12 Easy Exercises to Help Alleviate Your Back Pain
1. Hamstring Stretches
Stretching your hamstrings can really help ease tension in your lower back. Tight hamstrings can pull on your lower back muscles, causing the hips and pelvis to rotate forward. This can lead to a flattened lower back.
Hamstring stretches are easy to do wherever you are. Simply stand, bring one knee to waist height and wait until you feel the stretch. However, the best way to do it is by lying down on the ground and using a BACK Posture Band.
- Lie on the floor on your back
- Loop the Posture Band around one foot and hold the ends of the Band with both hands
- Slowly pull on the Band while keeping your leg straight. Your other leg should remain flat on the ground
- Keep raising your leg until you can feel the stretch behind your thigh
- Hold for 15 seconds and release
2. Bird Dog
The bird dog is a body weight floor exercise that strengthens the core - specifically the erector spinae, rectus abdominus and glutes. A strong core allows for correct movement, control and stability of the whole body.
Find a soft surface to kneel on and enough space to extend both an arm and a leg at the same time.
- Kneel with knees hip-width apart and your hands firmly placed on the ground, shoulder-width apart. Be sure to brace your abs
- Point an arm out straight in front and level with your back. Once you feel you are balanced, extend the opposite leg out behind you, forming one straight line from finger to toe
- Hold this position for as long as you can, and then return to the starting position
- Repeat with the other arm and leg
3. Deadlift Stretch
Are normal stretches not your bag? Wanting a little extra resistance? Then grab your Posture Band and try this one out!
The deadlift stretch primarily targets the hamstrings and, to a lesser degree, traps, forearms, quads, calves, middle back, glutes, hip flexors and lower back.
- Place your hands on the loops of the Posture Band
- Stand on the centre of the band, keeping your back flat and your chest out
- Stand upwards, bringing your hips forward from the starting position to a full upright position
- Return to the original position and repeat as desired
4. Knee to Chest
This exercise is great for targeting the lower back and increasing your joint flexibility.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent
- Bring one knee into your hands and gently pull your knee toward your chest. You should feel a stretch in your lower back
- Hold, then lower your bent leg
- Repeat with the other leg
This is a great stretch for targeting many muscle groups, like the gluteus maximus, hamstrings and quadriceps, as well as the spine and hips.
- Begin by lying flat on your back with your arms at your sides
- While on your back, bend your knees to bring your feet towards your bum. Make sure you keep the soles of your feet flat on the ground and your knees shoulder-width apart
- Extend your arms out beside your body while keeping your palms flat on the ground. If your fingers can’t touch your heels, bring your heels closer
- Lift your hips off the ground, bracing your body with your arms. Your legs, hips, buttocks and back should come off the ground and be raised towards the ceiling
- To stretch out your back completely, lift your chest as high as you can
- Return to the starting position and repeat as needed
6. Bottom to Heels Stretch
This is a great stretch for targeting your hip flexors, lower back and hamstrings.
- Start on all fours, with your knees and hands shoulder-width apart and your back straight
- Slowly move your bum towards your heels, keeping your hands in their original position, so that your nose is close to the ground and your arms are fully extended
- Hold the position for one long deep breath and then return to the original position on all fours
- Repeat 8 to 10 times, or as required
7. Seated Shoulder Raise
This is a great exercise to target your upper back and shoulders. (It also encourages great posture!)
- Sit in a comfortable chair that allows your legs to fall at a 90 degree angle
- Loop your Posture Band under the seat
- Keep your back straight and in line with your shoulders
- Place your hands in the loops of the band
- Keep your wrist and elbow in line and then raise your elbows up to shoulder height
- Slowly lower your arms to the starting position, and repeat
8. Lateral Leg Lifts
This exercise targets the lateral hips and glutes. Adding it to a regular stretching routine will do wonders for your lower back pain.
- Lie down on your side, keeping one side of your body in contact with the ground from hip to ankle. Rest on your elbow but ensure your back is in line with your legs and not leaning forward
- Bracing your abdominals, lift your upper leg approximately 45 degrees and lower it in a controlled, smooth manner
- Repeat as desired
9. Board Based Stretch
If you’re willing to go the extra mile, stretching can be made much easier with some extra kit. And one of the easiest and most effective ways of stretching your back is with the BACK Backboard Mini™. This exercise board can be moulded into the ideal shape to augment your stretching routine.
To get the most out of this board, try the following stretch. It’s great for isolating your lower back without the risk of overextension that comes with a full stretch.
- Simply get your Backboard Mini™, undo the velcro strap, place over your knee and bend it to the required shape to suit your back
- Place on the floor so that the curved side faces up
- Carefully lay down on the board, with the Backboard Mini™’s curve fitting into the small of your back
- Extend your arms out, lift your knees so that your feet are touching the floor and let your weight rest on the board. You should feel the Backboard Mini™ stretching your back muscles
- For an extra stretch, roll your knees over to the left side until your pelvis is on its side, while keeping your knees together. You will feel a further stretch up your lower back
- Hold the stretch for 10 seconds, then return to the starting position
- Repeat for the right side, and as many times as desired
10. Banded Pull Apart
This exercise primarily targets the middle back, as well as the forearms and shoulders.
- Grab each end of your Posture Band with both hands
- Stand up straight with your hands shoulder width apart
- Pull the band apart, squeezing your shoulder blades together
- Return to the starting position
The plank is the classic test of core and back strength and a great way to strengthen those muscle groups.
- Get down on all fours, with your hands shoulder width apart and your knees and feet together
- Place your forearms flat on the ground, so that your weight is taken by your elbows and forearms
- Extend your legs out so that they are not touching the ground, with your weight transferring to your toes
- Be sure to keep your back and legs straight - resist the urge to raise your pelvis
- While bracing your abdominals, hold this position for as long as your can and then release
12. Cat Stretch
Flexing and extending the spine can help improve circulation in the discs in your back, which can be especially useful if you’re sitting all day.
- Start on your hands and knees, aligning your wrists underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips
- Keep the neck long by looking down and out
- Place the bottoms of your toes on the floor
- Tilt your pelvis back so that your tailbone sticks up while gently looking toward the ceiling
- When you have achieved this position, place the tops of your feet on the floor
- Tip your pelvis forward, tucking your tailbone, drawing your navel toward your spine
- Drop your head
- Hold for one long breath and then release
- Repeat the stretch as necessary