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Home-Based Exercises for Low Back Pain

Written by
Shakti Mishra
and medically reviewed by Sneha Kannan

Published on Apr 24, 2020 and last reviewed on Aug 17, 2022   -  4 min read

Abstract

Low back pain is one of the most common problems that most people face. This article discusses ways to deal with low back pain with some at-home exercises.

Home-Based Exercises for Low Back Pain

We often experience some tiredness or tightness in our spine after a long and hectic day at work or at home with chores and children. But it is not feasible to pay a visit to the doctor every time as it seems very natural or the reasons are obvious for such symptoms. Hence, it is always necessary to keep your body, especially your vertebrae, in a healthy and active state so that it keeps on going good throughout the day. If your back pain is not due to a serious underlying condition, there are a lot of exercises that can be performed at home. These are simple, effective, and fun, and keeps you motivated to do it every day.

1) Cat and Camel Exercise:

Lay down on a flat surface. Come to the quadruped position. Now try to lift your spine towards the ceiling with the downward movement of your head. And again, bring the spine downwards with the head moving upward.

The respiration pattern should be - inhaling while spine downwards and exhaling while spine in the upward position.

2) Trunk Twisting and Rotation:

Sit on a chair with no arm support. Now, try to touch your left shoulder with your right hand by twisting your spine. Repeat the same on the other side. Do this for a count of 10 on each side. Now stay in that position, try to touch your left knee with the right shoulder, and vice versa. Do this for a count of 10 again.

3) Bridging:

Lie on a flat surface, preferably on a yoga mat. Now, bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the ground. Slowly lift up the pelvis to 35 to 40 degrees above the ground level. Head, neck, and shoulder should be supported on the ground with your trunk slightly bending upward. Hold your body in this position for at least a count of 10 and release it to the original position. You can repeat this exercise twice daily and do it 15 times.

4) Superman Pose:

Lie down in the tummy down position. Now lift your head with the right hand and left leg simultaneously, extended in the air. Hold this position for 10 seconds and release. This is a good exercise for stretching the entire spine.

5) Hand Opening and Closing:

Sit in an erect posture on a chair. Raise your hands and open then wide on either side of your body. Now simultaneously stretch out your chest with wide open hands, inhaling air inside. This gives a concave arch to your spine. Now slowly exhale out air and close your hands around the body with head down position and spine in a convex posture. This is good for the upper spine.

6) Straightening and Bending:

Stand straight with legs wide open (two feet apart from each other). Now raise your hands above the head, parallel to each other towards the ceiling. Now slowly bend forwards, count up to 10, and come back to the original position. Stretch the body as much as you can. Do not overstretch as it might hurt your back. Perform this activity twice daily in empty stomach (preferably early morning and evening).

7) Back Cushioning:

After a hectic day, your spine also needs some rest to keep hold of your entire body in a synchronized manner. So, give a little time to your supporting spine by cushioning it with some pillows. You can perform this activity in sitting and in lying down position as well. Place a pillow at the lower back of your spine. Try to push your spine and squeeze the pillow. Stay in the position for a count of 10 and release. Repeat this 10 times, after you finish it, remain in the position for 5 minutes and remove the pillow. Make it a point to relax your spine every day with this activity to keep it in a healthy condition.

8) Ball Pressing Against Wall:

Gym ball or therapeutic balls are now available in the market, 65 to 75 mm is the optimum size. Pump the ball up to maximum capacity. Now keep the ball against a clear wide wall. Stand with back supported on the ball. Press the ball and move it up and down with your spine without touching it with your hands.

9) Ball Crunches:

Take a gym ball of 65 mm in size, place it on the floor. Try to lie on it with back support and proper balance. Start doing the crunches. Keep it a point not to move and slip off the ball. Stay balanced and do the crunches with hands at your back of the head.

10) Modified Cat and Camel:

As discussed earlier, take the position on four of your limbs with palm and knee supported on the ground. Now inhale and stretch your body forward while slightly flattening the spine and raising the head upward. After a count of 10, exhale and come back to the original position with the head in a downward position. You can do this exercise after completing the original cat and camel one. Repeat it twice, 15 times each.

Tips for the Day:

Besides the above-mentioned exercises, there are other important things that one should adopt for a healthy spine, such as:

  1. Drinking lots of water. Minimum 3 liters of water is advisable. It keeps the intervertebral space healthy and maintains the liquid content intact.

  2. Maintaining optimum and good posture is mandatory. Keep a note on your table, which will remind you to consciously maintain your posture by correcting in the mirror every day.

  3. Check the way you stand (do not slouch forward much or bend back with extending the knee joint). Maintain the shoulder joint in line with your ears. Lower back should not get too concave and no hunch should be present.

  4. Meditation is a great way of keeping one positive and improving body language. At least 15 minutes of soulful and mindful silence is required for your body. This also improves blood circulation to your spine and keeps it healthy.

  5. Positivity, motivation, and deep breathing exercises also contribute to maintaining the spine concrete and strong.

Following the imbibed lines, one can happily stay energetic and live long, as low back pain has become a generalized form of bodily complaint in many people. Thus participate and perform the above tasks and stay healthy.

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Frequently Asked Questions


1.

