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 have been shown to help alleviate back pain.
Yoga has been shown to be very powerful in reducing short-term, chronic, lower back pain, and it may also be helpful for providing benefit in the long term.  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, 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
People suffering from low back pain may find relief by performing stability exercises using an exercise ball. It’s especially helpful for those who sit throughout the day, such as those with office jobs.  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.
Cardiovascular exercises may provide benefit by reducing one primary contributing factor to back pain — excess weight.  Losing weight can greatly influence joint and muscle pain and research shows that it can also help ease lower back pain.  Now, be careful. Cardiovascular exercise is strenuous and only those who have been cleared for exercise should do so.
Keep in mind that back pain can have a million, literally, different causes and everyone has a different set of considerations. Someone whose been in a car accident has different concerns than someone who needs 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 advisor whose familiar with you, your health, your situation, and your personal needs.
Have you used exercise to help your lower back pain? Leave a comment below and share your story with us!
by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.