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Exercises to Do While Sitting Down for Low Back Pain

By Kimberly Wonderly

Low back pain often results from injuries or muscle spasms. Common causes included prolonged sitting, muscle strain, ligament sprain, problems with the intervertebral discs, falls, vehicular accidents or the use of back muscles you do not usually use. Seated exercise may reduce pain by improving the strength and flexibility of the muscles that support your spine. Consult your doctor prior to starting any exercise program while experiencing low back pain.


Stretching and strengthening exercises decrease muscle imbalances in the back and strengthen the muscles that support the spine. Common seated exercises for strengthening and stretching the back include forward bends, arm raises, side bends, leg raises, trunk rotations and pelvic tilts, explains Heath Brown, a physical therapist at Rehabilitation Today in Bradford, Pennsylvania. Chair aerobics will strengthen and stretch the back while giving you the benefits of a cardiac workout.

Time Frame

Include chair exercises several times throughout your day. If you must sit in a chair most of the day, perform a stretch or two every half hour to an hour. Brown advises taking five minutes to stretch as often as possible to keep your back joints from stiffening. Spend a minimum of 15 minutes twice a day stretching and strengthening your back to avoid low back pain associated with weak or tight muscles. A strong back will help lessen injuries associated with improper lifting and poor posture.


Exercise should not cause you pain. You may experience some muscle soreness when you first start an exercise program, but pain indicates injury. states to call your doctor if you experience pain that goes down your leg; numbness in your rectal area, groin, leg or foot; abdominal pain; a loss of bowel or bladder control; pain that prevents you from moving; or pain that lasts longer than two to three weeks. Seated exercise tends to decrease the stress on your back but can still cause injury. Serious spinal injury or failure to seek medical attention can result in permanent nerve damage or paralysis.


Seated back exercise may relieve low back pain, but you can avoid low back problems by preventing strain on your back. Prevent back pain strain by learning the proper way to lift and carry objects, pushing–not pulling–heavy objects, wearing supportive flat or low-heeled shoes and exercising regularly, advises Dr. Michael Hall, a family physician for DuBois Regional Medical Center in DuBois, Pennsylvania. Hall goes on to state that strong back muscles require a minimum of 15 minutes of strengthening exercises twice a week. Seated strengthening exercises allow for additional back support, if performed properly.


Pain in the lower back may cause you to avoid exercise. Control pain using an anti-inflammatory drug, heat application or a chair massager. Poor technique can increase your low back pain or worsen your injury. Learn the proper technique to use while performing seated low back exercises from your doctor, physical therapist or personal trainer.

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