7 Exercises To Prevent Back Pain

By Dr Ken Nakamura+

Exercises To Prevent Back Pain|Dr. Ken Downtown Toronto Chiropractor

Does your back pain keep coming back?


What can you do to prevent back pain?


What are the best exercises to prevent back pain?


The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) led by researcher Steffens[1] did a review of the research of the best exercises to prevent back pain.


Steffens concluded that exercises to prevent back pain are effective, and that they reduce the risk of future back pain during the next 12 months by 35%.  Furthermore education regarding your back pain further reduces the risk by about 50%. At the work place this translated into a 78% decrease of sick leave/work loss  for lower back pain.

Exercises Strategies For Your Lower Back| Downtown Toronto Chirorpactor

Unfortunately if you stop the exercises your back pain will come back. In other words you need to keep doing the exercises to prevent back pain. This should encourage you to make exercise a part of your lifestyle to prevent back pain.


So now you know that exercises to prevent back pain are effective, what are the best exercises to prevent back pain? I’ll get to that in a minute.


Some of you might be saying I don’t like to exercises I will just take the education part of it and not the exercises. Steffens the researcher who reviewed the research would probably tell you off. He found out that education alone is not enough. You can do just the exercises which helps up to 35% but education alone doesn’t help prevent back pain.  There is no easy, passive way to just to go to your office job, lead a sedentary life and prevent back pain.

Continuing Your Exercises


The biggest problem you will have is continuing your exercises when there is no pain. Why should you do them when there is no pain? Simple, doing the exercises actually helps prevent back pain. One of the studies in the review looked at how support and encouragement had a great effect on people doing the exercises to prevent back pain. By doing regular follow-ups there was a motivational effect and so people actually did the exercises.


Without follow-ups in other studies, patients did not do their exercises to prevent back pain and thus had more recurrences and more time off work.

Best Exercises To Prevent Back Pain


While I am going to give you some exercises here, please don’t conclude that these are the only exercises to prevent back pain.

#1 Best Exercises To Prevent Back Pain

Low back Support Back belt -post back belt exercises

  • Get into a crawling position with your hands and feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Harden your core by contracting your abs and lower back. This is called bracing.
  • Lift up your arm first. If this is easy, then lift your leg only. If that is easy, then lift the opposite legs and arms, for example right leg, left arm.
  • Want to make it tougher? Try lifting an arm and leg on the same side.
  • 3 sets of 10. If you are shaking a little or cannot balance quite right, you’re doing the right exercise for you, i.e.  lifting just the leg or arm might be easy, but lifting opposite arms and legs might put you off-balance a bit. Make sure you are stable before going to the advanced bird dog.

#2. Best Exercises To Prevent Back Pain: Curl-up
3 Big low back exercises to help stabilize your lower back. Curl-ups, Bird Dog and Side Plank will help your lower back pain.: Toronto Downtown Chiropractic.

  • Starting position: Lay down on your back with on leg up and your arm underneath the curve of your lower back. The arm underneath your lower back helps support the arch in your lower back. You can always use a rolled up towel.
  • The Move: Bring your head up while looking up at the ceiling not your legs. When you do this exercise the abdominal muscles automatically brace.
  • Repetitions: Repeat 10 times working your way up to 3 sets.

#3. Best Exercises To Prevent Back Pain: Chair Squats

How to Improve Posture-Chair Squats: Toronto Chiropractic Clinic

  • Stand in front of a chair as if you are going to sit on it.
  • Stand with your feet facing slightly more outward than your knee.
  • Make sure your butt comes out, and keep lowering you butt until you touch the chair.
  • Practice 3 sets of 10.
  • When you are stronger, take the chair away and go down until your knees are bent 90 degrees.

#4. Best Exercises To Prevent Back Pain: Stir the Pot

abdominal exercises for Chronic Low Back Pain- Toronto Downtown Chiropractor

  • Facedown with your elbows on the ball and toes firmly planted.
  • Move your elbows like you are stirring a pot.
  • Make sure you try to keep your lower back stable.

