What Are the Best Exercises for a Sore Back?

Lower back pain requires different exercises than upper back pain.
Some yoga poses help strengthen the back and abdominal muscles.
Exercises should be performed for between 15 to 30 minutes daily.
Dumbbell rows work and tone the muscles of the back, including the latissimus dorsi.
A physical therapist may be able to recommend exercises to treat a sore back.
Basic stretching may provide relief to people with back pain.
Back pain is often caused by injuries to the muscles.
Strengthening the abdominal muscles can help support the lower back.
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  • Written By: Simone Lawson
  • Edited By: Lucy Oppenheimer
  • Last Modified Date: 28 April 2015
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There are a variety of sore back exercises and which are deemed the best will largely depend on the cause and location of the soreness. Getting rid of upper back pain, for example, requires different exercises and approaches than getting rid of lower back pain does. Some of the best exercises for a sore back include basic stretching, maintaining good posture, engaging in supported spinal twisting and building abdominal muscles, which support the spine.

It's important to note that when done right, back exercises can be very helpful in alleviating back pain. When done wrong however, they can actually exacerbate pain and lead to greater problems. As a result, those with serious back conditions should consult a health care professional about the best sore back exercises for them.

Basic stretching often helps alleviate a sore back. In fact, flexibility of the muscles surrounding the spine can help reduce the risk of injury and alleviate existing back soreness. If the back is feeling tense or sore, simply bending over and reaching for the toes can provide relief. Arching the back to either side with arms raised overhead is also helpful. It's important, however, not to overexert oneself as that can cause new injuries.


Maintaining proper posture can help relieve a sore back, as well. In a way, this is a sort of stretch if your relaxed posture actually exacerbates the pain. By stretching the back into a position of proper posture, you can help stretch the sore area and relieve some of the associated pain. Additionally, proper posture can help prevent future soreness.

Spinal twisting exercises are some of the best exercises for a sore back. Twisting can be a gentle way to alleviate sore back pain as well as release and align the spine. This exercise will also aid in increasing flexibility which is important to decreasing the risk of injury. Twisting too vigorously, quickly or into extreme positions, however, can exacerbate existing back problems, or create new ones. As a result, it's important to engage in subtle and gentle twisting.

Since the back is supported by the abdominal muscles, back strength and back health is tightly intertwined with ab strength. Regular abdominal strengthening exercises can therefore relieve and prevent sore back symptoms. It is especially important to perform exercises that strengthen the transverse abdominals, as these are the deepest layers of muscle tissue and are most immediately responsible for spinal support.

Standard abdominal crunches and knee-to-elbow alternating crunches are both effective exercises for strengthening the oblique muscles and transverse abdominals. They help stretch and release tense back muscles. To get results, however, it's usually recommended that these exercises be performed consistently, at least every other day for 15 to 30 minutes.

If the back is very stiff and sore, it may be helpful to apply heat or ice to the region experiencing the most pain before attempting to perform any exercises. Choosing heat or ice is generally a personal preference, but some doctors may recommend particular temperatures for specific conditions. Once hot or cold temperature has been applied to the back, it may be easier to perform the exercises.

Back exercises are not only important for relieving a sore back, but they're also important in the preventing that pain from reoccurring. Building strong inner abdominal muscles will prevent additional episodes and may help to keep the condition from worsening. Maintaining proper posture, stretching and engaging in spinal twisting are also essential components to preventing sore back pain.


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Post 2

When I was a teenager I had a friend with fibromyalgia, and she taught me what might still be one of the best things I have learned for sore back treatment. Find a tennis ball or two, or something else of similar size, and while lying down place them under the knot on your back, wherever it is. Lie down flat long enough for it to start to really hurt, and then after that it will help realign your back and, at least for a little while, make the pain go away. It may not be a cure for long term problems, but it can be great for when you spend too much time in a day sitting or standing still or wake up with a crick in your back.

Post 1

When starting a stretch routine, be sure to start somewhat gradually. Many people try to fix their sore back causes through stretching and better posture only to make them worse by starting too much too soon, or not looking into it enough before starting.

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