Reduce Back Pain: 5 quick and easy exercises to reduce back pain

Identifying and Understanding Lower Back Pain

Picture of Chris Dounis

Chris Dounis

Chris is an accredited exercise physiologist with over 15 years professional experience working with a wide range of clients.
Learn more about Chris here.

If you’ve ever grappled with the discomfort of lower back pain, you’re not alone. Whether it’s due to muscle strain, injury, or other chronic health condition, such as arthritis, lower back pain can be a persistent issue affecting countless individuals worldwide.

The good news is that through targeted exercises and a commitment to your well-being, you can take control of your back health and find relief. In this series of articles on back pain, we’ll embark on a journey together, exploring a set of five exercises carefully crafted to strengthen and mobilise the muscles that support your back, ultimately reducing pain and helping you get back to a pain-free and active lifestyle.

Let’s begin your journey toward a life with less back pain.

Relieving back pain is of paramount importance as it directly impacts our overall quality of life and daily functioning. Chronic or recurrent back pain can hinder our ability to perform even the simplest tasks, affecting our work, personal relationships, and leisure activities. Beyond the physical discomfort, it can lead to mental and emotional distress, causing anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances. Moreover, untreated back pain can contribute to a vicious cycle of inactivity, further weakening the supporting muscles and potentially leading to more severe health issues over time. By addressing and relieving back pain, we not only enhance our immediate well-being but also invest in our long-term health and vitality, ensuring that we can enjoy a pain-free, active, and fulfilling life.

Engaging in regular physical activity not only can help eliminate your pain, but also offers numerous benefits for both physical and mental well-being.

Benefits of regular physical activity for back pain

Improved Physical Health

Regular exercise helps maintain a healthy weight, reduces the risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure, and enhances overall cardiovascular health (Warburton et al., 2006). It also strengthens muscles and bones, improving physical endurance and mobility.

Enhanced Mental Health

Physical activity releases endorphins, hormones that act as natural mood lifters, reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Regular exercise can also boost cognitive function, improve memory, and reduce the risk of cognitive decline with age (Mandolesi et al., 2018).

Increased Energy Levels

Regular physical activity has been shown to have beneficial effects on fatigue, energy, and vitality (Wender et al., 2022). In this way, being more physically active ensures we have the energy to spend more time doing the things we enjoy.

Better Sleep

Regular exercise promotes better sleep quality by helping to regulate the sleep-wake cycle. People who engage in physical activity often experience deeper and more restful sleep (Lang et al., 2016), get to sleep faster and have fewer sleep disturbances (Alley et al., 2015), leading to improved overall well-being.

Stress Reduction

Exercise is an effective way to manage and reduce stress. Not only does it help the body release endorphins that boost mood, but it also suppresses the effect of the stress hormone, Cortisol, improving our psychological resiliency (Caplin et al., 2021).

Incorporating regular physical activity into your routine can lead to a multitude of health benefits, both in the short term and as part of a long-term strategy for overall well-being.
This ebook is your gateway to a pain-free life, and it’s designed to make the journey as easy and accessible as possible. Inside, you’ll discover five straightforward exercises specifically chosen to kickstart your path towards alleviating back pain. Whether you’re a beginner or someone looking for simple yet effective solutions, these exercises will empower you to take control of your health and eliminate pain.

Say goodbye to discomfort and hello to relief as you embark on this journey towards a pain-free back.

Identifying and understanding Back Pain

Back pain refers to discomfort or pain felt in the upper, middle, or lower region of the back, and it can manifest in various forms. The most common types of back pain include:

  1. Acute back pain: Characterised by sudden and severe discomfort, often resulting from injury
  2. Chronic back pain: Defined as a pain that persists for an extended period, typically beyond three months, and may be linked to underlying medical conditions
  3. Radicular pain: Is a pain that stems from irritation or compression of spinal nerves, often resulting in shooting pain, tingling, or weakness that radiates down the legs (sciatica) or arms.

There are also some common red flags to watch out for when it comes to lower back pain. If you experience sudden and severe pain, especially after an injury or accident, it’s a clear signal to seek immediate medical attention. Other warning signs include pain that radiates down your legs, numbness or weakness in the lower limbs, unexplained weight loss, or a history of cancer. Additionally, if you have trouble controlling your bladder or bowel movements along with lower back pain, it’s crucial to see a healthcare professional promptly, as these could indicate more serious underlying issues. Always listen to your body and don’t ignore these red flags when they arise.

When you overlook persistent back pain, the consequences can be profound and far-reaching. Mobility is often severely constrained, with even the most basic daily activities like bending or walking becoming formidable challenges. This predicament can propel individuals towards a sedentary lifestyle, potentially leading to weight gain and a cascade of related health issues, including obesity and cardiovascular problems.

Moreover, untreated back pain can disrupt sleep patterns, resulting in fatigue, irritability, and impaired cognitive function. The prolonged experience of pain can further contribute to anxiety and depression, exerting strain on personal relationships and diminishing one’s overall quality of life.

It is so important to recognise that early intervention through exercise and proactive measures can significantly alleviate these adverse effects. It’s never too late to begin incorporating exercises into one’s routine. Incorporating exercise can aid in preventing the development of chronic and debilitating conditions, reducing the necessity for more invasive treatments or surgeries, and empowering individuals to regain control over their overall well-being.

It’s also essential to acknowledge that when it comes to back pain, “poor posture” and muscle imbalances, while often emphasised, are just a portion of the overall puzzle. There is currently no evidence to suggest that poor posture causes lower back pain (Swain et al., 2020). Not everyone experiencing back pain necessarily grapples with poor posture or muscle imbalances, and vice versa. This diversity underscores the complexity of back pain as a condition, as its origins can vary widely from one individual to another.

Rather than singling out these factors as the sole culprits, a more comprehensive perspective is warranted. Back pain is a multifaceted issue that can be influenced by various elements, including lifestyle, occupation, underlying medical conditions, and even genetic predispositions. To provide effective relief, it’s crucial to approach each case with a holistic understanding and consider the unique blend of factors at play. By doing so, we can tailor interventions and solutions that address the specific needs of the individual, ensuring a more effective and personalised approach to back pain management.

By following the carefully selected exercises and techniques outlined in this guide, individuals can take proactive steps to alleviate discomfort and regain control of their back health. These exercises focus on strengthening and stretching the muscles that support the spine, improving flexibility and movement tolerance, which are crucial components of self-care for mild back pain. By empowering individuals with knowledge and practical strategies, this guide equips them to address mild back pain independently and prevent it from escalating into a more serious issue, ultimately leading to a more comfortable and active life. By making exercise a priority, individuals can actively manage their back pain and, more importantly, significantly reduce the likelihood of future pain episodes, ultimately fostering a life free from the limitations of back discomfort.

In the next article, we’re going to discuss some of the essentials when preparing for exercise.

As always, before undertaking any exercise program, it is important that you consult with a healthcare professional, such as your GP or one of our friendly Exercise Physiologists at EP360.

Disclaimer

This series does not serve as specific medical advice, and should be viewed as educational ONLY. Chronic pain is an individual and complex experience, and as such, any treatment needs to be tailored to the individual. Always seek advice from a relevant medical professional before undertaking any treatment or exercise program.

 

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