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5 Best Exercises To Relieve Your Lower Back Pain

These quick yet productive moves can help alleviate the pain.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Dealing with chronic pain can be an incredibly frustrating, emotional, and debilitating experience. Your lower back, also known as the "lumbar region," begins under your ribcage, WebMD explains. Mostly everyone will endure some sort of back pain during their lifetime, and you may be surprised to hear that it's one of the most common causes of Americans calling out from work. Sometimes, lower back pain will subside without any treatment, but it's always important to check in with a licensed healthcare professional to pinpoint what's going on behind the scenes that may call for medical attention. Some techniques such as massage therapy, stretching, and exercise can help soothe the pain. That's what we're here to talk about today with five of the best exercises to relieve lower back pain, brought to you by an expert.

Tyler Read, the founder of and a personal trainer who's been involved in the health and fitness world for the past 15 years, explains that if you're dealing with lower back pain, you should stay away from high-impact exercises or movements that call for rapid twists and bends—especially while weight lifting. Certain exercises can make your lower back pain even worse, such as standing toe touches, sit-ups, and leg lifts.

In addition to the below exercises to relieve lower back pain, Read recommends foam rolling, specifically working on your lower back and glutes—gently, of course! "Regular walking to break up periods of sitting, or resting to break up long periods of standing are also a good way to keep your lower back from tightening up and relieving pain," he adds.

Keep reading to learn more about Read's top recommendations, and next, be sure to check out These Exercise Habits Are Destroying Your Knees After 50.

1. Pelvic Tilts

To begin the pelvic tilt, lie flat on your back, bend both knees, and place your feet on the ground. Keep your arms at the sides of your body. Gently form an arch in your lower back, and press your stomach outward. Hold this position for five seconds before relaxing. Then, flatten out your back, and pull your belly button to the ground. Hold this position for five seconds before relaxing. This counts as one full rep.

2. Knee-to-Chest Stretches

For the knee-to-chest stretch, you will once again lie flat on your back, bend both knees, and place your feet flat on the ground. Use both hands to bring one knee in toward your chest. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds before returning to the position you started in and performing the motion on the other side.

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3. Bird Dog

illustration of how to do the bird dog exercise

Begin the bird dog on all fours—your knees and hands—with your hands placed right under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Straighten out one of your legs behind you as you lengthen the opposite arm ahead of you. Hold this position for a moment, then come back to all fours. Repeat the motion with your other leg and arm.

4. Bridges

illustration of how to do glute bridge core-strengthening exercises

For bridges, lie flat on your back, bend both knees, and have your feet flat on the ground. Keep both arms by your sides with your palms facing down. Press your hips up toward the ceiling until your hips, shoulders, and knees are in a straight line. Remain in this position for a moment before gradually lowering your body to the floor.

Here's What Your Back Pain Is Telling You, Expert Says

5. Child's Pose

mature woman child's pose exercise

The last of the exercises to relieve lower back pain on this list is child's pose. You'll begin on your hands and knees. Then, "sit back" by bringing your glutes back to your heels, and reach both arms ahead of you on the floor. Feel free to rest your forehead on the mat or a pillow. "This is a gentle restorative pose that stretches the lower back," Read notes.

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa
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