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March 5, 2019

10 Lower Back Pain Relief Exercises – That Work Great!

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Low back pain stinks. Let’s face it. Today we’ll share with you 10 amazing lower back pain relief exercises that you can use anytime to help decrease your low back pain.

Before you begin any lower back exercise or stretching program, here’s what you need to know.

Lower Back Pain Relief Exercises Work:


But the exercises must be performed correctly. In order to relieve lower back pain, whether it’s acute pain (recently experienced pain) or long term pain, you need to approach the subject systematically. 

Low back pain exercises are basically a combination of these 4 activities…

  • Stretching exercises
  • Relaxation poses
  • Core strengthening and conditioning
  • Intermittent Use of Hot and Cold Packs

When performing the exercises below, you’ll notice some of the exercises are complementary to one another. At times adding a bit of trunk flexion in one exercise, then going to extension on the next.

There are actually 100’s of great exercises that you can use to decrease and eliminate lower back pain. The exercises below are perfect for beginners. For those who need more help, we’ve got a nice Physical Therapist recommendation (discussed below).

To Start – Cool that Back Down:


Before you begin any lower back exercise program, start with some cold packs just to make sure you eliminate any inflammation.

New or old low back injury: It doesn’t matter, do yourself a favor and start off with a nice 20 minute cold pack session. You might be surprised how much pain relief this treatment actually provides. 

If you recently injured your lower back, then you need to use cold therapy for the next 24 to 48 hours. Please review more about Cold Therapy Application Procedures Here:

If you have chronic lower back pain, consider a cold therapy session from time to time just to calm everything down.

I find that when I can’t get my lower back to relax, inevitably, I need to use a cold pack.

Therapeutic Breathing – Start Using It


Breathing is your friend, it’s your weapon to deal with stress, anxiety, emotions, and… low back pain.

With breathing you can calm down that nervous system and let those tight muscles relax.

With every back pain relief exercise you perform, try to incorporate what is called the therapeutic breath.

It’s very similar to what’s practiced in Yoga. It’s a slow inhale through the nose with a slow exhale out through the lips. The lips can be slightly pursed if you like.

I encourage you to take a minute to perform some relaxing deep breaths before you begin your back pain relief exercises.

Find your breath.. 😉

You’ll find that movement and breathing go hand and hand. And by controlling your breath, you can improve your control over movement.

What’s that whole Lamaze breathing thing about, Right?

The point is, breathing is an important aspect in performing lower back pain relief exercises.

You can actually cause those tight little lower back muscles to stop spasming when you use this techniques in combination with the poses, stretches, and exercises.

Here’s a new product on the market that’s great at decreasing and correcting back pain. It’s called the Invertabelt and you can learn more about it by reading our Invertabelt Review.

Pain and Low Back Exercises: Important!


With back pain and exercise, you might experience some increased symptoms of pain. This is normal and you need to understand the difference between Good Pain and Bad Pain.

Bad pain is anything that radiates the pain away from the original pain source or increases with a movement or stretch. 

So if anything causes the pain in your lower back to shoot pain (or an electric feeling) down your legs – is a sign that you need to stop the stretch or exercise. If the pain goes up drastically in severity, then you also want to back off from whatever you are doing.

Good Pain is pain that stays locally from where it originated.

When stretching areas that have been tight for a long time, you will find increased pain with some exercises, poses, and stretches. If that pain diminishes and stays local over time, that’s a good thing.

That being said, lets get started with the exercises.

Top 10 Lower Back Pain Relief Exercises:


1. Put Your Feet Up & Relax:

This first position is a place to find comfort. When your lower back is driving you crazy, you can always come to this position to find relief.

Lower Back Pain Relief Exercises Photo

Position: Get on the ground and put your feet up on a chair, bed, couch or coffee table.

A therapy ball works great because it provides traction for the lower back and there’s some great exercises you can do with it as well.

Should you need a good exercise ball, check out our latest review: Trideer Exercise Ball review.

In this position, focus on relaxing the lower back and start doing some slow-deep breaths.

You can progress this position to include some pelvic tilt exercises.

  1. Squeeze your butt muscles and hold the contraction for a few seconds, then relax.
  2. Slightly arching your back, hold it, then relax.

