Helpful Information

Top 5 Exercises to Relieve Back Pain

Graphic showing three yoga exercise positions for back pain

Whether subtle, mild or debilitating, lower back pain is something that affects millions of people every single day. And, according to the American Chiropractic Association, lower back pain costs Americans roughly $50 billion each year. So, not only is lower back pain a nuisance but it’s also costly.

Lower back pain can be caused by a number of things, but there are four major causes:

  • Strain within the bones of the spine
  • Pain caused by intervertebral disc or cushion
  • Nerve irritation
  • Strain or tears in the muscles, tendons or ligaments found on your back

If you’re experiencing lower back pain, try one or more of the following exercises to help relieve it until you can come in for a consultation appointment with Dr. Petersen. 

5 Exercises to Help with Back Pain

Graphic showing child's pose yoga position

Child’s Pose

If you’ve ever been to a yoga class, you know this pose very well. Begin by placing your knees on an exercise mat or other soft surface, either keeping your knees together or wide apart. Then, fold over your knees until your chest reaches your thighs or your forehead touches the floor. As you’re folding, begin to walk your hands to the top of your mat, keeping them a shoulder-width distance apart. Take 10 long breaths then bring yourself out of the pose and repeat 2-3 times.

Graphic showing child's pose yoga position

Bridge Pose

First, you’ll need to grab a large blanket. Fold the blanket in half, then begin to roll it lengthwise until you have a stable cushion. You can also use a thick pillow. From there, lay on your back and plant your feet into the floor or an exercise mat. Press into your feet and lift your lower back off the mat. Then, place the cushion or pillow underneath your lower back. Take 5-10 breaths in this position and repeat 2-3 times.

Cat-Cow Stretch

Yes, this exercise has an interesting name. But, trust us, it works! You’ll start by placing your hands and knees on a mat or other soft surface. If you need more support for your knees, place a blanket or pillow under your knees. Before you begin moving, create a strong foundation. Bring your wrists underneath your shoulders, your knees underneath your hips and pull your navel in towards your spine. From there, move into Cow Pose by dropping your belly towards the floor and lifting your gaze towards the sky. Then, start to round your spine (think of a black cat) and bring your gaze towards your belly button for Cat Pose. Move through Cat-Cow 4-5 times and then repeat 2-3 times.

Graphic showing cobra pose yoga position

Cobra Pose

Cobra is an exercise that serves a dual purpose: strengthening and lengthening the spine. You’ll need to lie flat on your belly, on a mat or other surface, and bring your hands underneath your shoulders. To increase your stability, press into the tops of your toes. Using your hands, press yourself up about 3 inches. Take a round of breath here and lower yourself down. Keep moving through this several more times, coming up higher each time

Graphic showing reclined spiral twist yoga position

Reclined Spinal Twist

For this last exercise, lie flat on your back, on a mat or other comfortable surface. Keeping your left leg long, hug your right knee into your chest. Leave your shoulders planted firmly into the floor, then cross your right knee over your chest and gaze over your right shoulder. Take about five breaths here, release the pose and repeat on the other side. Do this spinal twist 2-3 times on each side.

We’ve only just scratched the surface of exercises that you can do at home to relieve your lower back pain. Learn more about these exercises and more by requesting an appointment with our team.


Dr. Bendt P. Petersen is an orthopaedic and neurospine surgical specialist with over twenty years in operative clinical practice. He is a fellowship-trained surgeon whose practice is the only one in the Mobile-area devoted exclusively to the treatment of your spine.

The Center for Spine Health employs the most advanced operative and non-operative therapies in concert with the most highly-trained physical therapists and other advanced ancillary practitioners to help you live the life you want to live.

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