Try These 7 Simple Exercises to Relieve Back Pain

Illustration of back exercises
Image Source: FreeImages‍

Back pain can be a difficult and uncomfortable obstacle to overcome. It can limit our daily activities and, in more severe cases, make it difficult to even perform simple tasks. But there is hope!

Regular exercise is one of the most effective ways to alleviate this pain, and it can be done in the comfort of your own home. In this article, we will explore seven simple and effective exercises that can help you strengthen your back and help to relieve the pain.

All of these exercises are designed to target the most important areas of the spine and are suitable for all fitness levels. With dedication and consistency, you can improve your posture, increase strength, and reduce your back pain. So let’s get started!

Benefits of Regular Exercise for Back Pain

Regular exercise can reduce stress, improve sleep quality, boost mental health, and improve overall health. But perhaps the most important benefit is that exercise can be extremely effective in reducing and managing back pain.

Many of the muscles surrounding the spine, like the glutes, core, and back muscles, are used to stabilize and support the spine. Being inactive can reduce the strength of these muscles, making it more difficult to support them, and increasing your risk for discomfort or pain.

Exercises for the back have been shown to increase back support, reduce lower back pain, and improve posture. In addition, it can also increase blood flow, which can help reduce swelling and inflammation and improve healing and recovery time.

1: Bird Dog

Bird Dog Exercise
Birddog for Lower back and ab workout. Photo: iStock

The bird dog exercise is great for strengthening both sides of your core and back. It can also help improve your posture and reduce pain and stiffness. Start by getting in a plank position, with your back parallel to the floor, and your forearms on the floor.

Then, lift one leg, with your knee bent at a 90-degree angle. While you’re lifting, rotate your hips and shoulders towards the lifted leg. Then, slowly return to the starting position, and repeat on the other side. The bird dog can be done as part of a core circuit, or it can be used as part of a warm-up before the other exercises described in this article.

2: Cat Camel

Woman doing a cat or camel stretch with an arched back
Woman doing a cat or camel stretch with an arched back. Photo iStock

The cat camel is a simple yet highly effective exercise that can be done anywhere, regardless of your fitness level. This exercise can help improve your posture and reduce back pain by strengthening your core muscles.

Start in a seated position with your back straight, and your hands resting on your knees. Then, slowly arch your back like a cat, while keeping your abdominals engaged to support your lower back. Hold this position for a few seconds, and then slowly lower back down, like a camel. Repeat this exercise a few times, and you’ll start to feel the benefits almost immediately.

3: Glute Bridge

Young sporty woman in grey sportswear, leggings and bra practicing yoga, beautiful girl doing Glute Bridge exercise, dvi pada pithasana pose, working out at home or in yoga studio
Glute Bridge Exercise. Photo iStock

The glute bridge is a great exercise for strengthening your glutes, hamstrings, and core. It is a highly effective way to improve your posture, balance, and strength, and can help relieve back pain and stiffness.

To perform this exercise, lie down on the floor with your knees bent, and your feet resting flat on the floor. Then, lift your hips toward the ceiling until your knees, hips, and shoulders are in a straight line. Squeeze your glutes, and hold this position for a few seconds. You should feel the muscles in your hips contracting, and your back should be straight. Then, slowly lower yourself back to the starting position. Like all of the exercises in this article, the glute bridge can be done at any time, in any space, as long as you have enough room to lie on the floor.

4: Superman

This man of steel exercise is another technique that can help improve your posture and reduce your back pain. Start by lying face down on the floor, and extending your arms out in front of you. Then, lift your arms, legs, and torso, at the same time, so that your entire body is off the floor. While holding this position, squeeze your core muscles, and pause for a few seconds.

You can also try rotating your torso from side to side or moving your legs up and down like you’re swimming. Lower yourself back down to the floor, and repeat for as many reps as you can stand!

The superman exercise can be done anywhere, so it’s a great way to challenge yourself and progress with your core strengthening routine.

5: Plank

Illustration of man doing a plank exercise
Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

The plank is one of the most effective exercises for strengthening your core and back. It can be done by anyone at any time and in any place. It is one of the best ways to improve your posture, reduce back pain, and strengthen your core.