This is also an excellent position to put a cold pack when you’re lower back is recently injured or just needs a break.

2. Be the Ball..

Position: Lie on your back, bring your knees up into your chest, and grab your knees with your hands and arms. You might need to place your hands underneath your hamstrings to be able to curl up into a ball.

Lower Back Pain Relief Exercises Photo

If that doesn’t work, use a band or belt to give you a little extra room to hold the pose.

Relax and focus on the breath. Let that lower back relax and just breath.

The Exercise: From here, you can rock slowly side to side, or up and down.

You’ll use your abdominal muscles to get you moving and this provides a gentle massage to the lower back. Your abdominal muscles actually go all the way into your back. So by getting them to relax and contract, you can help normalize that lower back pain.

3. Prone with Back Extensions:

Position: Lie face down on the floor with your hands in front, inter-locked, and under you chin.

Lower Back Pain Relief Exercises Photo

This is a great resting position to relieve lower back pain. Just focus on the breath and let your belly melt to the floor.

Think of your lower back relaxing and with each deep breath, let it relax into the ground. Once you get it to where your back feels good and loose in this position, you can progress to the next stage in this exercise.

Here’s how…

From laying face down, prop you arms up so your weight is resting on your elbows and forearms. Again, incorporate the deep breathing as you experience this slight back bend.

Lower Back Pain Relief Exercises Photo

Next, if you feel up to the challenge, place your hands where your elbows are, and push up.

This is a deep back bend. Do not push this one if it does not feel comfortable, but try to work into it in the future.

Lower Back Pain Relief Exercises Photo

You’ll find the tightness should decrease as you relax into the pose. If the pain drastically increases, stop, it’s OK, try another day.

Again focus on the deep breathing while your lower back relaxes.

You can hold these poses for up to a few seconds to 3 to 4 minutes. 

Find the right challenge for you.

The Exercise: Back Push-Ups – Do only after you’ve held the previous poses and feel loosened up!

2.  Lie down on your stomach. Put your hands close to your chest (like a push-up position).

Push up as you did going into the prior stretch only this time make this the exercise.

Try to relax your lower back and do the push-ups just with your arms. Repeat for 10 – 20 reps.

This exercise provides passive range of motion to the lower back and improves the back extension motion.

After this post, it’s great to transition to Exercise # 6. Downward Dog (listed below).

4. One Leg To Chest:

Position: On your back, pull one knee up to your chest at a time, hold position for a 10 second count per leg.

Lower Back Pain Relief Exercises Photo

From there you can gently pull your knee from the middle of the chest to the right and left, and get a hip stretch too . 

Lower Back Pain Relief Exercises Photo

5. Bridge Your Hips:

Position: Laying down, bend both knees, and bring your feet close to your hips. From there lift your hips up in the air. Like this..

Lower Back Pain Relief Exercises Photo

You’ll find as you practice this motion you can raise your hips up higher, even engaging your upper back muscles to increase the movement.

You can do bridges for repetitions or sustained holds. Try a mix of the two and even try holding the position till the muscles have to give up (Muscle Failure).

Remember, we’re trying to break that spastic muscle pattern that’s happening when you get low back pain.

Bridging can really help with this.

6. Downward Facing Dog:

Down dog is an excellent position to maintain a nice (lower) back stretch while getting a solid hamstring and calf stretch.

Try bicycling in this pose, shifting from one calf muscle in extension with an inhale and exhale, then switch to the other side.

Lower Back Pain Relief Exercises Photo

7. Side Leg Raises:

Position: Lie on your side or up against a wall to help you get this motion of your leg if that helps you get to know the movement.

I like to feel my lower back muscles contract with my hand to get feedback that my lumbar muscles are contracting first, then the hip abductors kick in to raise your leg up into the air.

Try 10 – 20 reps. Switch sides

Lower Back Pain Relief Exercises Photo

8. Superman:

Position: Lie down on your belly.

Arch your back, pull your chest and shoulder off the ground and at the same time lift your feet off the ground.

Hold for a second or two, return to the floor. Try 10 – 20 reps.

