Hey Doctor! Which is the best Exercise for Lower Back Pain?

Hey Doctor! Which is the best Exercise for Lower Back Pain?

Parminder Sandhu

Have you been struggling to find the right exercise for lower back pain?

Lower back pain can be excruciating and disturbing for a number of reasons. And as you start looking for lower back exercises, you may come across a wide range of movements that may leave you in a more severe pain.


Most of them are complex and require professional administration, which may not always be present.

At Essentium Phygem, we understand this and share with our readers some of the simplest and most effective low back exercises that will help you in the long run.

So, let's get started!

Brief overview of the importance of a healthy lower back

Lower back health is crucial to our overall well-being. From positioning your body's frame to strengthening your body posture, your lower back does it all.

The spine provides structural support to our body and helps us maintain a healthy posture. Apart from that, the spine also protects our spinal cord and nerves that assist us in mobility.

The flexibility of our lower back also makes it susceptible to a range of problems. A number of nerves that run through our spine and the rest of our body can give rise to discomfort and pain in the legs and similar concerns in the hip.

For these reasons, it's crucial to maintain a healthy lower back.

Lower back and core strengthening exercises alongside full body stretches help strengthen our spine and increase flexibility thus improving overall well-being.

Common issues associated with lower back pain

Common causes of lower back pain are strain and sprain which may result from an injury or trauma experienced while lifting something too heavy, a sudden jerky movement during an intense physical activity, repetitive movements or poor posture.

Chronic lower back pain is most likely caused due to issues with the lumbar discs, nerves or joints.

Lower back pain can also be caused by accident-related trauma and acute stress.

Some common causes of lower back pain are: 


how to manage arthritis and related back pain

Arthritis of the spine is the most frequent cause of lower back pain.

All of us experience wear and tear with age and it is normal for our lower back to ache as we grow older.

Osteoarthritis, which is the most common type of arthritis and degenerative disc disease are amongst the most common cause of chronic lower back pain.

Bulged or ruptured disc

Discs act as cushion between the bones in the spine. The soft tissue inside a disc can bulge or rupture pressing a nerve which can be very painful.

Muscle strain

Sudden or repetitive lifting of heavy weight or a sudden jerky movement can strain back muscles and ligaments.


Spinal vertebrae can develop pain if our bones become porous and brittle.

Ankylosing spondylitis

An inflammatory disease that can cause some of the bones in the spine to fuse together, reducing flexibility of the spine.

The role of targeted exercises in preventing and relieving lower back pain

Lower back pain is of two types - acute and chronic. Acute lower back pain may last a few days or weeks. Chronic back pain lasts longer than a few weeks. To prevent lower back pain, routine stretching and focused core strengthening exercises are recommended.

  • Abdominal and hip flexor muscles help improve posture.
  • Strong glutes help support the back while sitting, standing and walking.
  • Well stretched muscles help improve our mobility.

It is recommended to stay physically active as sedentary lifestyle or long periods of physical inactivity may adversely affect lower back health.

Exercise is the best way to improve functional capacity and prevent future health problems like lower back pain.

Regular physical activity helps alleviate lower back pain, reduce inflammation, and improve overall function of the lower back.

The right lower back exercises can also promote flexibility, strengthens core muscles and improves posture, thus creating a foundation for a pain free life.

Additionally, if you are suffering from chronic or acute back pain, it is recommended that you take professional help to determine the best course of exercises for you.

Understanding Lower Back Anatomy

The lower back, where most back pain occurs, contains five vertebral bones stacked above each other with intervertebral discs in between, supports much of the weight of the upper body.

The spaces between the vertebrae are maintained by intervertebral discs that act like shock absorbers throughout the spinal column to cushion the bones as the body moves.

Ligaments hold the vertebrae in place, and tendons attach the muscles to the spinal column.

Nerves are rooted to the spinal cord, and they control body movements and transmit signals from the body to the brain.