Which Exercises Can Be Performed at Home to Decrease Lower Back Pain?

Certain degrees of back pain can be managed at home effectively by doing the following exercises -
- Bird dog. 
- Supine bridge. 
- Child’s pose. 
- Cat camel.
- Knee to chest stretch.
- Lower back rotation stretch.

2.

Which Stretch Can Help Relieve Pain in the Lower Back Region?

Minor forms of backache can be effectively managed by performing the following stretches -
- Trunk rotation. 
- Knee to chest stretch. 
- The seated hamstring stretch.
- Flexion rotation. 
- Pelvic tilt.
- Supported bridge. 
- Belly flop.
- Cat cow stretch.

3.

What Can People Do to Recover Quickly From Back Pain?

Backache can be extremely distressing and can affect the quality of life when not managed appropriately. The following measures can help a person bounce quicker from a lower backache -
- Rest well, but avoid bed rest unless advised otherwise
- Move a little and do soft, gentle stretches to release tension from the back muscle. 
- Maintain good posture to prevent unduly stress on the back, thereby preventing elevated backache.
- Apply a heat pack or ice pack, as per your physician's advice. 
- Use over-the-counter painkillers to reduce pain. 
- Contact a physician if the pain is unbearable or does not subside within a day or two of rest.

4.

Should People Avoid Any Activities When They Have Lower Back Aches?

People with lower back aches should ensure avoiding the following practice lower back pain -
- Lifting heavy things (this includes workouts that involve heavy weights as well).
- Sitting for long hours of time. 
- Having a bad posture. 
- Wearing unsupported footwear or heels.

5.

Is Walking a Good Form of Exercise for Patients With Lower Back Pain?

Walking is an effective yet gentle form of exercise for patients with lower back pain. It not just helps reduce the pain but has several other advantages too, such as -
- Strengthens back muscles. 
- Improves blood flow. 
- Increases flexibility.

6.

Which Exercises Help Strengthen the Muscles of the Lower Back?

There are several exercises that can help strengthen the muscles of the back. A few of them are as follows -
- Glute bridges.
- Plank.
- Side plank. 
- Abdominal crunches. 
- Abdominal drawing-in maneuver. 
- Bird-dog. 

7.

Should People With Back Aches Lie Flat on the Floor to Alleviate the Pain?

Lying flat on the floor to help alleviate back pain only works for a certain percentage of the population. Some people benefit from this, whereas, on the other hand, some people experience aggravated back pain by lying flat on the floor. Such individuals usually prefer cushions underneath their backs for additional support.

8.

Between Sitting or Lying Down, What Should People With Lower Bach Ache Avoid?

Individuals with lower back aches need not avoid both - sitting and lying down to alleviate pain. As long as adequate support is given and proper posture is maintained, people with lower back pain can comfortably sit. They should, however, not sit in one place for long hours and move around every hour and stretch their muscles. Similarly, lying down is also acceptable as long as it does not cause any discomfort.

9.

While Having Lower Back Aches, Should People Rest or Do Some Stretches?

People with lower back pain should take a break from all forms of heavy-duty exercise and get adequate rest, allowing the muscles to relax and recuperate. However, they should also incorporate certain forms of stretching and gentle exercises to strengthen their back and recover soon. A few examples of stretches include the following -
- Trunk rotation. 
- Knee to chest stretch. 
- The seated hamstring stretch.
- Flexion rotation. 
- Pelvic tilt.
- Supported bridge. 
- Belly flop.
- Cat cow stretch

10.

How Can One Know if the Pain in the Lower Back Is Due to Muscular Cause or Due to Disturbances in the Disk?

Most often, people might find it difficult to distinguish between the muscular and spinal or disc-related causes of their back aches. Studies show that spinal or disc-related back ache is usually sharp and radiates to the lower limbs, restricting the range of motion. In contrast, muscular pain can range from sharp to dull, with sore muscles.

11.

How Should People With Lower Back Pain Sit?

People with lower back pain should take extra measures while sitting, especially while sitting for a longer duration. The following measures will help alleviate pain and reduce the probability of aggravating it -
- Sitting with back support, such as a cushion or a rolled towel. 
- Hips should be at a 90-degree angle to the knees. 
- The feet should be placed flat, parallel to the floor, or footrest.

12.

Can Massages Help Relieve Lower Back Pain?

Numerous studies have been published that show massage can relieve back pain. According to research, massages have been successful at treating chronic low back pain and have lasting advantages. The following are some advantages of receiving a back massage:
- Immediate pain relief.
- Soothes tense muscles.
- Stimulates blood flow.
- Helps to reduce stress and anxiety.
- Helps in quicker recovery.

13.

What Is the Best Rehabilitation Method for Lower Back Pain?

An amalgamation of adequate rest, gentle stretches, strengthening exercises, yoga, pilates, and chiropractic exercises comprise the best rehabilitation method for lower back pain. People should follow their physician’s recommendations and have a healthy lifestyle too. Practicing the following exercises regularly can help strengthen the back muscles -
- Bird dog. 
- Supine bridge. 
- Child’s pose. 
- Cat camel. 
- Knee to chest stretch.
- Lower back rotation stretch.

Last reviewed at:
17 Aug 2022  -  4 min read

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