How to Manage Chronic Back Pain with Exercise

Jun 24, 2024

Chronic back pain can be a debilitating condition that significantly impacts your quality of life. However, incorporating exercise into your daily routine can help alleviate pain, improve flexibility, and strengthen the muscles that support your back. In this blog post, we'll explore various exercises and strategies to help you manage chronic back pain effectively.

The Importance of Exercise for Chronic Back Pain

Regular exercise is crucial for managing chronic back pain. It helps strengthen the muscles that support your spine, improve flexibility, and reduce inflammation. By engaging in a consistent exercise routine, you can minimize the severity and frequency of your back pain episodes.

Exercises to Avoid During Flare-ups

During periods of severe back pain, it's important to avoid exercises that put additional strain on your back. Opt for low-impact activities like walking, swimming, or gentle stretching until the pain subsides.

Strengthening Exercises for the Core and Back

Building strength in your core and back muscles can help support your spine and reduce the risk of future injuries. Exercises like the bridge, clamshell, and bird dog hip extension can help target these muscle groups.

Strengthening Exercises

Manage Chronic Back Pain with Exercise by doing Bridge exercise

Bridge exercise: Lie on your back with knees bent, lift your hips up while pushing down with your heels.

Manage Chronic Back Pain with Exercise by doing Clamshell exercise

Clamshell exercise: Lie on your side with knees bent, lift your top knee while keeping ankles together.

Manage Chronic Back Pain with Exercise by doing bird dog hip exercise

Bird dog hip extension: Get on all fours, extend opposite arm and leg while keeping your back flat.

Stretching for Flexibility and Range of Motion

Improving your flexibility and range of motion can help reduce muscle tension and improve your overall mobility. Incorporate stretches like the single knee to chest and seated spinal twist into your routine to target your back and hips.

Stretching Exercises

Single knee to chest

Single knee to chest: Lie on your back, bring one knee to your chest while keeping the other leg straight.

Seated spinal twist

Seated spinal twist: Sit with one leg extended, cross the other leg over, and twist your body to the opposite side.

Incorporating Exercise into Your Daily Life

To make exercise a sustainable part of your routine, aim to incorporate it into your daily activities. Take regular breaks to stretch at your desk, go for a short walk during your lunch break, or try a gentle yoga class in the evening.

Consulting with a Physical Therapist

If you're unsure where to start or are experiencing persistent pain, consider consulting with a physical therapist. They can help create a personalized exercise plan tailored to your specific needs and provide guidance on proper form to prevent further injury.


Chronic back pain can be a challenging condition to manage, but incorporating exercise into your routine can make a significant difference in your quality of life. By strengthening your core and back muscles, improving flexibility, and making exercise a consistent part of your daily routine, you can reduce pain and improve your overall well-being.

Remember, it's important to start slowly and listen to your body. If you experience severe pain or discomfort, stop exercising and consult with a healthcare professional.

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Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe is the lead neurosurgeon, who is a top-rated spine surgeon in Los Angeles on websites like Yelp,, Google Businesses, and Healthgrades. You can schedule an appointment with her by filling out the contact form or calling (213)369-4583.

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