Help Ease the Pain with these 5 Styles of Back Exercises

One of the best things you can do to prevent back pain is to exercise regularly and keep your back muscles strong according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS).

Back injuries received in an accident can lead to long term bouts with chronic pain. While doctors may prescribe anti-inflammatory and pain medications to help a person cope with their discomfort, there are several back exercises that can be implemented to ease or alleviate pain and improve range of motion and quality of life.

Depending on your level of back pain and what your physician recommends the following 5 styles of exercise can change your life over time if done regularly:

  • 1. Stretching

    Stretching is ideal for improving circulation and regaining flexibility and range of motion. After an injury, people are often told to limit their level of activity to prevent the injury from becoming worse or to alleviate pain. The fact is lack of movement leads to stiffness and an increase in pain if the person tries to move in ways that stress the injury. Stretching allows a person to flex muscles and increase blood flow to injured areas without causing undue stress and strain.

  • 2. Yoga

    Yoga offers back exercises that are also known to increase blood flow, improve flexibility and strengthen the muscles and connective tissues that support the back and spinal column. It combines stretching and breathing exercises that elicit a healing response that affects not only the back but other areas of the body as well. It does not require expensive pieces of equipment and can be performed in the comfort of ones' home.

  • 3. Tai Chi

    Tai Chi is similar to yoga in that it combines breathing and stretching to elicit a healing response. While yoga tends to be more stationary, tai chi introduces gradual, fluid movements that help to prevent stiffness and increase a person's overall range of motion and flexibility. Both tai chi and yoga allow a person to center themselves and create a state of relaxation that allows stress in the lower back to be released, alleviating the pain and discomfort associated with both injuries and chronic conditions.

  • 4. Pilates

    Pilates also provides a variety of back exercises that are designed to strengthen and tone muscles and connective tissue. Pilates works in much the same way as yoga and tai chi, but incorporates more intense movements and can be somewhat more stressful on the back and joints. It does make an ideal choice, however for individuals who are becoming stronger and able to take on more vigorous forms of exercise.

  • 5. Aqua Aerobics

    Aqua aerobics is recommended for individuals who are unable to perform other types of activities. Movement in the water uses the body's own weight to create resistance. This means that there is no additional force for the body to move while exercising. Individuals who suffer from progressive conditions such as various forms of arthritis and degenerative bone disease will benefit greatly from activities and exercises performed in the water. Not only does the water help to support the body, it does not apply undue force or pressure.

Whether a person's back pain is caused by an illness or an injury makes no difference. Back pain can be debilitating and can dramatically alter a person's quality of life. Working with a physician who specializes in injuries and illnesses of the back will help a patient to better deal with their symptoms. Treatment plans are created by evaluating the extent of the injury or condition and factoring the person's general health.


Individuals who experience both acute and chronic forms of back pain should always consult a physician before attempting any type of exercise program. Taking matters into their own hands may actually make the problem worse and create a situation where it takes the body longer to heal. The doctor must be made aware of all of a person's symptoms before they can provide an accurate diagnosis. Once a diagnosis has been received, the doctor will provide possible treatment options and various types of back exercises that will reduce the patients' level of pain and discomfort.