Lower Back Pain Exercises for Seniors

To stay healthy, seniors can perform lower back pain exercises. Your back needs movement in order to maintain your range of motion and remain pain-free as long as possible. We need to exercise, but in the right way, to avoid aggravating our spine or increasing pain.

When we get lower back pain, exercise will help reduce and even prevent a recurrence. Performing daily back exercises and stretches is really an important part of treating your back pain in order to return to your normal daily life.

  1. Supine Knee Wipers
  2. Supine Bridge
  3. Supine Alternating knee to chest
  4. Knee Plank
Watch my instructional video

The exercises below are a great start in improving your mobility and reducing your low back pain. The supine knee wipers will begin to gently mobilize your low back while you are on your back and in a protected position. The bridge will strengthen your posterior chain, hamstrings, glutes, and core. Alternating knee to chest will also improve your core strength, helping to stabilize your arms and legs when moving. Then ending with the plank to improve your core and strengthen your upper body and core even more.

Exercise 1

Supine Knee Wipers, Begin on the floor lying on your back, feet flat on floor. Press your back into the floor by performing a pelvic posterior tilt. Gently bring your knees left and right in a small range of motion. Gradually increase the motion from left to right. There should be no pain. If you experience pain, make the motion shorter. Gradually increase your motion in a pain free manner. Continue for 3 minutes.

Exercise 2

Supine Bridge. Begin on your back with feet flat on the floor, your pelvis in posterior tilt pressing against the mat or bed. Slowly raise your hips off the bed or mat to a position that has your hips fully extended. Hold for 5 seconds and return to the start position. Repeat 10 times.

Exercise 3

Supine alternating Knee to Lifts. Begin on your back with your feet flat on the bed or mat. Perform a posterior pelvic tilt and press your back to the mat. Slowly bring one knee up toward your chest, then bring the other knee to your chest. Hold briefly then reverse the motion and bring one foot and then the other to the mat. Repeat 10 times.

Exercise 4

Knee Plank. Lie face down on your bed or a mat with your legs together and your arms at your sides. Position yourself on your elbows and knees. Tighten your core and elevate your upper body off the ground, stabilizing yourself with your forearms. Your feet, shins, and knees will remain on the ground. Do not allow your hips to drop down. Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat 3 times.

These exercises are what we call self-care. You are responsible to doing the exercises, performing the stretches for several weeks as your mobility improves and your strength stabilizes. You will need to make sure your body mechanics are good when exercising. Think safety and good posture when performing these exercises to protect your back and reduce the risk of injury. You may have to learn more about the spine and all the supporting musculature that holds you erect and helps to perform all the daily activities with reduced stress.

There are three natural curves in your spine when standing. These curves help us stand straight, and move freely. We need to build a strong and flexible spine to maintain these curves, especially as we age. With the spin in proper alignment due to the three curves, our disks are protected and cushion the bones of the spine.

The lumbar curve is one of the most important. This is the hardest working part of the spine and carries more weight and moves the most. If we align this curve we can help prevent more damage to the vertebrae and other parts of the spine.

Our spine can become unhealthy in a number of ways. The first is a result of poor posture. If we don’t improve our posture through good habits like pulling our chin back, shoulders up and back and down, and chest lifted, our disks with often wear out or degenerate. This can become a vicious cycle of irritated joints, even forming outgrowths of bone, or spurs. This can narrow the fora men even further.

Let me know if you have any questions or would like to see other exercises or senior fitness content. You can leave your comments and suggestions on my About Page. Need personal help? Check out my new Academy. Exercise is really your magic pill to feel better and live longer. Remember to stay active, stay strong, and stay connected!

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Doug Schrift

Doug Schrift is a Physical Therapist, Certified Geriatric Specialist, and senior fitness coach. Doug helps seniors become strong and stable even if they have never exercised before.