I like to do Superman and Side Leg Raises together to get my back going in the morning. Check it out.

Lower Back Pain Relief Exercises Photo

9. Cat And Cow!

This is really a great position to stretch the lower back and get it moving better.

Position: On all fours or a 4 point stance. Weight is in the hands and knees/feet.

Cow Movement: Extend your back, lift your head up, and raise your butt in the air.

Lower Back Pain Relief Exercises Photo

Cat Movement: Engage your abdominal muscles, round the back, touch the chin, and pull those hips underneath you.

Lower Back Pain Relief Exercises Photo

Both are great movements to explore. When you go back and forth between the positions, use the therapeutic breath to guide the movement.

10. Child’s Pose

Mostly a resting position, it’s a nice way to cool down with Child’s Pose.

As well, this is a Go-To Pose to counter any of the back extension exercises.

Lower Back Pain Relief Exercises Photo

After you’ve relaxed in this position for a few deep breaths, you can extend your arms out and reach in front of your head to get a stretch through the sides of your back.

You can then place both hands to the right and stretching out to the right for a couple breaths.

Then go to the left and do the same thing.

Need More Advanced Help?


Thanks for reading our post and I really hope these exercises, stretches, and poses will make a major difference in your low back pain.

The key is consistently with the exercises on a daily basis and to get that pain under control, if not eliminated.

If you need more help fixing your back, but don’t have $100’s or $1,000’s of dollars to spend, I recommend you check out our favorite low back pain therapy tool. (Click the link to read our review)

I’ve been using this product for a couple of months now and it really is an amazing tool and a great value for under $50 dollars.

If you have any lower back pain relief exercises that you want to share, leave a comment below.


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Todd


Todd is an Occupation Therapist and Internet Marketer. He inspires to help others improve their lives through therapy and online education.

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  1. I’ve been having issues with lower back pain, and I’m not sure what to do about it. It makes sense that I would want to try out some stretches to help work my back out a bit. If that doesn’t work, then it might be time to get a professional to help.

  2. It’s great to know that you should hold some of these stretches for several minutes to get that relief. My spouse has some terrible back pains that won’t go away right now. We need to find a local medical professional that can help with some new therapy treatments.

  3. Very helpful and very informative post to explain what should be the body condition to perform exercises. It is great to learn that based upon the duration of the pain, we can get treated. Thank you for the exercises shared. The explanation helps a lot to perform it correctly.
    As rightly mentioned in the post, many people perform exercises but they do not maintain the right posture and hence get into much more trouble. Thank you for the awareness shared. This helps a lot.

  4. Well there are numerous of ways to get relief from back pain as you can do back exercise, yoga or by sitting and standing in straight posture moreover you can also enroll yourself for chronic back pain management in rehabilitation center.

  5. My mom has been complaining about how much her lower back hurts because she takes care of kids and has to bend down to pick up after them all the time. Getting some help from a professional to reduce her pain could be really useful for her. Thanks for explaining about how bridging can help break some spastic muscle pattern that causes back pain.

    1. You bet, happy to help. Don’t forget to have you mom practice picking things up with good body mechanics. Then this issue wouldn’t have happened.

      Best,
      Todd

  6. I like what you said about using an ice pack on your back for 20 minutes if it’s in pain. My sister has been telling me about how her lower back has been sore recently. I’ll share this information with her so that she can look into her options for relieving that pain.

    1. Awesome Tyson, glad the post could help out. Nothing beats good ole exercise to get the muscles firing and working again. If she still can’t get over her back pain after doing these exercises for a few days, you may want to have her see at outpatient Physical Therapist that specializes in manual therapy.

      Best,
      Todd

  7. My daughter has had a lot of pain in her lower back recently. She can’t do the things she enjoys anymore because of it. I think it’s a great idea to try and stretch it out with these exercises you’ve suggested. Thanks

    1. Awesome Bryson, just have her stick to these exercises and see how it goes. If she needs more help, have a Physical Therapy that specializes in outpatient rehabilitation take a look at her.

      Best,
      Todd

  8. Thank you for sharing this great information , from last year i am suffering from back pain due to 8-9 hrs working , i hope it will help me a lot, can you suggest me some therapies as well?

