6 Best Exercises For Lower Back Pain for Seniors

6 Best Exercises For Lower Back Pain for Seniors

Lower back pain is a common problem faced by elderly people, especially as a result of age-related wear and tear. Incorporating light exercises and stretches into your day-to-day routine can help ease muscle stiffness and in turn, help you enjoy better health as you age.

In this article, we’ll share six simple exercises for seniors, designed to improve lower back pain and reduce the risk of future injury. Many of these movements can be performed seated, for example, in a riser recliner chair. This enables those with limited mobility or poor balance to perform these exercises effectively. 

To find out more about the health and lifestyle benefits of a riser and recliner chair, get in touch with the Opera Beds team today.

How can exercises improve lower back pain in seniors?

Movements and exercises that target the lower back muscles can help elderly people ease joint and muscle stiffness, as well as prevent injuries caused by exerting any weaker muscles that don’t extend as well as before. 

Performing lower back stretches can also increase the flexibility of your muscles, enabling you to widen the range of motion in your joints. 

3 Exercises for Lower Back Pain

Gradually incorporating these exercises into your routine is one of the best ways to ease back pain yourself

Depending on how comfortable you feel with these movements, you may wish to do all the exercises together, or start with one and slowly increase as you go.

Tips for doing these movements in a recliner riser chair

If you’re completing these exercises while sitting down in an electric riser recliner chair, it’s important to keep the following tips in mind to ensure comfort and safety:

  • Maintain Proper Posture: Sit upright with feet flat on the floor and knees at a 90-degree angle.
  • Utilize Chair Features: Adjust the chair for comfort and a full range of motion.
  • Start Simple: Begin with low-impact exercises like seated marches and shoulder rolls.
  • Add Resistance: Use light bands or weights, starting low and increasing gradually

1 - Seated Trunk Rotation

This exercise can improve your back’s rotational abilities and the flexibility of your lower back muscles. Follow these steps to perform a seated trunk rotation: 

Step 1: Sit slightly forward so your back isn’t in contact with the back of your chair. Your legs should be shoulder-width apart and bent 90 degrees at the knee.

Step 2: Cross your arms over your chest.

Step 3: Keeping your hips facing forward, slowly rotate to the right and then return to the front. Only rotate as far as it’s comfortable to move. 

Step 4: Do the same movement but instead rotate to the left.

Step 5: Repeat this stretch 10 times on each side. 

Seated Rotation

Image Source: NHS 

2 - Torso Lateral Stretch

Many view a torso lateral stretch as a type of seated yoga exercise. Here are the steps to perform this stretch: 

Step 1: Clasp your hands together, crossing your fingers.

Step 2: Raise your arms above your head with your elbows straight. 

Step 3: Stretch your torso to the right while keeping everything in one place. Hold for 5 seconds then return to centre.

Step 4: Repeat this stretch to the left.

Image Source: BHF

3 - Seated Cat-Cow

A seated Cat-Cow helps to stretch your lower back muscles and keep your spine healthy. It’s also a great exercise for working your core muscles. Here’s how:

Step 1: Plant your feet firmly on the floor while sitting down in your chair, making sure your knees are at a 90-degree angle. 

Step 2: Place your hands on your knees and move the heel of your hands onto the outside of your legs. 

Step 3: Take a breath in and inhale. 

Step 4: As you exhale, press downwards into your hands and arch your back using your spine. Your face will now be pointed up towards the ceiling.

Step 5: The next time you inhale, roll your shoulders forward and pull your belly button toward your spine. During this movement, drop your chin toward your chest and use your hands to push toward your knees.

Step 6: Exhale again and reverse the motion, arching your spine again.

Step 7: Repeat these two movements slowly on both your inhale and exhale breaths. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

Image source: BHF

3 Core Exercises for Seniors with Lower Back Pain

Strengthening your core and abdominal muscles can also prevent lower back pain. The following 3 core exercises can be performed while seated.

1 - Abdominal Tightener

The abdominal tightener can be performed while your body remains still. This makes it a great exercise to start with. Here’s how:

Step 1: Sit comfortably with your back against the back of the chair. 

Step 2: Tighten your abdominal muscles by pulling your belly button in toward your spine.

Step 3: Hold for ten seconds. Then release.

Remember: Don’t hold your breath while you tighten your muscles. 

2 - Knee Lifts

This simple exercise can tighten and tone your abdominal muscles, as well as work the quadriceps. Here’s how to perform a knee lift:

Step 1: Sit with your back against your chair and hold onto the sides with both hands.

Step 2: Pull your belly button in towards your spine and tighten your abdominal muscles. 

Step 3: Lift and lower your right knee, followed by your left knee. 

Remember: Only lift your knees as high as is comfortable! It’s also important to tighten your abs first before lifting to fully engage your muscles.

3 - Gentle Twist

Performing this gentle twist a few times a day can help improve spinal flexibility and prevent lower back pain in the future. Follow these steps to complete this exercise:

Step 1: Edge forward on your seat so your feet are firmly planted on the floor but there is still some room behind your back.

Step 2: Sit up straight and lift your arms overhead. 

Step 3: On an exhale, turn gently to the right and place your left hand on the outside of your right knee. 

Step 4: Stay in the twist for 3 to 5 breaths, twisting a little deeper on each exhale.

Step 5: Gently release the twist and repeat on the other side.

How Recliner Riser Chairs Can Improve Lower Back Pain for Seniors

The stable base of a riser and recliner chair means elderly people can use them to safely perform these exercises, without worrying about losing their balance. However, a recliner riser chair can also tackle back pain in many other ways:

  • Sit with good posture by taking advantage of your chair’s sturdy back.
  • Reduce the risk of injury by using a rising seat base to get to your feet gently.
  • Recline to a neutral spine position and take the strain off your back.
Elderly couple sat in a riser recliner chair in their livingroom

Reach Out to Opera Beds

Reducing and improving back pain is just one of the several benefits of using a riser recliner chair in your daily routine. Whether you’re looking to target muscle stiffness, retain your independence or just make life a little easier, our expert team can assist you with finding the right chair for your lifestyle. Get in touch today!

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