women doing pilates to combat back pain

How to Combat Lower Back Pain When Bending: A Pro’s Guide

Eager to know how to Combat Lower Back Pain When Bending? You're NOT alone!

It's more common than you might think, and as a fellow back pain sufferer, I’ve seen it all - whether struggling to pick up something as simple as a pencil - OR as heavy as a barbell- it all boils down to 9 main causes...

In this packed guide, I'll walk you through the causes, prevention strategies, and treatments that have worked wonders for my patients (rest assured!).

So keep reading to uncover my secret to preventing this pain and tools for a healthy, solid & supple back!

Key Takeaways

  • Proper Posture is Paramount: Maintaining a neutral spine, especially sitting or lifting, is critical in preventing lower back pain.
  • Holistic Approaches Can Help: From physical therapy exercises to mindfulness meditation, various non-pharmacological options exist to manage and reduce pain.
  • Consult a Healthcare Professional: If you experience persistent pain, discuss this with a healthcare professional who will diagnose the issue and develop a personalized treatment plan.

How To Combat Lower Back Pain When Bending: 9 Reasons It Hurts

Bending can significantly strain the lower back, potentially exacerbating conditions like herniated discs, which irritate nerves and may cause leg weakness or numbness.

This is where tools like a sports back support belt can come in handy, offering additional support during physical activities.

Muscle spasms and injuries from repetitive motions or overstretching are also common.

A timely medical consultation is crucial in preventing the condition from worsening. Here are nine common reasons:

#1 Herniated Discs

Your spine consists of 23 discs.

A herniated disc results when one of these protrudes and irritates a nearby nerve. This condition often involves not just pain but also muscle weakness or numbness in the legs.

#2 Muscle Spasms

These sudden, painful tightenings of muscles might be triggered by strain, injury, poor posture, wrong sleeping positions, nerve pressure, or dehydration.

Remedies may include massages, warm/cold compresses, stretches, or OTC pain relievers.

#3 Back Injury

Bending, especially during routine activities like lifting, strains the lower back. Repeated motions can lead to muscle strain.

Overstretching can also induce muscle and ligament spasms, which are pretty painful.

An inflamed lower back can result in discomfort during movement and rest alike. For minor strains, rest, ice, and heat application are often beneficial.

However, persistent pain might require a physician's consultation and potentially anti-inflammatory medications.

#4 Arthritis

Did you know that arthritis is more than just a joint issue?

It’s a leading cause of work disability, affecting 58.5 million adults in the United States, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Check out these facts [1].

As you age, the cartilage safeguarding your joints wears down.

This wear and tear, especially in ankylosing spondylitis, can target your lower back, causing chronic pain and, in severe cases, resulting in spinal bones fusing.

#5 Sciatica

This results from pressure exerted by a herniated disc on the sciatic nerve, causing pain that radiates from the back down to the legs.

#6 Spondylolysis

This condition involves a weakness or stress fracture in a vertebra, common among physically active adolescents.

#7 Spondylolisthesis

Related to spondylolysis, this occurs when a stress fracture causes a vertebra to slip out of place.

#8 Emotional and Psychological Stress

According to the American Institute of Stress, "People under chronic stress are more susceptible to viral illnesses like the flu and the common cold, as well as other infections. [2]"

Believe it or not, your mental health directly connects to your physical well-being. Chronic stress, anxiety, and depression lead to tension in your muscles, including those in your lower back.

When you’re under stress, your muscles tend to contract and tighten.

Maintaining this tense state over a prolonged period can result in back pain, which can intensify when you bend over.

Biofeedback, meditation, and other relaxation techniques can effectively reduce stress and alleviate the associated back pain.

#9 Sedentary Lifestyle and Poor Posture

The modern work environment often entails hours of sitting (for example, spending hours sitting at a desk), and this sedentary lifestyle can wreak havoc on your back, especially when accompanied by poor posture.

Sitting for prolonged periods without proper lumbar support strains the lower back. When this is your day-to-day, bending over can elicit a twinge of pain or discomfort.

