Saturday, December 13, 2014

3 Exercises for Low Back Pain

3 Exercises for Low Back Pain

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3 Exercises for Low Back Pain

Posted: 12 Dec 2014 07:00 AM PST


Low back pain is a common complaint among old and young alike, and the causes are as numerous as the levels of severity experienced by sufferers. While the cause of back pain is important, it's not necessarily going to fully bring about ease to the current situation. Exercises for low back pain may be helpful for reducing painful symptoms and may help provide strength and promote flexibility. Improved health of the spine, which naturally results from doing these exercises, may help ease pain and provide an improved quality of life.

3 Exercises for Low Back Pain

Exercise–no matter the form or intensity–is helpful for strengthening the body's defenses, improving flexibility and strength, supporting agility, and increasing the metabolism. It turns out that exercise can also help reduce back pain. Specific exercise routines targeting the lower spine may help reduce pain by easing tension and strengthening muscles. Here are the top three exercises for low back pain you may want to investigate soon:

1. Yoga

Yoga has been shown to be very powerful in reducing short-term chronic low back pain, and evidence exists that consistent yoga practice may be helpful for also providing benefit in the long term. [1] The cat pose in yoga simulates the movements of a cat by having the individual alternate between arching the back and dropping the stomach toward the floor. This movement, performed gently, may help relieve tightness in the lower back. Forward back bends and simple asanas are also designed to promote gentle movement in the spine.

2. Exercise Ball

Individuals suffering from low back pain may find some relief by using an exercise ball. Stability exercises using an exercise ball may be helpful for those who sit for prolonged periods throughout the day, such as those in corporate positions. [2] There are a variety of exercises one can perform using an exercise ball, and the type of exercise performed is generally determined by matching the exercise to the level of back pain severity. It is always best to work with a physiotherapist before attempting any exercise.

3. Cardio

Cardiovascular exercises may seem contradictory for most people with back pain, as many who suffer from back discomfort may find it difficult to perform any strenuous movement. Still, cardio may provide benefit by reducing one contributing factor to back pain–excess weight. [3] Losing weight if overweight or obese can greatly influence one's pain severity in muscles and joints, and reports show that it can also help ease lower back pain. When combined with osteopathic approaches, a healthy weight loss approach may enhance back pain relief. [4] Only those who have been cleared for exercise should use this method for reducing pain in the back, as too much physical activity too soon can be risky. Simply walking, at whatever speed that is comfortable, can be a great way to facilitate weight loss in a safe, healthy manner.

Other Things to Try

Remember to always discuss any changes in your physical activity with your doctor and/or chiropractor. If anything, a medical professional can help guide you toward finding the right exercises for your fitness level and back pain severity. Be sure to also discuss certain herbs you may be taking to make sure it will complement your current approach. Astragalus root, turmeric, and ginger have all been linked to reducing pain and supporting a healthy body. Look into finding a comfortable mattress that provides support for the lower back, and always be conscious of your posture during the day.

-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM


  1. Cramer H, Lauche R, Haller H, Dobos G. A systematic review and meta-analysis of yoga for low back pain. Clin J Pain. 2013 May;29(5):450-60. doi: 10.1097/AJP.0b013e31825e1492.
  2. Carter JM, Beam WC, McMahan SG, Barr ML, Brown LE. The effects of stability ball training on spinal stability in sedentary individuals. J Strength Cond Res. 2006 May;20(2):429-35.
  3. Roffey DM, Ashdown LC, Dornan HD, et al. Pilot evaluation of a multidisciplinary, medically supervised, nonsurgical weight loss program on the severity of low back pain in obese adults. Spine J. 2011 Mar;11(3):197-204. doi: 10.1016/j.spinee.2011.01.031.
  4. Vismara L, Cimolin V, Menegoni F, et al. Osteopathic manipulative treatment in obese patients with chronic low back pain: a pilot study. Main Ther. 2012 Oct;17(5):451-5. doi: 10.1016/j.math.2012.05.002.

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