Lose Weight, Gain Relief: Exercises for Aching Backs

Lose Weight, Gain Relief: Exercises for Aching Backs


Back pain can really be a pain. But you don’t have to keep suffering. With the correct exercises and stretches, you can get back the control of your back and have relief.

In this article, we’ll look at the best exercises to combat your back pain. Most of these workouts don’t need any extra gear. We’ll also discuss how to start with the right intensity and how to tweak the exercises for your own needs.

Causes of Back Pain

Low back pain is common – up to 80% of people experience it in their life. Causes range from muscle strain or injury, obesity, poor posture and medical conditions like arthritis or spinal stenosis. Knowing the source is essential to address the problem.

Most low back pain is caused by muscle strain. It happens when muscles are weakened due to repetitive motions or bad lifting form. If untreated, this can become chronic and cause constant discomfort.

Being overweight puts extra pressure on the spine, leading to pain. Exercising and eating well can help reduce this risk.

Slouching, having an arched spine, head out – all these create imbalances in the spine, causing pain. Paying attention to posture when sitting, standing, walking or playing sport can reduce strain and reduce injury risk.

Arthritis is inflammation in the spine’s joints, causing stiffness, swelling and tenderness. Spinal stenosis causes pressure on nerve roots, leading to weakness and shooting pains down legs. These medical conditions need more than just exercises and must be managed with a physician specialized in this field. Diagnosis requires X-ray, CT scan or MRI.

Exercises for Back Pain Relief

Back pain can be a real hindrance. Luckily, there are some stretches and strength exercises that can help. In this article, we’ll look at the different exercises which have been proven to provide relief from back pain:

Stretching Exercises

Stretching exercises can help reduce and manage back pain. Strengthening is important, but stretching can help muscles work together better. This reduces strain and improves mobility.

These exercises can provide relief: static stretching, dynamic stretching, yoga poses, Pilates exercises, and Active Range of Motion (AROM).

  • Static Stretching: Stretch a muscle to its maximum length, hold for 10-30 seconds, then relax. Increases flexibility and reduces tightness.
  • Dynamic Stretching: Includes motion while lengthening a muscle group. E.g. leg swings or static lunges. Enhances coordination and activates joints.
  • Yoga Poses: Works on links between breathing, movement, and relaxation. Develops balance in both sides of body.
  • Pilates Exercises: Works multiple muscle groups and helps restore balance.
  • Active Range Of Motion: Combines traditional stretches with resistive force. Enhances muscle strength.

Strengthening Exercises

Strengthening exercises can be a great way to reduce and even prevent back pain. They help support lower back muscles, increase flexibility and balance, and result in improved posture. It’s important to remember to focus on the core, glutes, quads, hip flexors, and hamstrings for these exercises.

Studies show that regular exercise can provide long-term relief for those with chronic back pain. It can also improve physical function and general wellness.

Before beginning any strength training routine, it is essential to talk to a healthcare provider or physical therapist. They can advise which exercises are best for your symptoms and condition. Commonly recommended strengthening activities include:

  • Standing one-arm rows
  • Swiss ball bridges
  • One-leg squats
  • Yoga poses (eagle pose or camel pose)
  • Hip abduction/adduction with band
  • Core stability exercises (bridge differences or plank variations)

Core Strengthening Exercises

Core strengthening exercises can help reduce back pain. Having strong core muscles supports the spine, reducing stress and improving back health. Here are some effective core exercises to do at home or the gym.

  • Plank: Lie on a mat face down. Prop yourself up on your elbows. Push up onto your toes, keeping your body straight from head to toe. Hold for 30 seconds. Do 3 sets with 60 seconds rest between each set.
  • Bridge: Lie on a mat face up. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Keep your arms by your sides, palms down. Lift your buttocks off the floor until your thighs are parallel to the mat. Push through your feet and squeeze your buttocks. Slowly lower your buttocks back to the starting position. Engage your abdominals throughout. Repeat 10 times, doing 2 sets of 10.
  • Back Extension: Lie face down. Cross your arms over your chest or place your hands behind your neck or head (never hold your neck). Extend your legs and keep them together. Slowly raise your upper body off the ground until your elbows are slightly bent. Hold for 2 seconds before slowly returning your upper body to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 1 set.
  • Bird Dog: Begin on all fours on a mat. Keep your head/neck relaxed in line with your spine. Lift your left arm straight out and extend your right leg backwards until both are parallel to the ground. Maintain a neutral spine for balance and support. Hold for 10 seconds. Lower your arm and leg. Switch sides and repeat 15 times, doing 3 sets of 5 per side with 1 minute rest between sets.

