What exercises can help to alleviate my lower back pain?

Recently, researchers from Tel Aviv University in Israel discovered that a home-based walking program might improve back pain when compared to a more rigorous weight training exercise regimen.
The study looked at 52 adults, ages 18-65, all experiencing ongoing, chronic back pain. The group was split in two. Half were assigned to a moderate intensity treadmill walking program. The second group was assigned a specific weight training exercise geared to improve lower back strength. The researchers assessed pain reduction with questionnaires and certain physical testing assessments that looked at improvements in walking ability, pain perception and fear of movement (often associated with both acute and long-term back pain). 
The results showed that a six-week walking program was as effective as the strength-training program for lower back pain. If you suffer with chronic back pain, talk to your doctor about the benefits of a walking and/or exercise program.
Dr. Vonda Wright, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
The following lower back stretches will help alleviate lower back pain:
  1. Begin on your knees.
  2. Place your hands in front of you on an exercise ball or the seat of a chair.
  3. While keeping your back flat, reach forward with your arms and lower your buttocks to your feet. You will feel a stretch along the sides of your back.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds, while breathing, then relax. Repeat four times.
  5. Next, place your hands shoulder width apart on the ground. It will look like you are crawling.
  6. Gently arch your back toward the ceiling and tuck your buttocks in.
  7. Hold and repeat four times.
  8. After the last arch, lower your buttocks to your heels with your arms stretched out front and let your back relax.
Fitness After 40: How to Stay Strong at Any Age

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Fitness After 40: How to Stay Strong at Any Age

It's one of the undeniable facts of life. After we reach a certain age, our bodies change. No matter how fit we may have been at 20, we're very different people after 40. But growing older doesn't...
Brian Yee
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Usually low grade/oscillatory exercises can help alleviate low back pain. This includes stretches such as knees to chest, knees side to side/trunk rotation, prone press ups (like a Cobra position in yoga), pelvic tilts/clocks. Please consult with a qualified health practitioner to assess your causes of low back pain to then develop a proper exercise program.
Beth Oliver

Think in terms of doing three things:

                1) Mobilize the hips

                2) Strengthen the core

                3) Strengthen the postural muscles of the back

Hamstring, piriformis, and back stretch exercises can help relieve minor low back pain. This video from the American Chiropractic Association shows these various stretching exercises: 

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Recommended exercises to help lower back pain include gentle stretching exercises, swimming, walking, and movement therapy. Your doctor or a physical therapist can help you design an effective program. Watch the video for more on exercise and back pain.

Lower back pain is usually caused by weak abdominals and glutes, and overactivity or tightness in the muscles that flex the hip. Therefore, some great exercises that can help to reduce lower back pain are the kneeling hip flexor stretch, quadruped arm opposite leg raise, and ball bridge. When the hip flexor muscles become tight, they can pull forward on the lower back, causing pain and decreased function of the abs and glute muscles. Therefore, it is very important to stretch these muscles first, before performing the other two exercises. Here is how to do it: kneel on one leg and position the opposite leg in front with the knee bent to a 90-degree angle, foot pointed straight ahead and flat on the floor. Next, squeeze the butt muscles and shift your body forward while raising the arm on the same side as the rear leg overhead until a stretch is felt on the front of the pelvis. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat for the opposite side. The quadruped arm opposite leg raise is an abdominal exercise that helps with stability of the back. Perform it after the kneeling hip flexor stretch by following the technique described below. Position yourself on your hands and knees. Slowly draw-in your belly-button up towards the spine and tuck in the chin. Raise one arm with the thumb up while extending the opposite leg behind the body. Keep your arm and leg straight while lifting both up until they are in-line with your back. Try to keep the back flat throughout the movement and hold the top position for a few seconds before slowly returning to the starting position. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg, alternating sides for the remainder of the set.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.