Lower Back Pain | Exercises And Other Causes Of Lower Back Pain

If you don’t suffer from back pain, there’s a good chance that someone in your family or your workplace does. About 80% of the population will suffer from back pain during their active lives. In fact, back pain is one of the most common work-related injuries; it is the second leading cause of missed workdays after the common cold.

Back Stretching Exercises

How Often to do Stretching Exercises

Stretching exercises may be done daily but every second day is usually enough. Specific stretches are often recommended twice daily for those suffering from sciatica or other types of back pain or stiffness. A physician or physical therapist should be consulted if you are experiencing back pain, as the prescribed exercises will vary according to the cause of the pain.

How Long to Hold a Stretch

For stretching exercises, the total time stretching a muscle should generally be about 60 to 90 seconds. Holding a stretch for 30 seconds only requires 2 or 3 repetitions. Holding a stretch for 5 or 10 seconds of course requires more repetitions. The optimal amount of time to hold a stretch to achieve best results is not an exact science – even a single 10-second stretch may have some benefits, although a minimum of thirty seconds in total for stretching each muscle is generally recommended.

Cat Stretch

Kneel down with your hands under the shoulders and the knees under your hips. Spread the fingers out on the floor with palms flat and contract the abs to bring the head, neck and back in alignment. Slowly and smoothly tuck your hips under and raise the middle of your back as high as you can. Allow your head and neck to fall naturally between your arms. Try to create a gradual curve of your back towards the ceiling. Hold the raised position for 5 seconds, then lower yourself back to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.

Camel Stretch

Assume the same initial position as in cat stretch. Slowly and smoothly raise your head and hips up, allowing your stomach to fall towards the floor. Hold this position for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.

Prone hip extension

Lie on your stomach with your feet outstretched. Tighten up your buttocks muscles first and then lift one leg off the floor about 5-10 inches. Keep your knee straight. Hold this position for 5 seconds, then lower your leg and relax. Repeat with the opposite leg. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions per leg. Be careful to keep your back flat and bend only at the hip while performing this exercise.

What are other causes of lower back pain?

Other causes of low back pain include kidney problems, pregnancy, ovary problems, and tumors.

Kidney problems

Kidney infections, stones, and traumatic bleeding of the kidney (hematoma) are frequently associated with low back pain. Diagnosis can involve urine analysis, sound-wave tests, or imaging studies of the abdomen.


Pregnancy commonly leads to low back pain by mechanically stressing the lumbar spine (changing the normal lumbar curvature) and by the positioning of the baby inside of the abdomen. Additionally, the effects of the female hormone estrogen and the ligament-loosening hormone relaxin may contribute to loosening of the ligaments and structures of the back. Pelvic-tilt exercises are often recommended for this pain. Women are also recommended to maintain physical conditioning during pregnancy according to their doctors’ advice.

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Ovary problems

Ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, and endometriosis not infrequently cause low back pain. Precise diagnosis can require gynecologic examination and testing.


Low back pain can be caused by tumors, either benign or malignant, that originate in the bone of the spine or pelvis and spinal cord (primary tumors) and those which originate elsewhere and spread to these areas (metastatic tumors). Symptoms range from localized pain to radiating severe pain and loss of nerve and muscle function (even incontinence of urine and stool) depending on whether or not the tumors affect the nervous tissue. Tumors of these areas are detected using imaging tests, such as plain X-rays, nuclear bone scanning, and CAT and MRI scanning.

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