Start by getting into a push-up position, with your hands resting below your shoulders, and your feet together. Then, lift your hips towards the ceiling so that your body is in a straight line, and your core is engaged. Hold this position for as long as you can, and try to push yourself to hold the position for longer with each attempt. The plank can be done anywhere, anytime, and can be easily modified to suit any fitness level.

6: Dead Bug

Start by lying on your back with your knees bent, and your feet resting on the floor. Then, extend your arms towards your legs and slowly rotate your torso towards one side, while keeping your feet in place. Hold this position for a few seconds, and slowly rotate your torso towards the other direction. Repeat this motion for as many reps as you can. The dead bug exercise can be done anywhere and can be easily modified for any fitness level.

7: Seated Rotation

The seated rotation can help stretch and strengthen your back, and improve your posture and flexibility. Start by sitting on the floor, with your legs out in front of you and your back straight. Then, lean to one side, and rotate your torso towards the other side. Hold this position for a few seconds, and then slowly rotate back to the starting position.

Perform this exercise for as many reps as you can, and don’t forget to switch sides. The seated rotation exercise is a great way to reduce back pain, improve your flexibility, and improve your posture. It’s also a simple exercise that can be done almost anywhere and can easily be modified for any fitness level.


Back pain is a common problem and one that should not be ignored. If you experience back pain, it’s important to be mindful of what might be causing it, and what you can do to alleviate it.

Exercising regularly can be an effective way to strengthen your back and reduce back pain. Exercises like the bird dog, cat camel, glute bridge, superman, plank, dead bug, and seated rotation can all be done at home and are great for beginners.

With dedication and consistency, you can improve your posture, increase core strength, and reduce your back pain. So, what are you waiting for? Start incorporating these exercises into your daily routine, and you’ll feel the benefits almost immediately.

Understanding Degenerative Disc Disease

What is Degenerative Disc Disease?

Man putting his hands on his back
Photo: iStock

Degenerative disc disease is a common condition that affects the spine, causing pain and discomfort. It occurs when the discs between the vertebrae in the spine become worn down and no longer provide adequate cushioning and support.

Symptoms include pain in the lower back, neck, and other areas of the body, as well as stiffness, numbness, and tingling. Treatment options may include physical therapy, medications, and surgery.

In addition, making lifestyle changes and taking preventive measures can help reduce the risk of developing degenerative disc disease. This article will provide an overview of the causes, symptoms, treatments, and prevention of degenerative disc disease.

What Happens to Your Spine When You Have Degenerative Disc Disease?

Human spine anatomy section and spinal concept as medical health care body symbol with the skeletal bone structure and intervertebral discs closeup as a 3D illustration
Illustration of the human spine. Discs are the blue sections. Photo: iStock

As mentioned, degenerative disc disease is a condition that involves the breakdown of the substances found within the vertebrae, which are called the discs.

The discs (blue areas in the picture) act as cushions and are made of a jelly-like substance called the intervertebral disc. There are 24 of them in the spine and over time, they can deform, especially when under a lot of pressure, causing them to become thinner and more brittle. When this happens the gel will leak out and the disc will press against the surrounding nerves, consequently sending pain signals to the brain.

What are the Symptoms?

Woman with hands on her back
Photo: Free Images

The symptoms can vary, depending on the location of the decay. In the lower back, you may feel pain, stiffness, and difficulty standing up, especially after sitting for an extended period.

If the discomfort occurs in the lumbar region of the back, you may also feel pressure or numbness in your legs. If the degeneration occurs in the cervical region of the spine, it may cause pain in the neck and upper back, as well as tingling or numbness in the arms.

Causes of Degenerative Disc Disease

Seniors might not like hearing this but it is a natural part of the aging process. However, a decline of the discs can also occur in younger people who are involved in frequent or heavy lifting, poor posture, or inadequate core strength. 

