Back pain is the most common issue we see as physiotherapists and recently we featured a post on the 8 Top Tips to Relieve Lower Back Pain’ discussing simple everyday tips to help reduce your back pain. Exercises for lower back pain are something else that should be included regularly in your daily routine, particularly if you are experiencing pain or stiffness and as we start to get older. Exercises for lower back pain don’t have to take long, and like brushing your teeth twice a day to prevent problems, stretching and strengthening your back will benefit you into your 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond as the muscles lose strength and your spine loses flexibility. In this article, we cover 13 of the best exercises and stretches for lower back pain as decided by our team of experienced physiotherapists. 

13 Top Exercises and Stretches for Lower Back Pain

1. Knee to Chest

Knee To Chest

Laying on your back, gently pull your knees to your chest, holding for a second, then extending your arms back out straight. Hold for 20 seconds, repeat 5 repetitions, perform 3 times per day.

2. Knee Rotation

Knee Rotation

With your feet on the ground, bend your knees and gently move them from side to side in a windscreen wiper motion. This exercise for lower back pain works by gently rotating your lumbar spine. Rotate to each side 10 times. Perform 3 times per day.

3. Extensions


Laying on your stomach, gently press up and extend your lower back. Do not hold this, but repeat the movement 10 times, for 3 sets, three times per day. If this stretch feels too strong you can adjust it by resting on your forearms.

4. Lower back rotation

Lower Back Rotation

Tuck one foot behind the other knee, then gently pull your leg across. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds, repeat 5 times each leg, and perform 3 times per day.

5. Cat/Cow

Cat Cow
Exercises For Back Pain Cow

Start on your hands and knees, gently curve and flatten your mid back 20 times.

6. Child’s Pose

Exercises For Back Pain Childs Pose

Start with your knees apart and toes touching. Reach out in front of you and sit your bum back towards your heels. Hold this pose for 30 seconds, repeat 5 times.

7. Foam rolling

Foam Rolling

Foam rolling can be great part of exercises for lower back pain. Place the foam roller under your mid back, keep your backside on the ground, gently extend your spine backward. Hold for 30 seconds at a time.

8. Pelvic Tilts

Pelvic Tilts

Laying on your back, arch your lower back, then flatten it into the ground. Perform this 30 times.

9. Spiky ball roll on glutes

Spiky Ball Roll On Glutes

Use a spiky ball to roll out tight muscles in your buttock. Roll the ball around the fleshy part of your buttock for 30 – 60 seconds at a time.

10. Hip flexor stretches

Hip Flexor Stretches

This will stretch out the front of your hip, hold the stretch for 30 seconds, repeat 5 times each leg.

11. Piriformis stretches

Piriformis Stretches

This is a strong stretch for your backside, place your leg across over onto your other thigh in a figure four shape, and gently lower your buttock to the ground. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat each leg 5 times.

12. Thread the needle

Thread The Needle

In a similar position to downward dog but on your knees, reach your arm through to give your mid-back a stretch. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 5 times each side.

13. Hamstring stretches

Hamstring Stretches

Lay on your back, with one leg bent and one leg in the air with a stretch band around your foot. Hold for 30 seconds, repeat both legs 5 times.


Whilst these exercises for lower back pain should help it’s important to understand why the pain is occurring in the first place.

A physiotherapist will help determine the root cause of the problem and set out a specific program tailored to your needs to ensure you get the best outcomes for you.

Back pain can easily be put down to the ageing process and although there is some truth to that, the amount of stiffness you feel does not have to relate to how old you are.

As you age, the fluid that lubricates joints decreases, cartilage thins and muscles tighten, however there can be other factors at play when it comes to back pain and stiffness.

  • Dehydration can lead to stiff muscles. Muscles are active tissues, which means they’re the kind of tissue that require the most water in the body. So be sure to drink enough water.
  • Inactivity is another culprit leaving your muscles sedentary for a prolonged period (sleep, sitting in a chair, driving for hours etc.) can cause them to stiffen so try to keep moving.
  • Stress causes our bodies to tighten up with prolonged stress leading to a tight posture and strain on the muscles.

I hope you’ve found this information useful. If you’d like to know more about how we can help, give us a call at your nearest practice.