4 Best Exercise Machines for Lower Back Pain

Best Exercise Machines for Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is one of the most common types of pain experienced by adults. A reported 25% of adults in the United States shared that they have experienced an acute lower back pain in the past 3 months alone. According to the CDC, a survey in 2019 noted that general back pain is the most common form of pain in adults. Needless to say, back pain is a common and uncomfortable issue for so many. 

While the cause of back pain will vary from person to person, there is some good news! Depending on the severity and your particular situation, there are some things that you can do to help ease back pain and discomfort. Of course, consulting with your doctor is the first thing you should always do before trying to alter or change your routine with pain or an injury. Once you’ve done that, there are all kinds of stretches and exercises that can strengthen your back, but can certain workout machines help as well?

Before we look at the best exercise machines for lower back pain, let’s look at the benefits of strengthening your back and why that is important!

Benefits of Strengthening Your Back 

Best Exercise Machines for Lower Back Pain

Reduce Back Pain

Many of the best exercise machines for lower back pain listed below will definitely help with strengthening your back, which will help to ease and prevent some of your back pain. While only your doctor will know what is best for you and your back situation, we have found that strengthening your back (and your core muscles) can help.

Prevent Back Pain and Injuries

Building a strong back can also help in preventing further back pain, discomfort and injuries. So, if you get to a point when your lower back pain subsides, you can continue to use your exercise machines or specific back workouts in order to keep the pain away!

Stabilize Spine

A lot of back issues stem from the spine. Having a stable spine eases some of the stress off your back and can improve how your body and back feel overall. By strengthening your back, you may also find that your spine is more stabilized

Improve Posture

While we center most of this article around the best exercise machines for lower back pain and how to reduce back pain, there are other positive side effects to working out and strengthening your back muscles. By doing so, you may also find that your posture is improving. Strengthening your lower back can have the biggest impact on a better posture.

Ellipticals For Lower Back Pain 

Best Exercise Machines for Lower Back Pain

Ellipticals are known for their low-impact nature while still providing a significant source of cardio. In essence, ellipticals are stationary workout machines that allow you to use your upper body with the handles, along with the smooth movements of your lower body with the gliding foot pedals. 

There are many benefits to owning or using ellipticals. They are a great, low-impact form of cardio, and they have been found to be just as effective as a treadmill or stationary bike. They can help you with balance by strengthening your core, and like other forms of cardio, they are excellent for your heart health and burning calories! 

Recommended for Back Pain? 

Ellipticals are actually one of the most recommended machines for people who have back pain or back issues. One of the main reasons people who struggle with back pain prefer ellipticals is because of its low impact nature. That pressure and impact from constantly hitting the ground with running can reverberate up to your back and joints, causing more discomfort. But, because you are doing more of a gliding motion with an elliptical, your feet aren’t hitting the ground each time you move. This can help ease and prevent unwanted discomfort when compared with regular running.

Cost 

As with any piece of workout equipment you’re looking to invest in, there are a variety of prices depending on your needs, wants, and budget. You can find ellipticals ranging from $200 to $10,000, however, you can easily find good quality ellipticals under $1,000 that will have some excellent features, be a sturdy piece of equipment, and get you the results you need. 

Enough Space

If you’re considering investing in an elliptical because you feel it is the best exercise machine for your lower back pain, then you’ll definitely need to make sure that you have a suitable spot and enough space to house it. Unlike treadmills, most ellipticals do not fold up. While every elliptical is different, we’ve found most of them to be around 60-70 inches long and about 2 feet wide. 

Another thing to consider is the weight of the elliptical. Depending on if you live in an apartment or if you’re wanting it to be in an upper level of your house, they can get pretty heavy to carry upstairs. On average, they typically weigh between 100-150 pounds. So, if you live in a place where you’ll need to take it upstairs, make sure you have a friend to help! 

Treadmills For Back Pain

Best Exercise Machines for Lower Back Pain

Like ellipticals, treadmills offer a multitude of health benefits. They offer varying speeds and inclines that allow you to customize your workout while avoiding the outdoor elements of extreme temperatures and variable weather. 

You may not immediately think that a treadmill is going to be one of the best exercise machines for lower back pain. Often, we associate treadmills with running, but as I mentioned above, running isn’t exactly the best exercise if you are experiencing back pain. Walking, however, is an excellent form of exercise for people who experience back pain. 

Are Treadmills Recommended for Back Pain?

Walking has been associated with stabilizing the spine, strengthening the core, and improving your posture, all of which can help ease back pain. Not to mention, low-impact cardio has been found to reduce the amount and frequency of back pain for people, and walking on a treadmill is just that.

When walking on treadmills, you are on a more stable and predictable surface, which will help if your back is very sensitive. Also, most treadmills come with a padded deck that are lower impact than walking on concrete or asphalt. Definitely a great alternative to walking outside on the hard sidewalk!

How To Begin Walking With a Treadmill

If you’ve never walked on a treadmill before, the best strategy is to take things slow. Be sure to read your manual and examine your treadmill fully to understand how to use the emergency stop (most have a key in the middle) and all the other features like incline and speed. 

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the treadmill, always start slow. I mean that both in terms of speed and everything else. Maybe walk at a 2.0 pace for 5-10 minutes a day and slowly increase your speed and endurance. Personally, I would suggest holding off on incline and not going above a 4.0 until you really have the hang of using a treadmill. 

Treadmills Cost

If you feel a treadmill is the best exercise machine for lower back pain and you’re considering purchasing one, know that they can vary in price just as much as an elliptical. Treadmill prices can range anywhere from $150 up to $15,000. 

You can easily find reliable treadmills for under $1,000. However, if you have a higher budget and want more “bells and whistles”, you can also find amazing treadmills for under $2,000

Treadmill Space Consideration

If you’re limited on space, a treadmill may be a better option than an elliptical. Treadmills need at least an area that is 64 inches long and 24-28 inches wide to be used properly in your home or apartment, but many can easily fold up when you’re not using them. Some even have wheels that allow you to store them in one place and move them to another.

Exercise Bikes for Back Pain

There are two main types of exercise bikes–recumbent and upright. With recumbent exercise bikes, you are seated with the pedals out in front of you. Usually, there is a cushioned seat and back for added support. Conversely, an upright exercise bike is more like a traditional bicycle with a smaller seat and the pedals located directly under you. 

Exercise Bikes Recommended for Back Pain? 

Exercise bikes provide a low stress workout that offers benefits that can help people that suffer from lower back pain. One such benefit is that they provide a gentle low impact workout. In addition, exercise bikes help to strengthen major muscle groups that help with back support.  

Recumbent Exercise Bike

Best Exercise Machines for Lower Back Pain

As mentioned above, recumbent exercise bikes allow you to sit back with the pedals in front of you. This form of bike will actually be best for folks who have lower back problems because of the additional support the seat and the backrest will provide. 

Bikes are typically more affordable and smaller exercise machines for lower back pain than ellipticals and treadmills. You can easily find high quality recumbent exercise bikes under $500 for lower back pain.

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Upright Exercise Bike

Best Exercise Machines for Lower Back Pain

Manufacturers model upright exercise bikes after an actual road biking experience. Because of this, you will need a stronger core to stay upright, and some people with lower back pain may find the bicycle seat and hunching over to reach the handlebars a little uncomfortable. However, it’s still a significant form of low-impact cardio and will strengthen your leg, back, and core muscles. 

While you will definitely have an easier time finding an affordable option, just like with the recumbent bikes, these upright exercise bikes range from hundreds to several thousand dollars, depending on the features you desire.

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