As people age, their discs can break down and the cartilage that cushions the spine begins to wear. Below is a list of possible reasons why you may encounter disc degeneration:

      • Age: As mentioned, your spine may encounter disc degeneration as you get older.
      • Poor posture: When a person constantly slouches, they are putting more pressure on their spine, which can cause the discs to break down faster. 
      • Excessive lifting: If you frequently lift heavy objects, you increase your risk of putting too much pressure on your spine and increasing the risk of disc breakdown. 
      • Genetic factors: Some people are more likely to develop degenerative disc disease than others.


Most doctors will diagnose this disc breakdown based on your symptoms. They may order imaging tests, such as X-rays or MRIs, to rule out other conditions and to see the extent of the degeneration. MRIs are more effective at detecting degeneration than X-rays.


Treatments will depend on the severity of your symptoms and the location of the degeneration. If you have mild degenerative disc disease, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, such as increasing changing your posture and avoiding heavy lifting.

Try These Pain-Reducing Options First

      • Exercise: There are numerous exercises you can do that are specifically catered to back pain
        Weight Loss: Losing weight reduces the pressure on your disks when you are lying down
      • New Mattress: Many people, as well as experts state that a new mattress may be helpful, especially if your mattress is old. But you have to get the correct one. Getting a mattress where your feet can be raised can also benefit you. Speak to your doctor. Get the information you need about a good mattress, then go to a mattress store and tell them what you need.
      • Pain Management: These medical professionals specialize in managing pain. Most likely, they will suggest physical therapy.

If your symptoms are moderate to severe, your physician may recommend non-surgical treatments, such as physical therapy, chiropractic care, or possibly acupuncture. If your symptoms are severe and you don’t respond positively to non-surgical treatments, your doctor may recommend surgery.


Although the decay of the spine’s discs is a natural part of the aging process, it can lead to severe pain and discomfort in some people, and in some cases, surgery may be necessary to fuse two or more vertebrae in the spine and prevent them from rubbing against each other. 

The surgery is known as a spinal fusion, and it is often recommended for people as a last resort if the other treatments have failed to respond adequately. The surgery may be recommended for people who have severe degenerative disc disease in the lumbar region of the spine, have a herniated disc in the lumbar region, or have a degenerative disc disease that causes instability in the cervical region.

Depending on the location of the degeneration, the surgery will vary. For example, lumbar degenerative disc disease will usually be treated with lumbar spinal fusion. Cervical degenerative disc disease will usually be treated with cervical spinal fusion.

Lifestyle Changes Can Help Reduce the Risk of Degenerative Disc Disease

Elderly couple jogging
Photo by Lucas van Oort on Unsplash

As mentioned above, certain lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of developing decaying discs. It is important to note that no one knows exactly what causes the disease, so it can be difficult to prevent. However, there are some things you can do to help protect your spine, including: 

      • Maintaining a healthy weight: Being overweight can put extra pressure on your spine and increase your risk of developing degenerative disc disease. 
      • Practicing good posture: Maintaining good posture can reduce the stress on your spine by as much as 80%, which can help prevent the discs from breaking down. 
      • Engaging in core-strengthening exercises: Exercises such as Pilates, yoga, and lifting weights can help strengthen the core muscles, which can reduce the risk of back pain. 
      • Avoid heavy lifting: If you don’t have to lift heavy objects, try to find ways to get around them.

Preventive Measures

You can take preventive measures to reduce your risk of degenerative disc disease by engaging in regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and practicing good posture.

If you have a family history of degenerative disc disease, you may want to have your doctor perform an MRI to see if you have any signs of it in your discs. If you do, you can work with your doctor to develop a treatment plan to help prevent the degeneration from getting worse. 


What Causes Back Pain?

Man putting his hands on his back
Photo by Adrian “Rosco” Stef on Unsplash

If you’re reading this, you or someone you care about has likely experienced back pain. According to, as many as 540 million people suffer from one type of back pain or another.

It is one of the most common reasons for doctor visits and missed workdays. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to reduce your risk of experiencing back pain. This blog post will explore the various causes of back pain. If you’d like to know some preventative techniques and management of back pain, please check out our article on What to Do About Back Pain.

What is the Most Common Cause of Back Pain?

Our muscles rely on a network of nerves that travel through them to deliver signals to the brain. When these nerves are overstretched, as can happen with muscle strains, they can get pinched and cause pain.

