What exercise is best for lower back pain?

We used to think that rest was best for lower back pain, but we now know this is not the case!

Over the years, research studies have been completed and advice on the best exercise for lower back pain has changed.

Is stretching best for lower back pain?

The majority of my clients definitely prefer to stretch to settle back pain.  This can help improve a flare up, especially if you take time to relax into the stretch.  This is because relaxing and deep breathing as you move into a stretch helps to calm the parasympathetic nervous system. 

When you are in pain, your parasympathetic nervous system tends to go into overdrive.  This means the stress hormones in our bodies increase.  We might feel tense, anxious, and have difficulty sleeping.  Our bodies become hyper-sensitised. If you can relax into a stretch, and calm your nervous system, this will help you start to feel better.

I really like knee hugs and knee rolls as an exercise to ease you back through some gentle moving and stretching of your back following a flare up.

Does cardio exercise help lower back pain?

General cardio exercise can be really helpful for settling lower back pain.  Aerobic exercise such as going for a walk, swim, or getting on a static bike are great examples of exercise that will work your cardiovascular system without putting impact through a sensitised back.

And what about impact exercise?  A study on runners showed that they have healthier discs than non-runners.  However, if your back is sensitive due to an acute flare up, this may be too intense an activity until your symptoms have settled to a manageable level.

Is core work best for lower back pain?

Core work is great for lower back pain!  You can’t go wrong getting strong!  I make sure I include core work of our stomach, back, shoulder and hip muscles into every Pilates session I take, because I see such huge benefits in my clients from doing this.

Whilst having a weak core is not necessarily a cause of back pain, strengthening it up means that you can tolerate more load. This means your back is more prepared should you do an awkward or unusual movement.

I’d love to teach you some effective core exercises to strengthen your back, and why you can’t go wrong getting strong!  Come and join me for my Core Strength Masterclass on Wednesday 20th October at 8pm!  The session will also be available for you to catch up on or repeat at a time to suit you. You can find out more about the session & sign up here.

So, which exercise is best for lower back pain?

The exercise you will do, and do consistently is the best for your lower back pain!  Find something that you enjoy, and feels good for you to do.  You’ll be much more likely to stick with it consistently & see the benefits.  Remember, lotion is motion, & rest is rust!  If you’d like more help with settling your back pain, sign up to my mailing list, where I send out free weekly advice to help you feel the best you can! I’ll also send you through my free download ‘5 Simple Steps to Settle Your Back Pain’ when you enter your details below:

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Posted in Blog.