Lower Back Pain: Symptoms, Causes, and Exercises

Saravanan "Sharu" Hariram

December 15, 2020

Lower back pain is one of the most frequent reasons humans go to the physician or miss work, and it is the main reason for incapacity worldwide. Luckily, you can take action to stop or relieve most lower back pain episodes. If prohibition fails, an easy domestic cure and suitable physique mechanics regularly will cure your lower back pain within a few weeks and preserve it. Surgery is hardly ever wished to deal with it.

Symptoms of lower back pain

Symptoms can vary from slight discomfort to burning, shooting or stabbing sensation in the lower back. Additionally pain can increase or radiate down your legs especially with bending, lifting, standing or even with walking

Causes of lower back pain

Muscle or ligament strain – Poor sitting and standing posture, repeated heavy lifting with poor form, or sudden awkward movements can strain the lower back muscles and spinal ligaments. 

Bulging or ruptured disks – Disks act as cushions between the bones in the spine. The gentle material disk can bulge or rupture and press on a nerve causing pain.

Osteoporosis – spinal bones can develop minor fractures if they become porous and brittle, and can lead to chronic pain.

Osteoarthritis – Inflammation of the spinal bones and narrowing of the area around the spinal cord – called as spinal stenosis – can lead to pain. 

Risk factors of lower back pain

Improper lifting

Anybody can have a lower back pain, including  children and teens. 

Age – Lower back pain  is more frequent when you get older, starting from age 30 and above.

Smoking – smokers have a higher risk of developing lower back pain as smoking can decrease blood flow to the spinal area and increase the risk of osteoporosis. 

Improper Lifting – using your lower back rather than your legs to lift an object off the floor can lead to back ache.

Lack of exercise – weak and unused muscles in the lower back and abdomen can lead to back ache.

Diseases – Diseases such as autoimmune disorders, arthritis,  cancer etc., can also cause lower back pain.

Prevention of Back pain

You can prevent, avoid or stop the recurrence of lower back pain by practising suitable body mechanics and following some simple exercises. 

Core strengthening:  Exercises that focus on strengthening the abdominal oblique muscles and the lower back muscles can dramatically improve the well being of your lower back. 

Aerobic exercise: Low or nonimpact aerobic exercises such as walking, recumbent cycling,  and swimming can improve blood circulation and cardio endurance without stressing your lower back. 

Losing or achieving ideal body weight: Being obese or overweight can stress your lower back muscles. Trim down to forestall back ache. 

Give up smoking-  Smoking increases the risk and recurrence of lower back pain.  So cut down or stop smoking. 

6 Back pain Exercises to keep you Healthy

#1 Knee -to-chest

Knee to chest
  • Lie on your back with knees bent and feet placed flat on the floor
  • Using both hands, grab the right leg by clasping your fingers around the knee.
  • Gently pull the right knee towards the chest until you feel a mild stretch in your glutes and lower back.
  • Hold the position for 20-30 seconds and slowly return to the starting position
  • Repeat the stretch on the left leg. 
  • Do it 2-3 times on each side. 

#2 Seated forward bend

seated forward

Tight hamstrings- the muscles at the back of your things- are a frequent contributor to lower back pain. 

The seated forward bend lengthens the hamstring muscles to relieve the tightness and ease the lower back pain. 

  • Sit on the floor with legs stretched out and feet together
  • Hook a band, rope, or towel around the feet and hold the ends with your hands. 
  • Gently bend forward from the hips, and try to bring your stomach towards the thighs until you feel a mild stretch in your hamstrings and lower back. 
  • Hold the position for 20- 30 seconds. Relax by returning to the starting position
  • Repeat the stretch 2-3 times

#3 Lying hip rotation

lying hip rotation

The lying hip rotation helps to stretch your lower back, and abdominal oblique muscles, which can increase the space between the spinal bones to relieve the stress. 

  • Lie down on your back with knees bent at 90 degrees and feet off the floor. 
  • Extend the arms wide and place the palms of your hands firmly on the floor. 
  • Gently roll the knees towards one side until you feel a mild stretch in your lower back.  Hold the position for 15-20 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat the stretch on the other side. 
  • Do 3-4 times on each side. 

#4 Supported bridge 

supported bridge

This exercise helps to decompress your lower back via supported elevation. Use a foam roller cushion or rolled up towel to do this exercise

  • Lie down on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Lift your hips off the floor and place a foam roller cushion or rolled-up towel below your lower back
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds. You can do this 3-4 times a day

If you want to increase the stretch in your lower back extend one or both legs from their bent position.

#5 Lying Pelvic tilts

lying exercise

The pelvic tilt is an easy but very effective exercise to release the tight lower back muscles and increase the flexibility

  • Lie down on your back with knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. 
  • Gently arch your lower back and push the belly out. 
  • Hold this position for 8-10 seconds, and relax.
  • Now push your belly down by rounding the spine and press the lower back to the floor
  • Hold this position for 8-10 seconds, and relax.
  • Do this for 3-4 repetitions. 

#6 Cat-cow exercise

cat cow exercise

The cat-camel is a useful exercise to help increase flexibility and ease the stress on your lower back. 

  • Get in a quadruped position with your hands and knees placed on the floor.  
  • Arch your back by pulling the belly up towards the spine, and letting your head dropdown. This is the cat portion of the exercise.
  • Hold this position for  8-10 seconds. You should feel a gentle stretch in your lower back.
  • Relax and return to the starting position.
  • Now drop your belly down by curving the lower back and raising your head up. This is the cow portion of the exercise.
  • Hold this position for 8-10 seconds. You should feel a mild tightness in your lower back
  • Relax and return to starting position
  • Do this for 3-4 Repetitions

About the Author

Saravanan “Sharu” Hariram is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer with a passion for bodybuilding. Combining his love for fitness with his career, Sharu did his certification in Sports Nutrition, and Rehabilitation and Healing Nutrition. Currently a Master Trainer with HealthifyMe, he specializes in Weight Management, Marathon Training, and Physical Rehabilitation. In his 20+ years of experience, Sharu has always maintained that one’s mind must have control over their body in order to lead a healthy life. At HealthifyMe, he continues to follow his passion while helping those around him realise their fitness goals.

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4 responses to “Lower Back Pain: Symptoms, Causes, and Exercises”

  1. A very helpful post to learn about the reasons for back pain and very helpful exercises to get relieved from the back pain. Thank you for sharing.

  2. When you mentioned that improper lifting can lead to lower back pain when done enough times, I thought about all the shopping we did recently. After lifting so many gifts and groceries back and forth from our car, I started feeling like my back was getting more painful by the day. It’s possible that I didn’t use the proper lifting technique for those days, so I’ll look for a chiropractor in the area that can help me treat this.

  3. Back pain is most common problem in the working class these days. Most of the employees working while sitting on a chair suffers the most. A person should do some exercises while sitting to give some ease their back. Apart from this cure, one can prevent it by doing daily yoga practice. Yoga is most efficient in getting rid of these type of pains.

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