Tips for Practicing Safe Exercise

Prior to trying any of the exercises for relieving back pain, it is essential to practice safe exercise. Ask your doctor first! They can evaluate your medical history, physical condition and any potential issues you may have. When you have the okay and advice from your doc, you can choose exercises that are right for your body and goals.

Warm Up

Before any physical activity, it’s important to warm up for 5-10 minutes. Begin slow and gradually increase your speed. This helps prepare your muscles, tendons and ligaments for more intense exercises. Warming up increases blood flow and reduces the risk of sudden, strenuous movements causing injury.

General warm-up activities include:

  • Walking
  • Jogging in place
  • Light stretching
  • Jumping on a mini trampoline

Speak to your physician about the best exercises to do before physical activity, especially if you have a sore back.

Cool Down

Cooling down is key after any exercise. It helps your body adjust, and also boosts blood circulation so that oxygen reaches your muscles. This is especially important for those with injury or conditions like arthritis, disc problems and muscle weakness.

Cool down after every workout. Take 5-10 minutes (or longer if you’d like) to do a slower exercise, like walking or light jogging, plus stretching. If you have an existing condition or injury, use this time to target the affected area. For example, if you have back pain due to ruptured discs, try gentle stretches on the floor.

Finally, end your cool down with some deep breathing and restorative yoga poses like downward dog, half pigeon, extended side angle, and seated meditation. This will help bring your body back to a relaxed state. Cooling down can make a huge difference in injury prevention and overall wellbeing!

Use Proper Form

Maximize exercise and minimize injury by using proper form. Doing exercises wrong can cause harm. Here are some tips for form and safety:

  • Warm up with light movements like walking, jogging, jumping rope, and mild stretches. A warm muscle is less prone to injury.
  • Avoid jerking and ballistic movements. These can stress tendons, muscles, ligaments, joints, and discs.
  • Focus on smooth motions without sudden stops/starts (controlled resistance/motion).
  • When lifting weights, make sure it’s not too much for your level of strength. Don’t lock out elbows when lifting free weights – keep a slight bend in the joint. Lighten the weight if you can’t perform properly.
  • Ensure correct posture. Keep hips stable for side bends; brace abdominals when lifting; use counterbalance for lateral arm raises; open chest when stretching; maintain neutral spine; use cushioning on floor; use breath control; avoid arching neck backward in chest exercises; keep back in contact with support surface during abdominal work.


Therefore, exercise can support strong muscles and healthy movement in your back. Moreover, it can even help you drop weight – which is also good for your spine. Nonetheless, it is crucial to be aware that only moderate exercise is best – excessive exercise can make your muscles sore and worsen the pain.

Through the correct measure of exercise, you can find relief and reinforce your spine.

Benefits of Exercise for Back Pain Relief

Exercising is key to recovering from a sore back and keeping spine health in check. It can lessen the pain, upgrade flexibility, strength, range of motion and coordination. It can also help improve posture, up stability and reduce fatigue.

For back pain relief, some of the best exercises include:

  • Low-impact aerobic activities like walking, swimming and cycling.
  • Stretching to lengthen back muscles.
  • Strengthening core muscles that support the spine.
  • Balance exercises for stability when moving.

To get started, it is important to get guidance from a medical provider. They can create a program based on your age, weight, injury or disability, and can make modifications if needed. Before each session, warm up with light movements like a light jog or jumping jacks. After the workout, cool down with some stretches.

Start slowly and increase intensity gradually. Listen to your body, and watch out for signs like pain or discomfort. With regular back pain relief exercises done consistently, you can enjoy long-term spinal health benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why do I have back pain?
There are many reasons why you might experience back pain, including poor posture, muscle strain, herniated discs, or medical conditions like arthritis or scoliosis.

2. Can exercise really help my back pain?
Yes! Exercise can strengthen the muscles in your back, making them less prone to injury, and can also improve your posture and flexibility.

3. What are some exercises that can help relieve back pain?
Some exercises that can help relieve back pain include yoga, Pilates, swimming, walking, and stretches that focus on your back muscles.

4. How often should I exercise to relieve my back pain?
Aim to exercise at least three times a week for 30 minutes each time. You can also break up your exercise into shorter sessions throughout the day if that works better for you.

5. Are there any exercises I should avoid if I have back pain?
If you have back pain, you should avoid high-impact exercises like running or jumping, as well as any exercises that put a lot of strain on your back, such as sit-ups or heavy weight lifting.

6. When should I see a doctor for my back pain?
If your back pain is severe or lasts for more than a few days, or if it’s accompanied by other symptoms like numbness or tingling, you should see a doctor right away.

the back recovery program by alex larsson
Jane Smith is a natural health enthusiast on a mission to uncover effective methods for achieving pain-free living. Through her personal journey with chronic back pain, she has become well-versed in holistic approaches such as yoga, Pilates, and essential oils.

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