Overview of the structure of the lower back

Our lumbar spine or lower back consists of the five bones or vertebra. Our lumbar vertebrae, labelled as L1 to L5, are the largest of the entire spine. Individual structures include:

  • Vertebrae: Lumbar vertebrae are labelled L1 to L5, progressively increasing in size, allowing them to bear the body’s weight more effectively. 
  • Discs: The discs between the vertebrae provide cushion and shock-absorbing to protect our vertebrae during spinal movements.
  • Facet joints: Vertebrae are connected to the back of the spine with paired facet joints. These joints provide stability and allow our spine to move in different directions. The joint surfaces are lined by cartilage.

Key muscles involved in lower back support

Three main types of back muscles that help the spine function are extensors, flexors, and obliques.

  • Extensor muscles: The muscles attached to the back of the spine that enable functions like standing and lifting of objects. 
  • Flexor muscles: The muscles attached to the front of the spine that functions like enable bending, lifting, and arching of the lower back.
  • Oblique muscles:

    The muscles attached to the sides of the spine which help rotate the spine and maintain posture.

The connection between core strength and a healthy lower back

Strong core prevents back pain as the muscles work synergistically to prevent lower back injuries may cause lower back pain.

  • Strong core muscles help maintain balance, help avoid awkward movement and prevent strain and sprain. 
  • A strong core also allows our body to transfer force and stress through our muscles rather than our spine, thus reducing the risk of lower back pain.
  • The muscles in our back keep vertebrae properly aligned and stabilize spinal joints.
  • When we contract our abdominal muscles, pressure inside our abdominal cavity increases taking weight and pressure off our spine.
  • Strong hip muscles improve our balance and glutes stabilize our hip joints.

Sedentary lifestyle and its impact on lower back health

Active lifestyle is the key to maintaining a healthy lower back.

A sedentary lifestyle can lead to lower back pain.

When sitting for extended periods, muscles of the hip and hamstrings can become tight and overworked, while other muscles like the glutes and core muscles can weaken.

This imbalance leads to lower back pain.

Limited movement leads to weakness in the other muscles like abdomen, buttocks and thighs that support the spine.

Inactive lifestyle or reduced mobility also increases fat content in the body.

Routine movement and lower back exercises have been found to reduce lower back pain.

The importance of consulting a healthcare professional for accurate diagnosis

Getting the right diagnosis is key aspect of health care as it establishes the cause of health problem and right course of treatment.

Errors in diagnosis may lead to negative outcomes, sometimes increase in problem and associated mental stress and financial loss.

Always consult your qualified healthcare professional for a health issue especially the lower back pain. 

Further, it is important to take proper advice from a healthcare professional before embarking on a lower back exercise plan or routine to avoid any damage or trauma from wrong exercises. 

Preparing for Lower Back Exercises

Consult your healthcare professional to establish the right exercises for your lower back.

Wear proper clothing and shoes appropriate for lower back exercises.

Always warm-up before starting your exercise routine to avoid an exercise related injury. Build up slowly to avoid overworking your back. 

Warm-up routines to promote blood flow and flexibility

The purpose of warming up before starting lower back exercises is to prepare mentally and physically for the activity.

Warming up increases blood flow enabling more oxygen to the muscles.

Warm up improves the efficiency of muscular movement ensuring best outcomes. A warm up routine may last upto 10 minutes including stretching and light aerobics.

Some examples are brisk walking, spot jogging, arm swinging, squatting, arm/leg stretching, etc. 

Importance of proper form and technique

Understanding and using proper form and technique are important to avoid any injury or undue strain during exercise.

Incorrect posture, movement, extent or technique may lead to increase in pain or even cause a serious injury to the lower back or other body parts.

On the other hand, proper form and technique helps maximise gain from the lower back exercises.

Tips for individuals with pre-existing conditions or injuries

In case you have pre-existing health conditions or injuries, always consult your healthcare professional and explain your condition(s) before embarking on any exercise routine especially the lower back exercises.

Get a proper understanding of dos and don’ts from your healthcare professional. An expert supervision during exercises will be helpful in such conditions.