    1. Sure Lisa, but the key thing to rehab your back is consistent work predominately with physical exercise like these exercises.

      As far as a great home therapy that you can start implementing immediately are using…

      1. The Invertabelt – This tool improves strength, flexibility and manual release techniques.

      2. A Long Foam Roller – I love rolling out and these work great to provide pressure relief from tight hips which can be a major cause of low back pain. I like the longer ones because you can lay down own them and get a nice release of the muscles that align the spinal column as well as open the chest.

      Poor posture can cause back pain as well. So laying down on a long foam roller can open the chest and decrease painful knots in the upper back.

      3. A Good Therapy Ball – Provides ton’s of low back strength and flexibility exercises. Here’s one of my favorites, the Epitomie Fitness Exercise Ball works great.

      Check out the links to get more info and feel free to ask any follow up questions.

      Thanks,
      Todd

  9. I liked that you mentioned a therapy ball could help you to relieve back pain because it provides traction for the lower back. My husband and I are thinking about how to help him to relieve his back pain, and we are looking for advice. I will let him know about your recommendations to help him with his back problems.

  10. Amazing post. So many exercises and each one is so well explained. Thank you for sharing the wonderful information and I am sure many will get benefited out of this post.

  11. My dad has been having a lot of lower back pain that he says is caused by his job and he wants to remedy it so that he can go back to work. He has been thinking about going to see a professional about his pain so that he can get something for the pain and figure out what is causing it. Thanks for the tip about how breathing can help improve spasming and controlling movement in the lower back.

    1. You bet Jenna. Breathing is powerful stuff. I’ve been working with breathing and biofeedback to decrease my chronic back pain (5+ years).

      I find that the deep breathing in combo with the biofeedback helps calm my sympathetic nervous system and bring on the parasympathetic system and that allows my back pain to melt away.

      I also have been including these exercises and others on a daily basis and that’s getting me really good results. So please keep encouraging your dad to try these exercises. You also may want to look at the Invertabelt. I’ve found this to be an amazing product for around $50 that teaches people quite a bit about how to improve their back health and decrease back pain.

      Best
      Todd

  12. I’ve been searching for ways on how to get rid of my back pain. Surprisingly, proper exercise such as lying down on the floor with the hands in front, interlocked and under my chin whilst relaxing with each deep breath can cure my back pain. You’ve shared great exercise tips, but if none of this will work, I better start looking for an alternative, maybe chiropractic would be effective.

    1. Hi Rachel,

      That could certainly be an option. In my experience, I’ve found Physical Therapist that also do dry needling to be my go to therapy if these low back pain relief exercises don’t work. I’ve gone to Chiropractors but found the effect from their adjustments don’t last very long. Where’s a Physical Therapist or Occupational Therapist is more focused not only on fixing the problem, but also finding out what causes the problems and they take a more holistic approach.

      For my chronic low back pain of 5 years, after trying practically everything including adjustments and dry needling, I’ve learned from my Physical Therapist that my pain is more neurological at this point. That the part in my brain responsible for low back pain is over sensitized and now I’m finding results with biofeedback and improving upon my central nervous system discrimination.

      I would have never gotten this type of treatment approach or answer from a Chiropractor. At least in my experience.

      Thanks,
      Todd

  13. My back has been hurting a lot and I’m not sure what to do about it. It would certainly make sense that I would want to talk to a professional about this! They could suggest some good exercises and maybe some physical therapy I could do to help keep my back from hurting too much.

    What do you think?

    1. Hi Branden,

      I would always encourage you to go see your doctor or medical professional first to rule out a ruptured or herniated disk.

      If your back pain is of a muscular problem, you could always try cold therapy for 48 hours and then try to do these 10 lower back pain relief exercises again. If your pain goes up sharply, stop the exercises and go see your doctor right away.

      If the pain subsides or goes away with the exercises, continue to do them on a regular basis.

      You can read about how to apply cold therapy here.

      Best,
      Todd

  14. These are some great exercises for lower back. I’ve tried most of these at one time or another. I definitely agree with exercise number 1 as is seems to take all the pressure off the lower back. Another stretch that could be helpful is to stand in a doorway. Twist to one side grabbing both hands on the same door post while looking over your shoulders and holding the stretch til feel a good stretch, then switch to the other side.