Disc problems, technically called intervertebral discs, are another common cause of back pain. The discs that cushion the vertebra in the spine are prone to wear and tear as we age, which increases the risk of the disc rupturing.

They is made up of a gel-like substance, and if the pressure within the disc becomes too great, it will rupture and the gel will leak out. The disc can then press against the surrounding nerves, which will then send pain signals to your brain.

These discs located in the lumbar region of the lower spine are particularly prone to herniation, otherwise known as herniated discs. This is not only the most common cause of back pain in this part of the spine, but it is also the leading cause of sciatica (see below).

Disc Problems

Illustration of spine/disc degeneration
Disc Degeneration: Photo: IStock

Intervertebral discs are soft, spongy pads made of a gelatinous substance called a disc nucleus. It lies between each of the vertebrae to provide a cushion and to allow the vertebrae to rotate.

If the disc nucleus becomes too thick or ruptures, the disc may be unable to cushion the vertebrae properly. It may press against the surrounding nerves or cause irritation that travels down the legs as sciatica.

These kinds of disc problems can lead to degenerative disc disease – when the disc becomes thinner and less able to cushion the vertebrae. This can occur during the normal aging process when the disc may begin to break down.

What Causes Disc Denegation?

      • Age: The softcore that we mentioned contains mostly water. As you age, it can lose some water, causing discomfort.
      • Injuries: No doubt any injury can lead to a problem and that includes injuries in your spine.

Poor Posture

Woman slouching over on a chair looking at a laptop
Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

Sitting is the new cancer! Have you heard that before? Poor posture can occur when you spend long hours sitting or slouching or have an overly stiff spine.

When the spine is in a neutral position, it is straight and flexible. However, when you spend hours at a time in a hunched position or with a stiff spine, the muscles and ligaments supporting the spine become shortened.

Over time, these shortened muscles and structures can put excessive pressure on the spine. The spine is composed of bones that are held together by ligaments, muscles, and other soft tissues. These structures may not be able to withstand this pressure. Squeezing the spinal discs may cause the disc fluid to leak out, which may irritate nearby nerves and cause pain.

The Types of Back Pain that Are a Cause for Concern

Certain types of back pain can indicate a serious underlying medical condition. The first step in determining whether or not your back pain is cause for concern is to determine what type of pain you are experiencing.

    • Herniated Discs: A herniated disc occurs when the soft, spongy center of a disc pokes through the disc wall and presses against the surrounding nerve roots. It is one of the most common causes of sciatica and back pain.
    • Sciatica: Sciatica is pain that travels down one or both legs. It is often caused by the irritation of one or more sciatic nerve roots due to a herniated disc.
    • Lumbar Spinal Stenosis (LSS): Lumbar spinal stenosis is a condition in which the spinal canal narrows. This can put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, which can cause back pain. This is one of the most common causes of back pain that is a cause for concern.


Back pain is a common ailment that can affect anyone at any stage in their life. Luckily, there are lots of ways to prevent and manage back pain.

The most important thing you can do is stay active by following a healthy diet plan and engaging in daily exercise. Stay hydrated, and be sure to get enough rest so that your body can heal properly when it does sustain an injury.

If you do experience back pain, see your doctor as soon as possible. It is often an indication of a more serious underlying condition, such as a possible disc problem.

Your doctor can perform diagnostic tests and recommend treatment options that can help you avoid further complications down the road.

What to Do About Back Pain!

Overview – Back Pain

Man putting his hands on his back
Photo: iStock

Back pain is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. It’s also one of the most common reasons why people cannot continue working. The pain is so common that it’s been called “the New Normal”.

This type of discomfort can be caused by several number of factors, including an unhealthy lifestyle and genetics. You may have Degenerative Disc Disease. If so, the options below may be of help, but we recommend you see your medical provider as well. 


Two Men Exercising on Mat
Photo: Graphicstock

Exercise is one of the most effective ways to avoid health issues. Regularly exercising can strengthen your muscles, improve your posture and prevent future discomfort or pain.

When it comes to your spine, it’s best to avoid certain exercises that may irritate it, such as lifting heavy weights. Rather, focus on efforts that can strengthen your spine and core muscles, such as yoga, Pilates, walking, and swimming.

