New Research Confirms The Best Exercises For Low Back Pain

New Research Confirms The Best Exercises For Low Back Pain

Even if you are not 85 years old, your 28-year-old back may say otherwise. The reality is that the vast majority of people are sedentary, regardless of age, which contributes to back problems. An even bigger reality is that back pain is a leading cause of work limitations, with chronic back problems affecting nearly 8% of American adults. Health care costs due to back pain exceed $12 billion per year!

When people think of back pain, the first image that comes to mind is an older adult hunched over. Perhaps they move slowly and have to sit down very carefully to avoid worsening the pain. Although the risk of lower back pain increases with age, it doesn’t sentence a person to a life without exercise. In fact, there are many types of physical activity that are beneficial for people with lower back pain, even if modifications are necessary. 

The 4 Best Exercises For Low Back Pain

A recent study found that certain workouts can alleviate lower back pain. The review study, which was published in Front Public Health, found tai chi, yoga, Pilates, and sling exercises to be the most beneficial at reducing low back pain. The review looked at 75 randomized controlled trials with more than 5,250 participants. That provided study review authors with a significant amount of data to consider. 

Study authors noted yoga and tai chi to be the most effective for pain management. You and core stabilization exercises yielded better improvement in physical functions compared to standard rehabilitation methods. The theme across the four different modes of exercise is mobility and flexibility. There is no need to focus on intense muscle gains and lifting heavy weights. On the contrary, those types of workouts can increase the pain or worsen the injury, especially if form is incorrect. Tai chi, believe it or not, can improve muscle strength, balance, and endurance without putting too much pressure on the lower back. 

Sling exercises, or bungee workouts, were of particular interest to study authors. The reason for that is because they are underrated for incorporating more movement into an older person’s lifestyle. They are usually more fun than cardio- or weight-based workouts, too! Sling exercises also activate the core muscle groups, which help improve balance and the ability to control the neuromuscular system. That ultimately enhances the stability of the lumbar spine (low back), while simultaneously improving its function. 


This study was very large, considering that it is quite niche. That said, researchers believe more large-scale studies on this matter will help people make better, more educated decisions about exercising with lower back pain. Knowing which exercises are the best if you have back pain is quite useful, especially if you don’t want to worsen the pain or injury. 

The exercises you choose to do will depend on the severity of the pain and overall mobility of the spine. How did your pain start and are there other concerns you have about exercising with that pain? Depending on the severity of the pain, you may require physical rehabilitation in conjunction with the exercises mentioned in this article. It’s not always about choosing one or the other, but rather incorporating different modalities to recovery as quickly as possible. 

Back pain, much like many things in life, is unique. The best exercise plan will depend on various factors, so it may be wise to consult your physician or physical therapist before adopting a specific routine. Lastly, your muscles and joints change with age, but there are ways to support strength in the long term. These exercises are a great stepping stone to help you get to pain-free movement.



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