercising has been hard but I am looking forward with hope on using this tips/exercises in my daily routine. Thanks again. - 6/8/2013 8:08:39 AM
  • This is very timely for me. Thanks! - 6/8/2013 7:06:35 AM
  • DRJMALAY
    Great article! There are many causes of lower back pain in men and women and I think it is imperative to consult qualified medical professionals before starting a new exercise routine. Great advice. Thank you. http://dallasnatu
    raldoctor.com - 5/31/2013 4:51:46 PM
  • JOECLARK1
    Well exercise may be worse if you have different type of pain , everything depends on cause of pain , some cause may ever require surgery
    check out this article about causes :
    http://lower-ri
    ghtback-pain.
    com/lower-rig
    ht-back-pain-causes/

    Joe Clark - 4/25/2013 11:58:30 AM
  • CIRANDELLA
    When I suddenly had severe lower back pain, the first thing I did was go to my orthopedist. He prescribed about one week of rest and non-steroidal anti-inflammatori
    es, and then I had a couple months of physical therapy. It really helped! - 3/14/2013 7:01:49 PM
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