Five Exercises to Help Your Back Pain Go Away for Good

For the 31 million Americans who suffer from daily back pain, relief can be hard to find. In fact, back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide and the second most common reason for visits to the doctor. While it can be caused by many different things—extended periods of sitting or standing at work, bad posture, stress, an overly-strenuous workout or helping a friend move, to mention a few—once back pain hits, it can stick around for a long time. Your gut instinct might be to stay frozen until it goes away, but the best thing for your back is to keep it moving with gentle stretches. In fact, a regular routine of a few quick exercises can help you reduce your back pain without a trip to the doctor. Try to do the following exercises every morning and again at night.

  1. Back curl: Lying on your back, pull one knee towards your chest and hold for 15 seconds. Place it back down and repeat with the other leg. Now pull both knees up at the same time and hold. Run through the cycle two or three times.
  2. Side-to-side twist: Still lying on your back, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Keeping both shoulders on the ground, roll your bent knees to one side, holding them there for 10 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Run through the series two or three times.
  3. Bridge: Still lying on your back with your feet flat on floor, lift your hips and torso off the floor into a bridge. Then interlace your hands underneath your hips and press your shoulders and upper arms into the floor, lifting your hips higher. Hold for 10 seconds. Lower yourself slowly back down, rolling down from the top of your spine to your tailbone. Repeat three times.
  4. Cat-cow: Start on all fours, with palms and knees on the ground. Slowly arch your back, tilt your butt up and look up at the ceiling so you make a C curve with your torso. Return to the neutral starting position, then tilt your pelvis down and gaze at the floor near your feet, so your body reverses the C curve the other way. Return to neutral and repeat the series three times.
  5. Seated twists: Sitting on the floor, cross your right leg over your left leg. Bracing your left elbow against the outside of your right knee, twist to the side, holding the stretch for 10 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side and cycle through three times on each side.

There are some circumstances where you should immediately see a doctor for back pain, like if there is numbness, swelling or intense pain. If you fall into one of those categories, make sure to call your physician. And for more back pain moves, see the below video:



Photo credit: Michael Dorausch

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  1. From a physical therapist’s perspective, these are excellent exercises for lower back pain (LBP) resulting from muscular tightness or stiff joints. However, LBP can also be caused by bulging (or “herniated”) discs, pinched nerves, and the like. If your LBP worsens (or radiates into your leg) upon attempting these or any other low back exercises, you should seek medical attention. Physical therapists are musculoskeletal experts that are able to properly evaluate and treat your back pain symptoms. And, according to a recently passed law in the state of Michigan, a physician referral is no longer necessary to seek treatment from a physical therapist. So, if you are experiencing LBP that is not improving…#getPT!

    Don Freehafer, PT
    (We are a BCBSM provider!)

  2. Nice post. Your post is very helpful for back pain exercise. Yoge, Exercise ball is very effective for back pain exercise. Thanks for nice post.
    Visit here for more health tips…

  3. Thanks for sharing these exercises to help with back pain. I’ve been having some issues with my back, and it’s getting bad enough that it’s difficult for me to sleep at night. I’m going to be visiting a professional to get help, but maybe I could try out some of these exercises like the side-to-side twist to see if they help.

  4. I had physical therapy last year for lower back pain and these exercises were part of the regimen. I went 2 to 3 times a week and it actually worked, I was pain free. The therapist stated that as long as I incorporated these exercises into my daily life a few times a week, I would remain pain free. I did just that for a few months and she was right, I felt great. Unfortunately, I took being pain free for a few months for being “cured”, not so, pain is back, which is why I’m online looking for relief. After looking at this website, I realize, I already know what will work, these exercises duh, lol. As soon as I log off, I will hit the mat and as long as these exercises work as well as last year I am determined to do them on a regular basis (like the therapist suggested) and live pain free…at least in my back! 🙂

  5. Personally, glute and hip exercises and stretches were what helped me the most with my back pain. I was stretching my back like crazy and getting no where, but then I stretched my glutes and hips and my back pain was gone instantly. If you haven’t tried it you should!

  6. Few days back, someone close to me suggested to get Physiotherapy Treatment which involves IVR and Ultrasound therapy. Is it really good to have Physiotherapy Treatment to get rid of this back pain? The reason I’m asking is, I want to make sure that this work before I get the treatment, as I’m fed up with “Just Treatments” and “no results”.

  7. It’s been 14 days since I started the suggested back stretching exercises each morning and night. I’ve missed only a couple of sessions but mostly I do them twice a day.
    The Saturday before I started, I couldn’t bend over to pick up a $100 note. I started my day by carefully easing off the mattress bent over like the letter ‘r’. I’d walk around the ground floor for several laps until eventually I could start to straighten up.
    We used to sleep upstairs in a beautiful room but we’ve had to convert the dining room downstairs into a bedroom to avoid the ascent in the morning. Stairs and crooked spines don’t mix.
    Since practicing the stretching I can almost touch my toes. Not flat to the floor, I’m really only hovering, but by crikey, I’m close.
    I realise I’ve let my pain confine me. I didn’t think I’d escape it and accepted what I thought were my limitations.
    That was defeatist laziness on my part. I’m only 54. Too young to give up. I have scoliosis, a few spinal compression fractures and arthritus. But that’s a long way from being bed bound.
    I’m not endorsing or saying these stretches are a miracle cure, but I definitely think they’ve helped. I’ve even started to add a few gentle yoga poses and pilates moves which I could so easily do, back in the day, when I was 63 kilos and participated in the greatest oxymoron ever named … a thing called the Fun Run. If I’m not careful, and I keep stretching away each day, I could end up with a 6 pack and back to my 5′ 7″ instead of 5′ 5″.
    It’s early days, and I may slacken off, and if I do, I hope I revisit this post and remind myself that 15 seconds x3 etc is nothing.
    Just do it.
    So boo hoo, woe is me, but I’m having a go, and so far I’m feeling better.

    1. Hi Ashley, We’re glad to hear you have enjoyed our content and wish you the best on pursuing your goals! Best, Taylar

  8. certain yoga postures can help lengthen your spine, stretch and strengthen your muscles, and return your back to its proper alignment. Thank for sharing!

  9. To be healthy and fit exercise is the best way ever we have found. This is proven that those people doing exercise regularly, they face less numbers of decease I the life. This is awesome content. I have found some effective tips from this one.

  10. Thank you for your great article on exercises that can help you relieve your back pain. I have really bad lower back pain that I want to relieve. I will definitely utilize all of your great tips and information when trying to help with my back pain.

  11. From one Michigander with back pain to another… thank you! I will try these out, hopefully I can make it a few days without an achy back… I will report back!

  12. I did some “core” exercises at the gym last night, and afterwards, I couldn’t stand up straight without pain. I decided to google what I could do, and found this. I printed out the exercises, and SON OF A GUN! I can now stand up! Wow. Thanks for posting these

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