The Best Lower Back Exercise For Common Ailments

What is the best lower back exercise?

Unfortunately, some of the back exercises you have been doing may be harming you instead of helping.

If you have been doing what you or someone else suggested to be the best back exercises but have not been specifically diagnosed you could be putting yourself at risk for more pain and chronic conditions.

Listed below are some common back ailments, what causes them, and some recommended lower back exercises you can do for each one.

Back Spasms:

This can be referred to as a cramp or involuntary seizure of the muscles in your back. The spasm, in effect, is preventing you from causing further damage by immobilizing the spine.

Some cramps or spasms in muscles can be caused from dehydration.

Our muscles are mostly water and if they are dehydrated they can not function properly. Make sure you drink plenty of water before doing any lower back exercises.

lower back stretch for back spasm imag

The best exercise for back spasms includes gentle, non-painful stretches such as; while lying on your back drawing the knees slowly to the chest while activating the abdominals.

Do 8-10 repetitions of this exercise and then ice your back to quiet the spasms.

This exercise for lower back pain should be done several times a day.

Degenerative Disc Disease:

The natural aging process can compromise the discs in the spine from repetetive stress, trauma, imbalances, etc.

The objective here is to relax and restore circulation to the muscles and soft tissues that surround the degenerated disc.

The best lower back exercise for degenerative disc disease also includes gentle non-painful stretching such as in the above example.

Herniated Disc:

Referred to as a ruptured or slipped disc. Like stepping on a jelly donut that explodes outside.

Again the goal will be to relax and restore circulation to the muscles and tissues that surround the spine.

Drink water and follow the same exercise pulling your knees to your chest while activating the abdominals several times each day.

Follow with ice if you have inflammation and pain.

Spinal Stenosis:

Narrowing of the spinal canal. Normally people experience pain when extending or twisting in the spine.

cat flexion stretch for stenosis image

The best way to alleviate pain from stenosis involves flexion exercises or bending forward rounding the back using Pilates exercises.

This flexion helps to open the vertebra in the spine creating space and relieving the pressure of the bone stacked on bone.

The cat stretching exercise on your hands and knees while rounding the spine and rolling the hips under can be effective to help open up the vertebrae and release the pressure on the spinal canal.

Abdominal curl ups can help strengthen the abdominals while flexing and stretching the spine.


Piriformis syndrome, can be caused by many things but mostly from the piriformis muscle pinching the sciatic nerve which causes a radiating pain down the outside of the leg affected.

sciatica stretch pose image

The best exercise to alleviate this discomfort is to assume this sciatic stretch relaxation pose for the muscles that tightening up on the nerve.

Lying relaxed on your mat fold the affected leg up so that the sole of your foot is resting on the inside of your knee or thigh. Keep your pelvis parallel to the sky and just breathe relaxing the muscles as you exhale.

If you have sciatic pain and are looking for ways to stretch the sciatic pain away then check out this article.


A sprain happens when a ligament is injured, ligaments connect bone to bone to hold the skeleton in place so the joints can move.

When a sprain happens it compromises the structural integrity and function of the joint it is connected to.

You'll need to be very diligent and patient in restoring circulation to the ligaments and muscles surrounding the injured area.

spine stretch in chair imag

Very gently and slowly begin to do this spine stretch first, by sitting up tall in a chair with the feet shoulder width apart.

Then, slowly roll the spine down from the top of your head drawing the abdominals in as you grab the outside of your ankles. Hold this position a few seconds and then roll the spine back up vertebrae by vertebrae until you are sitting up tall.

See a description of this spine stretch here.


This can be caused by a tearing or overstretching of the muscles, tendons, or ligaments.

This back extension stretch is one of the best lower back exercise examples because it works to lengthen both sides of the spine.

best lower back exercise image

It is very common to strain the lower back muscles, this erector spinae group is among the largest in the body. The good news is that most strains heal 100 percent.

Make sure you stay hydrated and do a stretching exercise for the lower back muscles such as the cobra stretch shown in the picture to the left.

As you can see the general rule of thumb for the best lower back exercise incorporates gentle stretching and abdominal strengthening exercises.

Pilates is a perfect compliment for most lower back ailments and the new Pilates Ebook: Relief for Back and Joint Pain has some very detailed descriptions and over 40 pictures to get started today with the best lower back exercise!

Leave best lower back exercise and find more information and free exercises for your back here.

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