Low Back Pain: Should I Exercise?

When you suffer any form of pain, your first instinct may be to get plenty of rest to allow your injury to heal. However, structured movement is actually beneficial for low back pain. Exercising your lower back not only strengthens your back and abdominal muscles but also offers support for your spine, thereby relieving pain.

It is critical to always consult with your primary care physician or pain management specialist prior to performing any exercise for low back pain. Every injury is different, and a generally “good” exercise may do more harm than good if it is not right for you.

Which Exercise is Good for Low Back Pain?

Keeping the above in mind, the following exercises are recommended for low back pain:

  1. One-leg lifts – While lying flat on your back, bend one leg at the knee and keep one leg straight. Lift the straight leg about 6 inches off the floor and hold for a few seconds, then lower it and switch legs.
  2. Partial crunches – While lying on you back, bend your knees and place feet flat on the floor. Cross your arms over your chest or place them behind your head. Slowly exhale as you raise your shoulders off the floor. Briefly hold and lie back down.
  3. Wall sits – Stand about a foot away from the wall. Lean back until your back touches the wall and slide down until your knees are bent slightly. Hold for a few seconds and slide back up.
  4. Hamstring stretches – While lying on your back, bend one knee and loop a towel around the ball of the foot. As you straighten your knee, gently pull on the towel. Hold for 15-30 seconds.
  5. Knee to chest lifts – While lying on your back, bend both knees and place feet flat on the floor. Bring one knee to your chest and hold for 15-30 seconds. Lower the knee and switch legs.
  6. Weight lifting – When done properly, this exercise can help with chronic back pain.
  7. Pilates – With the right technique and assistance from a qualified instructor, this exercise can be beneficial for back pain sufferers.

For best results, repeat each exercise 10 times per session. If pain increases with exercise and persists longer than 15 minutes, stop immediately and call your doctor.

Which Exercise is Bad for Low Back Pain?

The following are exercises that are not recommended for low back pain:

  1. Toe touches – Attempting to touch your toes while standing places significant strain on the spinal disks and ligaments. It can also cause excessive stretching in the lower back muscles and hamstrings.
  2. Two-leg lifts – While leg lifts are beneficial for back pain, lifting both less at once while lying on your back is highly strenuous for the lower back and spine.
  3. Sit-ups – This exercise is only effective if you utilize your abdominal muscles for it. Most people use the muscles in the hips, thereby placing unnecessary pressure on the spinal disks.

To learn more about exercising with low back pain in the Manatee or Sarasota Counties of Florida, please do not hesitate to contact or visit your nearest office of Coastal Orthopedics Sports Medicine & Pain Management today. Our spine and pain management specialists look forward to guiding you towards making low back pain a thing of the past!