12 Easy Lower Back Exercises For Seniors To Be Better

Nearly 70 percent of older adults are estimated to suffer from back pain. Moreover, low back pain is the most common health problem among these older adults. Consequently, lower back exercises for seniors helps reduce intensity and/or occurrence of low back pain. Meanwhile, a recent study in England of 4,400 people over 70 reported that those with spinal pain were 13 percent more likely to die each year.

Lower Back Exercises for Seniors

Why do you get Lower Back Pain ?

The primary causes of lower back pain include the following:

  1. 1
    Lumbar strain
  2. 2
    Irritation of nerves
  3. 3
    Lumbar radiculopathy
  4. 4
    Bony encroachment
  5. 5
    Condition of bones and joints

Lumbar Strain

First and foremost, a lumbar strain is caused by microscopic tears in the ligaments, tendons, and muscles of the lower back from stretching. Moreover, this common cause occurs most often in people in their 40s from overuse or improper use of the lower back.

Irritation of Nerves

Also, nerves of the lumbar spine can be irritated by mechanical pressure from bones, other tissues, diseases, or inflammation of the nerves by a viral infection like shingles.

Lumbar Radiculopathy

Next, lumbar radiculopathy is usually caused by a compression of the spinal nerve root. Consequently, there is pain in the leg rather than in the lumbar spine. Moreover, the compression or irritation can be due to one of many conditions, including lumbar disc herniation, spinal stenosis, osteophyte formation, spondylolithesis, forminal stenosis, or other degenerative disorders.

Bony Encroachment

Most noteworthy, bony encroachment cause narrowing of the portal through which the spinal nerve passes from the spinal column, out of the spinal canal to the body. And the most common reason for this encroachment is arthritis. Also, other reasons include spondylolisthesis, and spinal stenosis. Meanwhile, spondylolisthesis is a condition where one vertebra slips relative to another. And, spinal stenosis is a condition where bony spurs or other soft tissues in the spinal canal compress nerve roots or the spinal cord.

Condition of Bones and Joints

Finally, condition of bones and joints may be existing from birth (congenital), from wear and tear, from injury, and inflammation of the joints from arthritis.

Are there Lower Back Exercises for Seniors to Reduce Lumbar Pain ?

In fact, if you are looking for lower back exercises for seniors to get relief from lower back pain, the following are easy to do and many are even recommended by physical therapists.

  1. 1
    Partial crunches
  2. 2
    Knee to chest
  3. 3
    Hamstring stretches
  4. 4
    Wall sits
  5. 5
    Press up back extensions
  6. 6
    Bird dog
  7. 7
    Child’s Pose
  8. 8
    Pelvic tilts
  9. 9
    Glute bridges
  10. 10
    Lifting weights
  11. 11
    Aerobic exercises
  12. 12
    Pilates

Partial Crunches

This workout builds strength in the lower back and stomach muscles. Follow these steps:

  1. 1
    Lie on your back with feet flat on the floor and knees bent
  2. 2
    Cross your arms across the chest
  3. 3
    Next raise your shoulders from the floor while keeping your stomach muscles tight
  4. 4
    Hold for one second and then lower yourself back to the floor
  5. 5
    Do ten repetitions

Knee to Chest

  1. 1
    Lie on your back with feet flat on the floor and knees bent
  2. 2
    Next, pull up your right knee up to the chest while keeping the left foot flat on the floor
  3. 3
    Hold for 10 seconds
  4. 4
    Next, lower your right knee
  5. 5
    Repeat with the other leg
  6. 6
    Do five repetitions with each leg

Hamstring Stretches

This exercise increases strength and flexibility in the lower back. Follow these steps:

  1. 1
    First, lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor
  2. 2
    Next, straighten the right knee while lifting the right foot towards the ceiling
  3. 3
    Next, hold the back of your knee and pull leg towards you. As you do this you will feel a pull on the back of your leg
  4. 4
    Hold for about 30 seconds, then return leg to its starting position
  5. 5
    Do five repetitions with each leg

Wall Sits

This routine exercises your legs, glutes, and lower back. Follow these steps:

  1. 1
    First stand with your back against the wall
  2. 2
    Next, slide down the wall slowly and move your feet out until your upper legs form a right angle with the lower legs. Meanwhile keep your back against the wall.
  3. 3
    Hold this position for a count of ten
  4. 4
    Do ten repetitions

Press Up Back Extensions or Cobra Pose

This exercise lengthens the spine and makes your core and lower back flexible. Follow these steps:

  1. 1
    Lie on your stomach with bent elbows and hands flat on the floor underneath the shoulders. The legs are straight out.
  2. 2
    Next push with your hands to lift the shoulders off the floor
  3. 3
    Hold this position for 5 seconds and then go down to starting position
  4. 4
    If you find it hard to do, place your elbows on the floor directly under your shoulders, with your forearms out in front of you with hands flat on the floor
  5. 5
    Push up with your elbows and hold position for 5 seconds
  6. 6
    Do ten repetitions

Bird Dog

This exercise works your abs to stabilize the lower back. Follow these steps:

  1. 1
    Start in a dog position, with hands flat of the floor and legs below the knees also on the floor
  2. 2
    Next, tightening your stomach muscles, lift and extend your right leg behind you until the leg is parallel to the floor
  3. 3
    Keep your neck straight and face the floor
  4. 4
    Hold for five seconds
  5. 5
    Repeat with the other leg
  6. 6
    Do ten repetitions with each leg

Child’s Pose

This exercise stretches muscles of the lower back, as well as the inner thighs. It also, promotes flexibility, stress relief and helps circulation to the muscles, joints, and disks of the back. Follow these steps:

  1. 1
    Start by sitting on the floor with your knees and feet
  2. 2
    Next, slowly bend forward until your head touches the floor
  3. 3
    Now, stretch your arms out beyond your head
  4. 4
    Hold position for 10 seconds
  5. 5
    Do five repetitions

Pelvic Tilts

This workout strengthens your pelvis. Follow these steps:

  1. 1
    Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor
  2. 2
    Next, imagine pulling your belly button to the floor. This will lift your hips.
  3. 3
    Hold for 10 seconds
  4. 4
    Do ten repetitions

Glute Bridges

This workout strengthens your pelvis. Follow these steps:

  1. 1
    Lie with your back on the floor, knees bent and heels on the floor
  2. 2
    Next, squeeze your glutes or your pelvic muscles to lift your hips until your shoulders, hips and knees form a straight line
  3. 3
    Hold this position for 10 seconds
  4. 4
    Slowly bring your back down on the floor
  5. 5
    Do ten repetitions

Lifting Weights

Lifting weights can strengthen your lower back muscles. However, ask a physical therapist or a trainer to show the right technique. Also, if you feel pain, talk to your medical professional.

Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercises like biking, swimming, and walking improve your cardiovascular system. However, don’t jog or run because their impact can make your lower back worse.

Pilates

Pilates can help low back pain. However, unless you are familiar with Pilates, learn how to do them correctly from an instructor at your local fitness club.

Are there Exercises to Skip Because they Harm the Lower Back ?

Most of all, as you look at other lower back exercises for seniors to use, avoid the following.

  1. 1
    Standing toe touches
  2. 2
    Sit ups
  3. 3
    Crunches
  4. 4
    Leg lifts
  5. 5
    High impact exercises such as step aerobics, running, basketball
  6. 6
    Lifting weights above your head
  7. 7
    Putting weight on your shoulders. For example, weighted squats put pressure on the spinal discs.
  8. 8
    Spinning bike or biking while leaning forward

Are there Home Remedies for Lower Back Pain ?

Meanwhile, lower back exercises for seniors to use can be augmented with home remedies, such as the ones listed below

  1. 1
    Using heat and cold
  2. 2
    Use pain-relief cream
  3. 3
    Use arnica
  4. 4
    Switch shoes
  5. 5
    Make changes to your work desk
  6. 6
    Get enough sleep
  7. 7
    Reduce stress

Using Heat and Cold

First, applying an ice pack, wrapped in a towel, directly to the back can reduce inflammation. Also, a heating pad can provide relief. However, to prevent burns, make sure the heating pad is not too hot.

Use Pain Relief Cream

Next, creams containing capsaicin may help relieve pain. In fact, a study found that capsaicin is helpful for treating osteoarthritis pain.

Also, pain-relief creams with menthol have a cooling effect to temporarily dull back pain.

Use Arnica

Arnica is a homeopathic remedy that can be applied directly to the skin to treat muscle pain.

Switch Shoes

In addition, some shoes can cause muscle strain in the back and legs. So, try switching shoes that fit well. Meanwhile, a foot specialist may be able to help you get the right kind of shoe.

Change your Work Desk

Improper posture, from slouching or straining, at a desk can cause back pain. For example, the computer screen should be at eye level with the chair at the correct height.

Get Enough Sleep

Disturbed sleep can make back pain worse. Also, insufficient sleep can reduce tolerance for pain. Moreover, guidelines recommend getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep.

Reduce Stress

Finally, stress can trigger muscle tension in the back. So, take steps to reduce stress.

About the Author Lisa