Making it a point to stand, stretch, and walk regularly throughout the day and setting up an ergonomic workstation can help mitigate this pain.

A 2015 study in the Annals of Internal Medicine discovered that sitting for protracted periods can lead to many health issues, including cardiovascular diseases and back pain, regardless of physical activity levels [3].

Acknowledging these potential reasons for your lower back pain is a vital first step. Now, let's explore the alternative and complementary therapies that can provide relief.

6 Alternative & Complementary Therapies for Lower Back Pain When Bending Over

Bending over shouldn't be a trigger for pain, but it’s a regular source of discomfort for many.

This problem can stem from various issues – strained core muscles, inflamed facet joints, or several medical conditions affecting the spine.

Fortunately, a range of alternative and complementary therapies can offer relief.

1. Yoga and Pilates

These practices strengthen your core muscles and promote flexibility, which is essential for maintaining a neutral position in your spine.

2. Acupuncture

A traditional form of Chinese medicine, acupuncture can potentially provide relief for chronic pain, including lower back pain.

This is done by inserting thin needles at specific points on your body. Surprisingly, not only is this approach believed to stimulate the body's natural painkillers but also to enhance blood flow.

3. Chiropractic Care

For those with lower back pain when bending, a chiropractor may offer relief through spinal adjustments that aim to improve spinal function and alleviate stress on the spinal cord and nerves.

Before pursuing this, it is essential to have a detailed medical history and consult with a healthcare professional.

4. Massage Therapy

This is not merely a luxury spa treatment.

It is a powerful tool for relaxing tense muscles, improving blood flow, and promoting pain relief, primarily when lower back pain is related to muscle tension due to poor posture over extended periods.

5. Physical Therapy

A physical therapist can create a program specifically for your pain points.

This includes exercises that strengthen the core muscles and hip hinge movement patterns, reducing the strain on spinal joints when you bend.

6. Mind-Body Techniques

Meditation and biofeedback can help you become more aware of your body and make controlled, healthy movements.

They can also help manage nerve pain by promoting relaxation and stress reduction, which is particularly beneficial if your lower back pain worsens with stress.

Always consult with a healthcare professional, and approach new treatments cautiously, but know that relief is possible and a pain-free future can be within reach.

Check out this video for a yoga breathing technique that can further assist in relieving your lower back pain: Yoga Breathing | Alternate Nostril Breathing - YouTube

NEXT: get ready to learn more answers to your common questions (scroll down!)...

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What exercises are safe for lower back pain?

Gentle stretches, core strengthening exercises, and low-impact aerobic activities like swimming or walking are generally safe and beneficial.

2. Can a chiropractor help with lower back pain when bending over?

A chiropractor may provide relief through spinal adjustments and other treatments. It's essential to ensure the chiropractor is licensed and to discuss your situation with a healthcare professional first.

3. Is heat or cold better for relieving lower back pain?

Initially, cold packs can reduce inflammation, while heat can relax the muscles and improve circulation.

4. How long does it typically take for a lower back strain to heal?

Recovery time varies but usually spans up to a month, depending on the severity.


Learning how to Combat Lower Back Pain When Bending is a common need among adults, often because of muscle strain or disc displacement.

Most cases can improve with rest, hot/cold treatments, and massages. Persistent or worsening pain, however, necessitates medical attention.

Numerous treatment options can help restore your normal range of motion, many of which do not involve surgery.

What are your experiences with lower back pain? How do you manage it? Share your insights below!


1. Arthritis [Internet]. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2019. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/factsheets/arthritis.htm

2. Batson J. What is Stress? [Internet]. The American Institute of Stress. 2022. Available from: https://www.stress.org/daily-life

3. Annals of Internal Medicine Publishes 2015 “Updates” in Internal Medicine | ACP Online [Internet]. www.acponline.org. 2016 [cited 2023 Aug 15]. Available from: https://www.acponline.org/acp-newsroom/annals-of-internal-medicine-publishes-2015-updates-in-internal-medicine

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