Back pain exercises

3 back exercises to help low back pain

Back pain, or lumbago, is a common condition and be very disabling. Pain can be very intense and debilitating, or for others, constant and chronic. People can go through long periods without any pain in the back, only to be crippled by sudden, acute episodes of pain.

Improving the strength and flexibility of the back and the rest of the body can help reduce the chances of these episodes occurring. Here are 3 back pain exercises for you to try when you are well and relatively free from pain. Some rules:

  • Don’t try to do too much too quickly
  • Be gentle with yourself whilst you exercise
  • At the first sign of any muscle or joint stiffness, or pain, stop the exercise

Back pain exercise No. 1
Lie flat on the floor on your back with your arms in a comfortable position alongside the body:

  • Bend your right knee and pull it up as far as you can towards your nose. Stretch the whole leg and lower it again. Repeat with the left leg
  • Do the same exercise with both legs at the same time
  • Whilst still on your back, bend your knees and place both feet flat on the floor. Spread your knees and then close them again
  • Lift your right leg as near a vertical position as possible then lower it slowly. Repeat with the left leg
  • Put your knees up and place both feet flat on the floor. Stretch your arms sideways at an angle of 90 degrees. Keep both knees together and let them fall first to the left and then to the right – you should be twisting around your waist, whilst still on your back, allowing each hip to rise off the floor, but with shoulders remaining flat on the floor
  • Repeat the whole exercise

Back pain exercise No. 2
Lie face down on your stomach with your hands clasped in the small of your back and your head resting on the floor:

  • Raise your head and shoulders off the floor as far as possible. Lower and then rest. Repeat the exercise several times
  • Lift your head and shoulders, turning your head to the left, then to the right
  • Return to the starting position and stretch your arms alongside your body. Raise your left leg and lower it again. Repeat with the other leg
  • If you are able to, crawl along the floor on your hand and knees for one or two minutes. Do this slowly, making sure that your back is as horizontal as possible
  • Another useful exercise is to move your hips to the left and then to the right while standing up straight with your feet slightly apart. Take care to keep your shoulders still
  • Swing one arm round and round like a windmill and repeat with the other arm.

Back pain exercise No. 3
Now for some standing exercises:

  • Stand up straight with your legs apart to the width of your shoulders
  • With your hands clasped loosely in front, bend forward and then backwards from the waist
  • Bending forward, dangle your head and arms loosely as if they were hanging from a thread. Keeping your knees stretched, count to five and then return to the starting position
  • Clench both hands tightly together and with your right arm stretched, lower your hands towards the left foot. Move the hands across the floor to the right foot while stretching your left leg. Repeat the exercise 5 times
  • Cross your arms in front of your chest, swing them together sideways, then back across in the opposite direction
  • Let your arms hang loosely beside your body, raise them up to the shoulder level and down again. Try to bend your knees in rhythm with the arms
  • Hold on to the back of a chair or a high table. Swing your left leg forwards and backwards 10 times. Repeat the exercise with the other leg
  • Still standing in the same position, raise one leg out to the side, then lower it. Repeat with the other leg.

  • Further reading:
    Back pain
    Back pain symptoms
    Back pain causes
    Lower back pain
    Upper back pain

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