    1. Thanks Jen, I’ve seen that one and it’s a nice spinal twist. 

      There’s so many lower back pain relief exercises, but these are some of the best one for the majority of the people and are also very easy to perform.

      Thanks for your feedback.

  15. So glad I ran across this site. I do suffer from lower back pain especially after a hard day at work.
    I have tried exercises before but I don’t think I followed them too closely and didn’t do them for too long. Would quit after a couple of times.
    Do you recommend doing all 10 exercises at one time? Should I choose a few to work on at first then work up to the full 10? Can I do them twice a day?
    Thanks for the educational information.

    1. Hey Bobby,

      Good questions. You can definitely start with a couple and do this several times during the day.

      I think if you can start with a few that are complementary to one other and that would be a great way to begin.

      I like Cat/Cow or Cat/Kamel because they are complementary to one another by working both trunk flexion and extension.

      Thanks so much for your feedback and just start with a few exercises unless you get inspired to do all 10 of the lower back pain relief exercises.

      Best,

      Todd

  16. This is a great collection of low-back-pain exercises and stretches! I use them all regularly, at various times, particularly in my yoga practice. I had several injuries many years ago that resulted in chronic low back pain because of a twisted pelvis and other issues. I’ve experienced a ton of healing through manipulative therapies (myofascial release, craniosacral work, chiropractic, and some traditional PT), but still have some pain under the right conditions. I’ll need to check out the Invertabelt to which you’ve referred several people to help me continue improving.

    1. Hi Natalie,

      Thanks for your feedback and sharing your story about back pain. I think these exercises in combination with the Invertabelt would be a great way for you to go.

      It would be fun to see if you have the same experience I’ve had with it based on your history of back pain.

      For $50 it’s not too big of a risk when comparing that with Chiro and PT sessions. At least for me here in CO where it’s currently $120/45 minute session (which includes dry needling).

      Give it a go and if you can, I’d love to get your feedback on the Invertabelt.

      Best,

      Todd

  17. Thanks for sharing. It is a very helpful article back pain and exercise. My boyfriend has back pain for many years and for sure I will show him your post to try this exercises. I think will help a lot.

    Can I ask something? He tried for years to get rid of the pain. Do you think is too late for this therapy?

    Thanks again and for sure I will be back to your site:)
    Cristina

    1. Hi Cristina,

      Tell you boyfriend it is NOT too late. Regardless how long you’ve had back pain, you can make some significant improvements in your situation.

      I’ve dealt with patients that have had back longer than my life time and we’ve been able to make some great functional gains and significantly decrease lower back pain.

      I would definitely recommend he check out this post and read about the Invertabelt.

      This is my go to product for those with lower back pain.

      Thanks,

      Todd

  18. From a person with lordosis (aka duck butt), I know first hand how much this sucks. A big part of it is definitely posture but no matter how many exercises I tried I just couldn’t find a permanent fix, are there any proven ways to get rid of back pain forever? I like the idea of cold therapy which could provide relief

    1. Hey Josh,

      It depends on the severity of your situation. In many situations it can be a management thing.

      Meaning, you need to dedicate some time to the exercises and modalities like cold therapy. 

      Sometimes it can even be drugs to manage the pain there.

      I spoke to my PT the other day and he consistently sees better pain management through exercise.

      And when you think about this (as a therapist) it makes sense. When we get the muscles to move, they normalize in tone. So spastic muscles relax and start to function. 

      If it’s something anatomical where a nerve is being impinged changes the scenario though.

      Sometimes nerve glides work, other times you need something evasive like surgery. Exercise gives great results for issues that deal with muscles that are spastic, turned off, or low tone.

      I’d consider talking to a specialist that can analyse your posture and treat you on an individual basis. 

      If you’ve done that and haven’t gotten the results you want, give the Invertabelt a try. 

      It provides a quality manual (like) therapy that’s similar to what you would get with manual therapy provided from an actual therapist.

      It’s working great for me and maybe it would help you too. At least check out our review.

      Best,

      Todd

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