Back Exercises

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Targeted exercise has been shown to be effective in preventing and treating recurring or chronic back pain.  Strengthening muscles that support the spine with exercises can prevent and reduce lower back pain.  Stretching out shortened muscles that are pulling the spine out of alignment can also relieve lower back pain.

Here are 7 simple exercises you can do. 

Exercise 1: Knee to Chest

Starting Position: Lie on your back on a yoga mat or similarly padded surface on the floor.

Action: Clasp your hands behind one thigh and pull it towards your chest. Keep the opposite leg flat on the surface of the floor.  Hold for 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.


Exercise 2: Hip Rolling 

Starting Position: Lie on your back on a yoga mat or similarly padded surface on the floor.  Bend both your knees with your feet flat on the mat.

Action: Cross your arms over your chest. Turn your head to the right as you turn both knees to the left.  Relax your knees as they go down.  Bring knees back up, head to center and reverse directions.


Exercise 3: Pelvic Tilt

Starting Position: Lie on your back on a yoga mat or similarly padded surface on the floor.  Your feet are flat on the surface and the knees are bent slightly.

Action: Push the small of your back into the floor by pulling the lower abdominal muscles up and in.  Hold your back flat against the mat while breathing easily in and out. Hold for five seconds.  Do not hold your breath while you do this.

Exercise 4: Pelvic Bridge

Starting Position: Lie on your back on a yoga mat or similarly padded surface on the floor.  Keep your knees bent and feet placed as close as possible to your bottom.  Rest your arms by your side or fold your arms across your chest.

Action: Pre-hump your lower back by clenching your bottom and pulling in your tummy.  Roll up your spine segment by segment until your body forms a straight line between your shoulders, hips and knees.  Hold position for 15 seconds then slowly lower your back to the mat, once again, segment by segment. Repeat 3 times.

Exercise 5: The Cat Stretch

Starting Position: Go down on all fours.  Keep your head straight so that you are looking toward the floor.

Action: Slowly allow your trunk to sag as far as you can so that your back is arched and you are looking up to face the ceiling.  Then hump up your back up at the waist as far as you can by contracting your lower abdominal muscles as you lower the top of your head toward the floor.  All motion should be initiated from your lower back.



Exercise 6: The Child Pose

Starting Position: Kneel on a mat with your feet together.   Allow your buttocks to rest on your heels.

Action: Lower your upper body towards the floor, as far as possible nestling your belly down between your thighs.  Flatten out as much as possible with your arms stretched out in front of you.  Pull in your tummy muscles and round your lower back while attempting to stretch your tailbone towards the floor.  Hold the stretch for 1 minute, whilst breathing normally.


Exercise 7: Full Back Stretch

Starting Position: Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground.  Relax your shoulders and keep your head level.

Action: Curl your neck, upper back and lower back slowly forward.  Allow your hands to reach the floor until your palms are touching the floor.  Hold position for 30 seconds.   Feel the stretch.  Straighten up slowly to your starting position.

Further Reading

The article above is meant to provide general information and does not replace a doctor's consultation.
Please see your doctor for professional advice.