#5. Best Exercises To Prevent Back Pain:

Degenerative Disc Disease Exercises Side Plank: Downtown Toronto Chriopractic

  • Get on your side with your elbows underneath your shoulders.
  • Your feet stacked on each other.
  • To make it harder you can raise up your arm like the picture above.
  • Bring your pelvis down to the floor than bring it up again 10 times.
  • Don’t rest when you touch the floor.
  • Try to do three sets each day.

#6. Best Exercises To Prevent Back Pain:

Back Support, Post Back Support Exercise

  • Lie Face Down.
  • Toes together and your arms shoulder width apart.
  • Get up on your toes and elbows like in the picture above.
  • Your legs and body should form a straight line. Don’t let your butt sag down or come up too high.
  •  Hold for 30 seconds to start. Hold for up to 1 minute. Do it 3 Times.

#7. Best Exercises To Prevent Back Pain:

Degenerative Disc Disease Exercise Supine Plank: Downtown Toronto Chriopractic

  • Lie down face up with your hands down and knees bent.
  • Tighten your abs and lower back muscles.
  • Lift up till you form a straight line like in the picture above. Don’t go too high or too low.
  • Come back down and when you touch the floor come back up right away (no rest- your back needs endurance).
  • Try 3 sets of 10.


Problems With Systemic Reviews


A systemic Review basically gets a researcher to look a thousands of trails and whittle them down to a handful based the best research trails so that you can make a conclusion. Like looking at a whole bunch of research trails that say soy bean is good and another bunch that says soy beans are bad. Filtering out the trails which were flawed and coming up with what you think it the real answer.  You can replace soy bean with low back pain, the above is just an example.


Even Steffens says that the evidence for exercises to prevent back pain is low to very low. This means since only four studies were included in his review two new studies that show the opposite thing will make him have a different conclusion.


Tell us what you think in the comments below and like us on Facebook. This Toronto Downtown Chiropractor will answer all questions in the comments section.



1 Steffens D, Maher CG, Pereira LSM et al. (2016) Prevention of Low-Back Pain, JAMA Intern Med. doi 10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.7431. Published online January 11, 2016. 2 Carey TS, Freburger JK (2016) Exercise and the Preventi


Dr Ken Nakamura

4 Responses to 7 Exercises To Prevent Back Pain
  • Maru Parra says:
    February 14, 2017 at 3:47 am

    Hello, I am 53 years old, I have 2 lower back fusions and 1 cervical fusion. I have chroinc pain anc according to my back surgeon I have post-laminectomy syndrome and spinal stenosis. The pain in my leg sometimes it so bad that I can’t even walk. I don’t want another surgery, I am doing physical therapy but it does not seem to help. Is there anything I can do to avoid another surgery and alleviate the pain?

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      February 14, 2017 at 10:51 pm

      Thanks for your question Maru. In your particular case you are best served by a health practitioner that can examine as there are too many variables to consider to give you an opinion without examining you.

      Hope you understand.

  • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
    September 7, 2016 at 12:01 am

    Thanks for your question Amy. This doesn’t sound like a back problem. Sounds more like a typical incontinence problem that you have after childbirth. This is more of an issue that you have to get sorted with the medical doctor, not a chiropractor.

    The MRI often show disc bulges that don’t cause any symptoms. Hope that helps.

  • amy says:
    July 31, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    Hello I’m a 24 year old female,i have a posterocentral disc bulge at L3.4 and L4,5. I have been suffering from urine leakage problem when sitting on hard surfaces or when sitting in a moving car that drives over a road bump for the past 8 months ,upto 2 months ago there was no pain anywhere in my body when sitting walking ,exercising etc. My MRI report says that signal to the cord ,cauda Equina and Conus medullaris are normal . Of late i have experienced shooting pains down the front of my thigh when i bend forward. Is the bladder issue and the back problem linked ? I have spoken to a neurologist who says that the disc bulge is not the cause of the urine incontinence Can the bladder problem be caused by my tailbone that is dislocated? What exercises can i do to correct the bulge at L3-4?

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