Top 8 Exercises for Back Pain Relief

In this blog, we will discuss 8 of the best exercises to help with lower back discomfort and pain.

8 min read

Fitness Programs

Top 8 Exercises for Back Pain Relief

Back pain is a common occurrence amongst adults. It can often be debilitating, greatly impacting your quality of life. However, there are ways to strengthen your back and alleviate discomfort with the right exercises. In this blog, we will discuss 8 of the best exercises to help with lower back discomfort and pain.

The general population may experience various types of back issues; including general low back pain, sciatica, herniated disc, scoliosis, spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, disc degeneration, and postural disfunction(1).


Common Causes of Back Pain

Lower back pain is a common affliction that many people suffer from. Muscle strain, poor posture, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, or other underlying conditions can cause it.

A herniated disc occurs when the soft cushioning material inside a vertebral disc pushes out through a crack in the disc's outer layer. This can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the back and legs. It can also lead to sciatica – pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve – which runs from the lower back down the back of each leg.

Scoliosis is a condition characterized by an abnormal curvature of the spine. It can cause back pain, uneven shoulders or hips, and visible sideways spinal curvature.

Spinal stenosis is a spinal canal narrowing that puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. It can lead to back pain, numbness, and leg weakness.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that can affect the spine. It causes the breakdown of cartilage between the vertebrae, leading to pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion.

Muscle strains in the back can occur due to overuse, improper lifting techniques, or sudden movements. They can cause localized pain, muscle spasms, and difficulty moving.

Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by weak and brittle bones. Compression fractures in the spine are common in individuals with osteoporosis and can cause back pain and a stooped posture.

Disc degeneration refers to the natural wear and tear of the spinal discs over time. It can lead to chronic back pain, stiffness, and reduced flexibility.

Lastly, postural discfunction or poor posture, such as slouching or hunching, can strain the back muscles and lead to pain and discomfort.

It's important to note that these are just a few examples, and there are many other back issues that individuals may experience(2). If you are experiencing back pain or any other back-related issues, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.


How Exercise Can Help Reduce Your Back Pain

Exercise is often recommended as an effective approach for managing back pain and back problems for several reasons(3) (4):


1. Strengthening Muscles

Regular exercise helps strengthen the muscles that support the spine, including the back, abdominal, and pelvic muscles. Stronger muscles provide better support to the spine, reducing strain and instability that can contribute to back pain.


2. Improved Flexibility and Range of Motion

Certain exercises, such as stretching and range-of-motion exercises, can help improve flexibility and increase the range of motion in the spine. This can alleviate stiffness and promote better spinal alignment, reducing the risk of back pain.


3. Weight Management

Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for reducing stress on the spine. Exercise, combined with a balanced diet, can help manage your body weight and reduce the load placed on your back, decreasing the likelihood of developing or exacerbating back problems.


4. Enhanced Blood Flow and Nutrient Delivery

Exercise increases blood circulation, delivering important nutrients and oxygen to the spinal structures. This promotes healing, reduces inflammation, and supports overall spinal health.


5. Endorphin Release

Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins, which are natural pain-relieving chemicals in the body. These endorphins can help reduce the perception of pain and improve mood, making it easier to manage back pain.


6. Posture Improvement

Certain exercises, such as core-strengthening exercises and those that target postural muscles, can help improve posture. Good posture promotes proper spinal alignment and reduces the risk of developing back problems or exacerbating existing ones.


7. Psychological Benefits

Engaging in regular exercise can have positive psychological effects. It can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, which are often associated with chronic pain conditions. By addressing the psychological aspect of pain, exercise can contribute to overall well-being and pain management.


It is important to note that not all exercises are suitable for everyone with back pain or back problems. It is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide guidance on appropriate exercises and develop an individualized exercise program based on specific needs and limitations.


