7 Core Exercises to Relieve Back and Hip Arthritis Pain

Your core muscles throughout your abdomen and back provide stability and balance for your entire body; keeping them strong and flexible protects and supports your joints, especially in the back and hips.

See Spinal Osteoarthritis Treatment and Hip Osteoarthritis Treatment

hip jointStrengthen your core muscles to stabilize and support your back and hip joints.
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Exercising with Arthritis

When you incorporate core-building exercises into your routine, you're training your body to rely more on the muscles to support your weight and movement, which can take pressure off painful joints. These 7 exercises can help you stretch and strengthen the core muscles of your body.

See Exercising with Arthritis

Remember: Muscle soreness is normal, but if you experience any sharp or severe pain, stop whatever exercise or activity you’re doing.

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Floor exercises for your core muscles

The following exercises will strengthen your lower back, abdominal, and/or pelvic floor muscles. Targeted exercises are useful for these muscle groups, because they may not get much use during daily activities.


1. Pelvic tilt

Pelvic tilt

This exercise involves a very slight internal movement that isolates and strengthens your core and pelvic floor muscles:

  • Lie on the floor with your knees bent, your feet placed on the floor parallel to each other, and your arms at your sides.
  • Tighten your lower abdominal muscles, sinking your abdomen downward toward your spine without using your buttock or leg muscles to help you. Your pelvis will tilt upward slightly during this movement, but it won’t leave the floor.
  • Hold this position for 5 seconds, then relax your muscles.
  • Do 5 to 10 repetitions.

2. Lying march

Lying march
  • Lie on your back on the floor, with knees bent and arms your sides.
  • Tighten your stomach muscles and slowly raise your leg 3 to 4 inches from the floor. Hold it for a few seconds, then slowly lower it to the floor.
  • “March” for 30 seconds by alternating legs for two to three repetitions.

3. Bridge

Bridge
  • Lie on your back on the floor, with knees bent and arms your sides.
  • Slowly raise the buttocks from the floor, until your body is straight from your knees to your shoulders.
  • Hold the bridge position for 8 to 10 seconds, then slowly lower to starting position.

4. Planking

Planking
  • Start with your hands and knees on the floor and your back straight.
  • Raise one leg off the floor and behind you, with the knee slightly bent and no arch in the back or neck.
  • Hold for 4 to 6 seconds, then slowly lower to starting position.
  • For a slightly more advanced exercise, raise one leg and the opposite arm at the same time. Hold for 4 to 6 seconds, then slowly lower to starting position.

Using an exercise ball to strengthen your core

The following 3 core exercises involve an exercise ball. You can find exercise balls at your gym or for sale in any store that sells sporting goods. Beginners may find it easier to use a slightly deflated ball.


5. Marching on the ball

Marching on the ball
  • Sit on the exercise ball with your feet in front of you shoulder-width apart and flat on the ground
  • Lift one heel while keeping your toes on the ground. (For a greater challenge, lift your whole foot off the ground.)
  • Hold that position for a few seconds and then put that foot back on the ground and switch to the other side. Repeat for 10 to 15 minutes.

6. Half crunch on the ball

Half crunch on the ball
  • Sit on the exercise ball with your feet flat on the floor and your arms crossed over your chest or on your hips.
  • Lean back at a 45-degree angle, bending at your hips and raising up on your toes without moving your feet.
  • Use your abdominal muscles to pull yourself back up into a sitting position without lifting your feet, rocking forward into a flat-footed position. Repeat 5 times.

7. Oblique crunch on the ball

Oblique crunch on the ball
  • Sit on the exercise ball with your feet flat on the floor and your arms raised straight overhead.
  • Lean back at a 45-degree angle, bending at your hips and raising up on your toes without moving your feet.
  • Hold this position and lower one arm at a time slowly toward your opposite knee.
  • Repeat 10 times on each side, alternating arms.

Print this out or email it to yourself so you can use these exercises as a reference when you're working out at home or in the gym.

Learn more:

Knee Strengthening Exercises

Self Care and Exercise to Treat Spine Osteoarthritis

Post written by Carrie DeVries