Back In Motion: 5 Ways To Reduce Low Back Pain By Strengthening Your Core

Are you tired of being held back or loosing mobility from nagging back pain? You are not alone! Physical therapy and movement education might just be the key to breaking free and rediscovering the joy of pain-free movement. In this article, we’ll explore the ways physical therapy effectively reduces back pain and restores mobility, providing you with 5 actionable tips for a healthier back. Before jumping in, let’s touch briefly on the common causes of back pain.

Main Causes of Back Pain

Your spine is designed to move! However, conditions like poor posture, muscle strain, herniated discs, or more serious conditions like spinal stenosis, back pain can significantly impact your daily life. As physical therapists, much of our responsibility lies in educating people on ways to improve posture, strengthen core muscles and movement education so people don’t end up with pain in the first place. Here are the top contributors to back pain:

  1. Muscle Strain and Tension: Commonly due to prolonged periods of poor posture, excessive computer or phone use, or sleeping in an uncomfortable position can strain the muscles in the neck and upper back, causing pain and stiffness. Many people working from home or on computers, attending Zoom meetings, or on our mobile devices for hours, putting strain on our spine. 
  2. Poor Ergonomics: Incorrect positioning of the head, spine, or shoulders during work such as hunching over a desk or improper desk and chair height, or keyboard configuration, can contribute to chronic pain. 
  3. Degenerative Disc Disease: As we age, the discs in the spine can wear down, causing stiffness and pain. The condition is known as degenerative disc disease. 
  4. Herniated Disc: A herniated disc or bulging disc in the spine can put pressure on the nerves, resulting in back and radiating pain down the leg. 
  5. Improper lifting: Your lordosis (the small curve in your lower back) must be maintained while lifting objects from the floor. 
  6. Osteoarthritis: Arthritis in the neck joints can lead to pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion. 
  7. Injuries: Accidents, falls, or sports injuries can cause sprains, strains, or fractures in the neck, resulting in acute or chronic neck pain.   

5 Core Exercises to Reduce Back Pain

Most general causes of back pain are preventable. Since our bodies are designed to move, we must first evaluate the ability of our body to support the spine.  There are three main systems that support your back. The passive system, which is made up of your discs, ligaments, and bones. The active system, which is made up of your muscles, and the control system which is your neurological ability to manage movement. 

These support system primarily consists of the core muscles. When your body has the strength to support the spinal structures, it becomes less likely that your body will slump out of alignment. Here are 5 core strengthening exercises to add to your weekly routine:

1. The Plank

  1. Start in a plank position with your forearms or hands on the ground and elbows directly beneath your shoulders. 
  2. Keep your body in a straight line from head to heels, engaging your thigh, glute, and core muscles. 
  3. Hold the plank position for 20-30 seconds initially, gradually increasing the duration as your strength improves. 
  4. Repeat for 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions. 

2. The Bridge

1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor hip-width apart. 
2. Place your arms at your sides with palms facing down. 
3. Lift your hips toward the ceiling, forming a straight line from your shoulders to your knees (do not arch your lower back). 
4. Squeeze your glutes and engage your core. 
5. Hold the bridge position for 15-20 seconds and gradually increase duration. 
6. Repeat for 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions. 


3. Bird-dog: 

  1. Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position.
  2. Extend your right arm forward and your left leg back, maintaining a straight line from your fingertips to your toes.
  3. Hold the position for 5 seconds, focusing on balance and stability.
  4. Return to the starting position and switch sides.
  5. Repeat for 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.

4. Dead Bug:

  1. Lie on your back with your arms extended toward the ceiling and your legs lifted, forming a 90-degree angle at hips and knees and brace your abdominal muscles while keeping your lower back anchored to the ground. 
  2. Lower your right arm and left leg toward the floor, keeping your lower back pressed into the mat. 
  3. Return to the starting position and switch sides. 
  4. Repeat for 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.

5. Pallof Press:

  1. Brace your core muscles in a stable upright position. 
  2. With elastic band anchored, extend your arms forward and resist the body from rotating. Hold extended position for 5-10 seconds while stabilizing your spine.
  3. Repeat for 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions. 
Pallof Press


Since back pain can stem from various conditions, it’s imperative to understand why you are experiencing the pain in the first place. In the clinic, we often find that many people who are suffering from back pain present with poor posture, weak abdominal strength, and practice poor body mechanics. If you would like to learn more about how to improve your condition check out our blog article on 10 Tips for Managing Low Back Pain, and Understanding Neck Pain to find more resources that can help improve your condition. As always, if you or someone you know is suffering from back pain, our team can help. 

In Good Health,

– The Salinas Team

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