7 Effective & Easy Exercises for Lower Back Pain for Seniors

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Are you looking for the best exercises for lower back pain for seniors?

Since I’ve had back issues for years, I’ve tried numerous simple stretch exercises to improve my range of motion and avoid pain flare-ups.

And I’m here to share these lower back stretches for seniors to help strengthen your body, increase your mobility, and improve your quality of life.

Just keep reading.

Key Takeaways

  • An exercise program is beneficial for keeping your back, spine, and muscles healthy and preventing exertion injuries.
  • Lower back stretches can increase your mobility, improve your quality of life, and help you maintain core strength, but some can worsen your pain.
  • You should consult your doctor about what type of physical therapy is best for you.

And now, let’s see seven exercises for lower back pain that you can incorporate into your regular exercise routine.

7 Best Exercises for Lower Back Pain for Seniors

However, not all lower back exercises are good. As specialists from WebMD advise,

“Depending on the cause and intensity of your pain, some exercises may not be recommended and can be harmful.” (2)

So, before you try any of the following seven exercises for lower back pain for seniors, you should consult your doctor if they’re suitable for your treatment.

Additionally, consider using a lumbar brace for added support during your recovery. It can be a helpful aid to ensure you’re maintaining proper posture and support during exercises.

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#1 Knee-to-chest Stretch

The knee-to-chest stretch is among my favorite lower back exercises because it doesn’t require much strength. It reduces stiffness, increases range of motion, and improves circulation.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Lie on the ground with your feet flat and your knees bent.
  • Use both hands to bring one of your knees to your chest.
  • Hold the position for about 30 seconds.
  • Return to starting position and repeat with the other knee.

Here’s a video demonstration:

#2 Double Knee-to-chest Stretch

Here’s another effective way to perform the knee-to-chest exercise:

  • Lie on your back with your feet flat and knees bent.
  • Tighten your abdominal muscles as if you’re expecting a punch.
  • Bring both knees toward the chest and keep your back flat against the floor.
  • Hold the position for five seconds and repeat ten times.

Here’s a video demonstration:

Don’t try these types of lower back exercises for seniors with osteoporosis. It’s also not the best choice for elderly patients with a hip injury.

#3 Trunk Rotation

Trunk rotation is an excellent way to improve your core strength, relieve lower back pain, and help with body balance. But it’s not the best for disk injuries:

  • Assume the starting position – lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat. Your arms should be out of the side and your shoulders flat.
  • Put your ankles and knees together, and let your knees fall on one side slowly.
  • Don’t move your upper trunk, and hold the position for about five seconds.
  • Bring your legs to the starting position and do it on the opposite side.

Here’s a demonstration:

#4 Piriformis Stretch

A piriformis stretch relieves lower back pain and reduces tension/discomfort in the leg muscles:

  • Lie on the floor with knees bent and feet flat.
  • Put your right ankle on top of the left knee.
  • Hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds. You should feel a stretch in your buttons.
  • Repeat with the left ankle placed on the right knee.

Here’s a demonstration:

This activity is beneficial for impingement syndrome, where the femoral head (ball of the hip) pinches against the cup of the hip.

#5 Seated Lower Back Rotation

This type of rotation can reduce muscle tightness, increase spine mobility, and reduce lower back discomfort:

  • Get an armless chair or a stool. Sit on it.
  • Cross your legs (right over left).
  • Brace your left elbow on the right knee. Then twist to the side.
  • Hold the position for about 10 seconds and return to the starting position.
  • Twist and stretch to the other side.

Stay active and strengthen your core without standing up; explore our guide on ‘seated back exercises for seniors‘ for tailored workouts.

#6 The Thomas Flexor Hip Stretch

This type of stretch is the perfect exercise for seniors with lower back pain caused by tight hip flexor muscles:

  • Lie on a bed or a high couch. The leg you’re stretching should hang over the edge of the bed.
  • Bring the other leg up to the chest and hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat with the other leg.

Watch this video for a demonstration:

#7 Hamstring Stretch

Do you know that tight hamstrings can put pressure on your lower back? So, this stretch can relieve the discomfort and improve your spine health:

  • Get on the floor and lie on your back with your legs extended.
  • Place an exercise strap or a towel on the ball of your foot.
  • Pull the leg towards the ceiling and hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Repeat with the other leg.

Benefits of Lower Back Stretching

Before I get to my favorite lower back exercises for seniors, let’s discuss why stretches are good for your back.

For starters, back pain is much more common than you imagine. According to MedlinePlus, eight out of 10 people will eventually have back problems. (1)

Stretching eases muscle/ joint stiffness, increases body flexibility, and keeps the muscles strong. As such, you’re less likely to suffer from back strain, other exertion injuries, or muscle/joint damage.

Moreover, gentle stretches several times per week are an excellent way to keep an elderly person active and maintain one’s core muscles.

FAQs

1. How can seniors strengthen their lower back?

Seniors can perform exercises to strengthen their lower back and relieve discomfort, such as knee-to-chest, hamstrings, and other core exercises.

2. Is walking good for lower back pain?

According to studies, going for a brisk walk can reduce lower back pain. But it would be best if you did it regularly for it to have an effect.

3. What exercises should you avoid with lower back pain?

Avoid jogging, high-impact aerobic exercises, leg lifts, or physical activities that make your pain worse.

Conclusion

Muscle strain, poor posture, and injuries are common causes of lower back pain. But a slipped disk, spinal stenosis, and other medical conditions cause back discomfort.

You should consult your healthcare team before trying any of these stretches to avoid flare-ups. And stop the activity if you feel sharp pain or discomfort.

What do you think about these seven best exercises for seniors’ lower back pain? Which one is your favorite? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section.

gym coach assisting the senior while exercising for lower back pain

Resources:

1. Back Pain [Internet]. Medlineplus.gov. National Library of Medicine; 2019. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/backpain.html

2. https://www.facebook.com/WebMD. Slideshow: Good and Bad Exercises for Low Back Pain [Internet]. WebMD. 2019. Available from: https://www.webmd.com/back-pain/ss/slideshow-exercises

About GrigorinaLoa

Grigorina discovered that writing is her vocation early in her school years. Since then, she's taken part in several literary contests. For the past three years, she's also been an ELS teacher, pouring her heart into showing children and adults how important English is for their future. She has a Bachelor's degree in Applied Linguistics, an ESL Teacher's degree, and a Master's degree in Accounting. Follow her on FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM. Read her LATEST POSTS. Learn more about her HERE.

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