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3 Types of Exercise That Are Great for Lower Back Pain

Written by Dr. Edward Group Founder
A yoga mat. Did you know yoga is a great exercise to lower back pain?

There's no question that exercise is one of the best ways to strengthen your body, improve flexibility, and boost your metabolism. It turns out that quite a bit of evidence supports the idea that exercise can help lower back pain, too. Let's take a look at three types of exercise that can help alleviate back pain.

Best Exercises for Lower Back Pain

1. Yoga

Yoga is very powerful in reducing short-term, chronic, lower back pain, and it may provide long-term benefits, as well.[1] The cat pose, for example, simulates the movements of a cat by having the individual alternate between arching the back and dropping the stomach toward the floor. This movement — when performed gently — may help relieve tightness in the lower back. Forward and backward bends will also promote gentle movement in the spine.

2. Exercise Ball

People dealing with low back pain may find relief by performing stability exercises using an exercise ball. It's especially helpful for people who sit throughout the day, such as those with office jobs.[2] There are a variety of movements one can perform using an exercise ball, and the type of move is generally determined by the location and severity of the back pain.

3. Cardio

Cardiovascular exercise can reduce one of the primary contributing factors of back pain — excess body weight.[3] Losing weight is one of the most effective ways to relieve joint and muscle pain, and research shows that it can also help ease lower back pain.[4] Now, be careful. Cardiovascular exercise is strenuous, and only those who are cleared for exercise should participate.

Be Safe

Keep in mind that back pain can have a million, literally, different causes, and everyone has a different set of considerations. Someone who has experienced a car accident has a different set of variables than someone who wants to lose weight. What I'm getting at is that before you dive into an exercise routine, you should get clearance from your trusted healthcare professional who is familiar with you, your health, your situation, and your personal goals.

References (4)
  1. Cramer H, et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis of yoga for low back pain. Clin J Pain. 2013 May;29(5):450-460.
  2. Carter JM, et al. The effects of stability ball training on spinal stability in sedentary individuals. J Strength Cond Res. 2006 May;20(2):429-435.
  3. Roffey DM, 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.
  4. Vismara L, et al. Osteopathic manipulative treatment in obese patients with chronic low back pain: a pilot study. Main Ther. 2012 Oct;17(5):451-455.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.


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