Exercises to Strengthen Back Muscles and Relieve Pain(And Avoid These!)

The health of your back is crucial to your wellbeing and everything routine. Almost 80% of the populace experience the ill effects of lower back torment eventually. Not only can it make you break your fitness regime, but it also affects how the rest of your body functions and moves. Any sort of pain in your back is no fun, and it's best to do what you can to avoid it at all costs.

Types of Back Pain

Pain in your back can often be mechanical pain that might be due to an incorrectly performed activity, or a general lack of action wherein your back cannot hold up to daily demands.

This can result in:

  • Strains and sprains – Overstretched back muscle or tearing of a tendon due to twisting or lifting something improperly, picking up a heavy object, etc.
  • Herniated or ruptured discs – Causes include accidents, fall or sports injury, etc. 
  • Sciatica – A herniated or ruptured disc can subsequently trigger a sharp lower back pain like a pinch that radiates down through your butt and legs due to compression on the sciatic nerve. 
  • Pregnancy – While the abdominal weight pulls your stomach towards your legs, your back muscles and ligaments over-stretch and compress. Here is a list of safe pregnancy exercises that you can do at home.

    Exercises to Strengthen Back Muscles and Alleviate Pain

    To avoid unnecessary pain and injuries in your back, it is important that you strengthen your back. According to researchers at the NCBI, exercices can alleviate back impairments. You can make sure you are mindful of your posture and activities and that you also do regular exercises that can help make your back muscles strong as shown in the research.

    Here are the best exercises and quick instructions for them that you can do to strengthen your back muscles and alleviate pain:

    1. Knee to Chest Stretch - Lie on back and pull one leg to the chest while keeping the other straight and back lengthened. Hold for 30 seconds. Switch sides. 

    2. Pelvic Tilt - Bend knees while lying on the back. Engage abdominal muscles straightening the back. Hold for 10-12 seconds. Repeat. 

    3. Cat-cow Pose - In a tabletop position, inhale to stretch the belly while extending the back. Exhale to arch the back. Repeat for 1-2 minutes. 

    4. Child's Pose - In a kneeling position, place your hips on your heels. Fold forward as the hands extend front and the stomach rests on the thighs. 

    5. Bird Dog - In tabletop, keep the spine and neck aligned. Inhale and lift the opposite hand and leg in line with the spine. Repeat on the other side. 

    6. Forward Spine Stretch - Sit with your the back straight and straight legs, arms up to shoulder height. Curl the chin towards your chest as you lean forward.

    7. Cobra Stretch - Lie on the stomach and lift upper body using hands. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat.

    8. Bridge - Place feet hip-distance apart while lying on the back. Lift the hips as high as possible to bring shoulders, hips, and knees in one line. Hold, return, repeat. 

    9. Piriformis Stretch - Lie on the back. Cross the right ankle over the left knee while gripping the left thigh and pulling it towards the chest. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat. 

    10. Partial Crunches - Lie on the back and bend the knees. Lift the shoulders off the floor, hold for a second, and slowly return. Repeat 8-10 times.

    11. Wall Sits - Stand 10-12 inches away from the wall. Bend the knees against the wall until your hips become parallel to the floor, and the back pushes into it. Hold for 10-20 seconds. 

    12. Back Extension - Lie on the stomach, keeping the arms stretched on the sides. Use the back muscles to lift the head and shoulders off the floor. Come back down and repeat. 

    13. Leg Stretch - On the back, keep the knees bent while looping a towel under one foot. Straighten the knee towards the ceiling while pulling the towel, hold for 20-30 seconds. Switch sides. 

    14. Hip Stretch - In a lunge position, extending the back foot with the knee on the ground. Keep the spine straight while pushing your hips forward. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat on the other side. 

    Exercises to Avoid

    Just like exercise can help with strengthening your back and also relieve back pain, if you are prone to back pain or injury, then there are specific exercises that you should probably avoid. Check out these exercises or movements that you should avoid and why:

    1. Toe Touches - These place stress on the discs and ligaments, overstretch lower back muscles and hamstrings.
    2. Sit-ups - Lack of core strength puts a lot of pressure on spinal discs. 
    3. Leg lifts/Raises - Weaker core overarches the back muscles, which can cause back injury. 
    4. Running/Jumping - Causes jarring of hips and lower back muscles. 
    5. Heavy Lifting (Deadlifts/Squats) - Muscles get shut off, resulting in overarching of the back.
    6. Superman Back Extension - Lower back joints get compromised due to overworking. 

      Figure out the cause of your back pain before diving into any revival physical training. Work on your core, leg and back muscles for overall stability. However, if your back pain remains consistent, it could be due to a severe underlying condition or injury. Do consult a doctor/chiropractor immediately.