Also, consider gentle stretches in your daily routine. Exercising regularly can also help in managing stress, which can play an integral part in triggering the pain and discomfort you may be feeling.

Additionally, it’s important to consider the type of shoes you wear and what impact they may have on your posture and health.

Identify the Cause of Your Pain

If you can, pin down why you are having this discomfort. Is it from a previous injury or sports-related? Or are you just waking up feeling this in the morning? 

Whatever it can be targeted to, it can help you determine the best course of action for treating your pain. Additionally, some common causes include a weak core, bad posture, poor sleeping habits, incorrect lifting techniques, and spinal injuries.

If you suffer from frequent or recurring pain, you should visit your doctor to determine the cause and get the proper treatment and management plan. If you have on-off episodes of pain, you may be able to treat it on your own at home.

Breathe and Relax

Young man in shorts sitting and meditating on a beach bed
Photo Graphicstock

Relaxation exercises help reduce stress, which often plays a part in triggering pain or discomfort in the spine. Additionally, deep breathing can help improve your posture.

To do deep breathing exercises, find a quiet place to sit, relax your muscles, and focus on your breathing.

You can also do this lying down or even while you’re walking! By taking a few minutes every day to focus on these techniques, you may at the very least, feel a little better. These exercises help with mental stimulation as well.

Get a Professional Massage or Bodywork

Woman getting a massage
Image by Mario from Pixabay

Most people would jump at the suggestion to get a massage and why not? Regularly receiving massage therapy or other types of bodywork is another excellent home remedy for many types of pain-related ailments.

These treatments can help improve your flexibility and range of motion. If you suffer from frequent or recurring pain, you could visit a massage therapist or bodywork practitioner to help manage your pain and discomfort.

Massage treatments may provide short-term pain relief, but they are not long-term treatment plans. It’s also important to consider the type of massage you receive. Deep tissue massage and myofascial release therapy are two types of massage that may be beneficial for managing spine-related pain.

Make a Scheduled Commitment to Stretching

Woman exercising on the beachRegularly making a committed effort to stretch and relax your muscles can help you as well. There are many different stretches you can perform to target different areas of your body and promote flexibility.

For your spine, try lying face-down on the floor and pulling both knees towards your chest, gently extending your arms out in front of you. You can also try sitting in a chair with both feet flat on the ground and slowly leaning back, keeping it straight, and extending your arms straight out so that they are parallel with the floor. Remember that regimens of stretching and relaxation are best performed slowly and gently.

Lay on a Heat-Filled Blanket

Feeling the warmth from a heated blanket can provide you with both a comforting feeling and the added benefit of soothing your vertebrae and muscles.

A heated blanket can help improve blood flow and circulation, which can, in turn, alleviate pain. If you have a heated blanket, simply turning it up to a high temperature will suffice.

Note that using a heated blanket is not recommended while you’re asleep. Doing so may disrupt your sleep, which is not a good idea if you are experiencing pain. Instead, try doing this for about 15 minutes before bedtime.

There are a variety of counter-heating remedies, such as heating pads available at your local retail store.

What is Your Mattress Like?

Studies have shown that a poor or old mattress may be a factor in back pain, especially if you have Degenerative Disc Disease. The reason is that a bad mattress will cause your body to exert pressure on the damaged discs, resulting in the pain you feel in the morning when you wake up.

Reclining mattress
Photo: iStock

A new mattress that allows your body to ‘sink’ in can relieve some of the pressure on the discs. Additionally, consider getting a mattress base that can move up and down. With this option, you can push a button and the base at your feet will rise, providing reduced pressure on your body, especially the lumbar area where the discs reside.

We know buying a new mattress along with a movable base can get expensive, but it is will be well worth it if you see that your pain has subsided. Many mattress companies give you a 30-day option to try it out and return it if it is not working for you.


TENS, which stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation delivers small electrical impulses to your body to help with the pain and discomfort associated with pain.

There are many different TENS machines available, so it’s important to do your research to find the best one for you, as well as confer with your doctor. TENS machines are particularly useful for managing pain that is caused by injuries or surgeries.