8 Exercises to Help Combat Back Pain

These exercises are intended for the general population that may help prevent and/or reduce low back pain; incorporate these exercises into your routine to promote flexibility, improve posture, and enhance overall back strength. As previously mentioned, if you are suffering from severe low back pain or symptoms, consult with your medical provider before trying these exercises.


1. Pelvic Tilts

Pelvic tilts are a gentle exercise that focuses on engaging the core and lower back muscles. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Slowly tilt your pelvis upward, pressing your lower back into the floor. Hold for a few seconds, and then release. Repeat 10-15 times.


2. Bird Dog


Woman demonstrating Bird Dog exercise

The bird dog exercise targets the muscles in your core and back. Start on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Extend your right arm forward while simultaneously extending your left leg backward. Keep your back straight and engage your core. Hold for a few seconds and then switch sides. Repeat 10 times on each side.


3. Cat-Cow Stretch

Woman demonstrating Cat-Cow Stretch exercise

The cat-cow stretch helps to improve spinal flexibility and relieve tension in the back. Begin on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Slowly arch your back upward, bringing your chin towards your chest (cat pose). Then, lower your back and lift your head, looking forward (cow pose). Repeat this fluid motion 10-15 times.


4. Bridge Pose

Woman demonstrating Bridge Pose exercise

Bridge pose is an effective exercise to strengthen the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Press your feet into the floor and lift your hips off the ground, creating a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Hold for a few seconds and then lower back down. Repeat 10-12 times.


5. Superman

Woman demonstrating Superman exercise

The superman exercise targets the muscles in your lower back and helps improve overall back strength. Lie on your stomach with your arms extended in front of you and legs straight. Lift your arms, chest, and legs off the ground simultaneously, creating a "superman" flying position. Hold for a few seconds and then lower back down. Repeat 10 times.


6. Wall Sit

Woman demonstrating Wall Sit exercise

Wall sit is a great exercise to strengthen the muscles in your lower back, glutes, and thighs. Stand with your back against a wall and slide down until your thighs are parallel to the ground, as if sitting on an invisible chair. Hold this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute, gradually increasing the duration as you build strength.


7. Seated Spinal Twist

Woman demonstrating Seated Spinal Twist exercise

The seated spinal twist helps to improve spinal mobility and stretches the muscles in your lower back. Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Bend your right knee and cross it over your left leg, placing your right foot on the floor beside your left knee. Twist your torso to the right, using your left arm to support you. Hold for 30 seconds and then switch sides.


8. Leg Raises

Woman demonstrating Leg Raises exercise

Leg raises target the muscles in your lower back and hips. Lie on your stomach with your arms extended overhead. Slowly lift your legs off the ground, keeping them straight. Hold for a few seconds and then lower back down. Repeat 10-12 times.


Wrap Up

Incorporating these exercises into your workout routine can help strengthen your back, alleviate discomfort, and improve overall back health. Remember to start slowly and listen to your body. If you experience any pain or discomfort during these exercises, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional. By regularly performing these exercises, you can take proactive steps toward managing and preventing back injuries and discomfort.


Exercises for Back Pain Relief Infographic
Exercises for Back Pain Relief Infographic


1. Korff, M. V. (1994). Studying the Natural History of Back Pain. Spine, 19(18), 2041S. Accessed 27 June 2024.
2. Andersson, G. B. (1999). Epidemiological features of chronic low-back pain. The Lancet, 354(9178), 581–585. Accessed 27 June 2024.
3. Choi, B. K., Verbeek, J. H., Tam, W. W.-S., & Jiang, J. Y. (2010). Exercises for prevention of recurrences of low-back pain. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Accessed 27 June 2024.
4. Koes, B. W., Bouter, L. M., Beckerman, H., Heijden, G. J. van der, & Knipschild, P. G. (1991). Physiotherapy exercises and back pain: a blinded review. British Medical Journal, 302(6792), 1572–1576. . Accessed 27 June 2024.


Recommended Products

Leave a comment

* indicating required fields

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.