Try These Exercises If You Have Lower Back Pain

If you feel pain in your lower back, the last thing you might want to do is exercise. But lower back pain rarely is the result of a serious injury. In fact, up to 80 percent of all people feel some sort of lower back pain at some point, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (via NCBI).

Regular exercise, particularly core-strengthening moves from yoga, tai chi, and Pilates, can cut the frequency of lower back pain in half. When we don't move enough, our core muscles become weaker, which worsens the pain (via NCBI).

Of course, you shouldn't exercise if your lower back pain is related to a more serious issue such as an infection or a broken bone. Consult your doctor right away if you have lower back pain that radiates into your foot or knee, along with numbness, tingling, or paralysis, or if you experience low back pain after an accident. Also, visit your doctor if your lower back pain worsens when you lie on your back; if you have pain in addition to physical weakness or unexplained weight loss; if you feel fever or chills as well as the back pain; or if your pain accompanies problems with urination or bowel movements (via NCBI).

Yoga poses help by improving flexibility

Ready to move? The Mayo Clinic has a few exercises to stretch your lower back and supporting muscles that you can do without hitting the floor. For instance, sit on an armless chair or stool, then cross your left leg over your right. Brace your right elbow against the outside of your left knee, then twist to the left to stretch. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side. Repeat three to five times on each side twice daily (via Mayo Clinic).

The cat stretch, or the cat-cow stretch, also improves flexibility. While on your hands and knees, keep your knees hip-width apart. Draw your belly button toward your spine and let your head drop forward, arching your back. Hold for five to 10 seconds. Then raise your head, let your pelvis drop, and scoop your back so your belly arches toward the floor. Hold for five to 10 seconds, then repeat about 15 times (via Healthline).

Stretch on the sly at the office by skipping the floor and just resting your feet flat on the ground and your hands on your knees, Healthline says. Arch your back as described above.

You can stretch your hamstrings to relieve lower back pain by lying on the floor, bending one knee, and threading a towel beneath the ball of the foot on your extended leg. Raise the extended leg and tug on the towel, keeping your knee straight. Hold for about 15 to 30 seconds (via OnHealth).