Get off the couch if you want a better back

You may not feel like doing exercises when you have back pain, but working out is one of the best things you can do.

Whether caused by heavy lifting, a pulled muscle, disc problems, or a sports injury, back pain can be debilitating. The only thing you may feel like doing is curling up on the couch and taking it easy. Resting your back will relieve the pain, right? Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. In fact, 9 out of 10 times what you really need are gentle exercises and stretches to bring relief.

You may wonder what good exercise does for back pain. It works to strengthen the muscles that support your spine, and strong muscles help relieve pressure on the discs and joints. Exercise also increases circulation to the trouble spot, reduces stiffness, improves mobility, and releases pain-relieving endorphins.

So if you’re struggling with back pain, you should consider adding the following exercises to your daily routine. Just be sure to talk with your doctor before doing exercise if you’re experiencing severe back pain or it comes on suddenly.

Wall Sits

Stand about a foot in front of a wall with your back flat against the wall, and then slide your back down the wall until your knees are bent. Bend your knees no more than 90-degrees. Hold this position for 10 seconds, then slide back up the wall. Repeat and gradually increase the amount of time you hold the position.

Seated Hamstring Stretch

Sit on the floor, extend one leg, and bend your other knee. Bend at the hips and reach your hands toward the foot of your extended leg. You’ll feel a stretch in your hamstring and glutes. Hold the position, then relax and switch legs. Repeat.

Cat Stretch

The common yoga pose known as the cat stretch is good for stretching the spine. Get on your hands and knees. Your hands should be under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. From a neutral position, round your back toward the sky while tucking in your tailbone and head. Draw in your belly and continue breathing as you hold this position. Relax and repeat.

Knee to Chest

Lie on your back and bend your knees with your feet placed flat on the floor. Raise one knee up toward your chest while keeping your other leg in place and your back pressed against the floor. Hold for 15 seconds, lower your foot, and bring your other knee up toward your chest. Repeat several times with each leg.

Bird Dog

Get back on your hands and knees. Tighten your core and lift and straighten your left leg behind you until it is parallel to the floor. At the same time, lift and straighten your right arm above you until it is also parallel to the floor. Return to the starting position and then lift your right leg and your left arm. This exercise takes balance but works to strengthen your core and back muscles.


Lie on your back, bend your knees, and place your heels on the floor. Now press your heels on the floor, tighten your glutes, and raise your hips up, keeping your back straight and your shoulders on the floor. Hold this position for about 10 seconds and then lower your hips back to the floor. Rest and repeat.

Child’s Pose

Another yoga pose helpful for relieving back pain is the child’s pose. Get on your hands and knees. Reach your hands in front of you on the floor. Now lower your hips back until your bottom rests on your heels and your head and chest lower to the floor. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat.