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6 Exercises to Relieve Your Lower Back Pain

Updated on February 16, 2020
Andy Witthoft profile image

I've personally dealt with a lot of back pain. I've seen Chiropractors and Physical Therapists: Here is what I've learned!

How You Can Take Back Your Life

  • 6 Exercises
  • No equipment needed
  • 15-30 minutes
  • Instant relief

First of all, by no means should you take this advice in place of an actual doctor or physical therapist. However, these exercises have been recommended to me by a physical therapist and I have been given similar stretches and exercises by other therapists. I gained immediate relief. I did experience my muscles being sore after completing the exercises, but my lower back was no longer limiting my ability to function and my pain subsided.

"My Back Pain Will Eventually Subside On its Own"

According to the Nation Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes, around 80% of Americans will deal with lower back pain during their lifetime.

It's quite common for people to also ignore their back pain, letting it subside using painkillers, applying ice/heat, and rest. These are certainly helpful steps to take, but they more than likely won't help solve the reoccurring problem that is the underlying cause of many people's back pain. The modern problem of back pain stems from the fact that many of us sit at a desk for the majority of our day, this includes school-aged students. As a result the

These 6 exercises aim to tackle that problem head-on.

Seize your life back by releasing the tension built up in your back.
Seize your life back by releasing the tension built up in your back. | Source

I've Ignored My Pain For Too Long

If you are anything like me you've probably let your pain get out of hand. You've tried stretches and it's helped for a time. The problem with your pain is that when you don't have pain you don't think to manage it or keep it at bay by doing the exercises that you know will help. Your pain goes away, then a month or two later it grabs you a puts your whole life on hold. Or a poor form lift or bend of some sort aggravates your injury/hotspot again. Maybe you felt good and decided to do some weightlifting, after one or two sessions your back has halted your momentum to be fit.

The key to a lasting and pain-free existence is to be consistent with these recommended exercises so that you can be active and healthy. The keyword is "consistent," because falling off the wagon really hurts, literally.


  1. Supine Figure 4 Twist: Lay flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Cross the left foot over the opposite quad, twist both legs in this position to the left. Hold for at least 30 seconds. Alternate sides. After 1 set of Supine Twists return to a neutral position. Bridge: From the supine twist return to a neutral position. Lift hips off the ground until your knees, hips, and shoulders create a straight line. Hold your hips in place for a couple of seconds then slowly release back to the ground. That completes 1 repetition. Complete 10 reps. Complete a set of 3 alternating between the Supine Twist, left and right, and Bridge.
  2. Figure 4 on table/bed: Stand in front of elevated surfaces like a table or bed. Place your left leg on the table with your knee bent at a 90° angle. Make sure that hips are level, bend your leg you are standing on to achieve level hips. Lean forward without curling your spine. Hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds. Alternate sides. Complete a set of 3 Figure 4 stretch.
  3. Clamshell: Place your back and feet against a wall, knees should be bent at a 45° angle. The wall provides support for your core and injured lower back, as opposed to a free form clamshell that requires you to engage your core. While keeping your feet touching raise your top knee. Your bottom knee should remain on the floor. Complete 10 repetitions. Alternate sides. Complete a set of 3 Clamshells.
  4. Abductor Stretch: Kneel on the floor with both legs, if needed place a folded towel under knees to help pad and make this movement more comfortable. Place left leg outstretched to the left of your body. Lower hips and buttocks towards the right heel. Then slowly raise back up. To makes this movement easier is to place your right foot toes on the floor to reduce the depth of the movement. Complete 10 repetitions. Alternate sides. Complete a set of 3 Abductors Stretches. If your hamstrings and abductors are extremely tight add in a Hip Flexor Stretch. Hip Flexor Stretch: Kneel on the floor with both legs, if needed place a folded towel under knees to help pad and make this movement more comfortable. Place left foot in front of your body with your knee bent at a 45° angle. Glide your hips forward and squeeze your glutes. Complete a set of 3.
  5. Squats: Stand with feet roughly shoulder-width apart with feet parallel or close to parallel. Engage core by firming up your abs and pretending to suck in your belly button. Complete a movement as if you are sitting down into a chair. Make sure to keep core engaged and back straight. Keep heels and toes on the ground. Good form is imperative. Complete 10 repetitions. Complete a set of 3 squats.

"Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work gains success. Greatness will come."
— Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

My Personal Journey with Back Pain

I've personally have had pain surrounding the sacral dimples, mainly because the surrounding muscles are overcompensating for the inflamed or injured muscle that is causing the pain in the first place. The pain got so bad that I was feeling pain in my hip, leg, and mid-back. There have been times where my back pain has gotten to the point where I cannot bend down to tie my shoes or pick something up off the floor without experiencing pain or decreased mobility.

The current cause for my back pain is a two-year-old and a one-month-old. My back pain was triggered by the stress of having a newborn, attempting to hold both of them because both are crying at the same time, hunching over to put one or both into the car seat, lifting strollers in and out of cars, roughhousing with the two-year-old so he doesn't feel forgotten. Then, on top of that not being able to stop because they for sure don't take a break. As a parent living overseas away from extended family, I am the first and last line of defense when it comes to taking care of my family. The tipping point for me was when I couldn't even complete the self-prescribed stretches that I had learned from previous visits to physiotherapists.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Andrew Witthoft


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