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How does exercise improve low back pain?

Updated: Apr 25, 2023

Graham Kavanagh, specialist exercise instructor in low back pain

So..... basically speaking, how does exercise actually improve low back pain?

One of the common instances with low back pain clients are weakened muscles. When muscles are underused they become weak. Weak muscles have a destabilising effect..... when exactly the opposite is needed to help stabilise the spine and pelvic region.

Postural issues can occur, creating muscle imbalances. Some muscles are therefore over active or under active and these need to be rebalanced. If muscles are made to jobs they weren't designed to do by overcompensating, then this is where muscle strains occur. Pain levels can increase and further worsened by fear of movement due to pain.

Gait can be affected depending on the severity. There are numerous reasons why muscles may have become weak and this is addressed during your assessment in the first exercise session. Inactivity. Overactivity or overdoing an exercise or training programme you aren't used to. A spinal surgery procedure. Past trauma.

As well as physical reasons, there are also psychological factors to be taken into consideration. Stress or anxiety. These have a close correlation with low back pain. Muscles tighten..... involuntary, and can affect posture and prolonged bouts of stress for example is a recipe for the onset of low back pain.

Exercise. How does it help? Exercise has exceptional positive outcomes for the improvement of low back pain. When we start to exercise, muscles are strengthened. This builds the core stability that is much required to help support the body. Muscles start to do the job they are supposed to do. Pain reduces as functional ability is regained over time.

Exercise helps overcome fear of movement and promotes activity which also helps to reduce stress and anxiety if an individual also suffers from those. The mind is occupied and given a structure of exercise routine. Movement, even at work at a desk all day..... taking a few minutes regularly throughout the day to move, change position, stand and stretch your arms out for example, disrupts prolonged seated positions.

A valuable point worth bearing in mind is that exercise pumps blood. Blood carries nutrients to tissue which aids the process of recovery. As muscles exercise, they get stronger. A program of exercise is also tailored to the individual. There is no "one" program or exercise fits all! This is due to the varying levels of fitness, ability and causative reasons contributing to back pain. There can be multiple reasons causing an individuals back pain..... the level of exercise will vary from individual to individual.

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I have used Grahams services for lower back pain and it's made a huge difference. I drive a lot and the strengthening and flexibility work has really helpd

Graham Kavanagh
Graham Kavanagh
Jan 27, 2023
Replying to

Thank you Greg. I’m really pleased sessions are helping to improve your low back pain. Looking forward to progressing further!

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