If you’re experiencing ongoing pain and discomfort, using a TENS machine can help reduce your pain and make your daily life easier. While these machines are effective, they are not FDA-approved for the treatment of this type of discomfort. That being said, they are often used to manage pain and reduce inflammation. 

Of course, you should consult with a pain specialist before acquiring this apparatus yourself.

Bottom line

These are potential remedies you can try to reduce or eliminate pain in your vertebrae. It includes exercise and sleep, eating a balanced diet, managing your stress levels, and reviewing your mattress. 

If you are in severe pain or the pain continues, you should seek the assistance of a physician. Even if the pain is not severe or constant, it wouldn’t hurt to see medical advice as well.


What is the Human Spine?

In our previous article, we discussed an overview of our bones and what they do (besides the obvious). Now let’s delve a bit deeper to learn what each section of our skeleton does, starting with the spine.

What is the Structure of the Spine?

Human Spine
Photo: Wikimedia (public domain)

The spine, also known as the vertebral column is that long curvey bone that we see on posters when we’re in the doctor’s office. It supports our upper body weight. It runs from the base of the skull to the tailbone, also known as the coccyx.

The spine supports our posture but allows us to move while allowing for movement. It also protects the spinal cord.

This column contains 26 bones in adults which include 24 separate vertebrae (interlocking bones that form the spine), but children (adolescent and younger) have 33 bones in the spine because the sacrum (a triangular set of five bones at the base of the spine just above the coccyx) does not fuse with the coccyx until adulthood.

Child-Adult Spine Increase
Child Spine Increases After Adulthood (Wikipedia Public Domain)

Vertebrae Structure

The vertebrae are divided up into three regions: cervical, thoracic and lumbar and contain several important parts: the body, vertebral foramen, spinous process and transverse process.

There are Five Major Regions of the Spine

    • Cervical: These are the vertebrae in the neck and form the cervical region of the spine. There are seven of them. They are the thinnest vertebrae in the spine, but they provide great flexibility to the neck area.
    • Thoracic: There are 12 vertebrae connected here and are in the chest area, known as the thoracic region. They are larger and stronger than the cervical vertebrae but are not as less flexible as the ones in the neck region.
    • Lumbar: You might have heard on commercials about the lumbar. These are five vertebrae in the lower back because there are many people who have issues in this area due to the fact that all of the upper body’s weight puts pressure on this area. These vendors offer cushions that help strengthen the lumbar area. Lumbar vertebrae are stronger than the thoracic vertebrae, but not strong enough to cause some people periodic pain.
    • Sacral: The sacrum is a single bone in the adult skeleton that is formed by the fusion of the five smaller vertebrae when adulthood starts.
    • Coccygeal: As the name suggests, this is where the coccyx resides. It is a single bone in the adult skeleton and is formed by the fusion of four vertebrae at the beginning of adulthood. Also known as the tailbone, it holds our body weight when we sit.

The Spine Numbering System

The Human Spine
Photo: Wikipedia

The spine is numbered by its the first letter of their vertebrae regions; accordingly, there are five categories of designation.

At the top of the vertical column are the seven cervical spinal nerves labeled C1 through C8. Then there are the 12 thoracic nerves, which are labeled T1 through T12.

Similarly, there are the 5 lumbar spinal nerves titled L1 through L5 and under the lumbar are the 5 sacral spinal nerves S1 through S5 and then the coccygeal of which there is 1.

What Are Some Diseases Associated with the Spine?

Otherwise known as back pain, there are many illnesses associated with the spine. There is Kyphosis, an abnormally excessive curvature of the spine and happens when the vertebrae in the upper back area become more wedge-shaped.

There also herniated disks. Known as the vertebral discs they have the function of shock absorption. With this disc becomes ruptured, it becomes smaller and is no longer able to provide as the amount of shock absorption is was initially intended for. This can result in back pain, sciatica and other disorders. Herniated discs can be caused by injury or from the normal wear and tear of aging. Treatment can be by medication and/or physical therapy and if these methods do not work, then surgery might be needed.

For a comprehensive list of spine disorders, please click here.