The 5 Best Exercises for Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is one of the most common and debilitating conditions that physiotherapists see, but it doesn’t have to be. Often when we get a sore back the default for most people is to do… nothing. What we know about lower back pain is that pain is often disproportionate to the amount of tissue damage and the body’s systems become sensitised. As physiotherapists our job is to educate and prescribe an exercise based therapy. Funnily enough, this is the best evidence for relieving lower back pain! The following exercises are the top 5 picks to relieve lower back pain.

  1. Pelvic Tilts
    This exercise can be performed laying down, sitting or standing, depending on how irritable your lower back pain is. If your pain is very irritable then laying down may be the best position for you. This exercise is performed by tucking your pelvis under your tummy, tensing your glutes and making your back flat against the bed. The more you do, the better it will start to feel! Try 10-20 reps, 3-5 times per day.



  1. Knees Side to Side

Laying on your back with your feet close to your bottom, rotate your knees side to side to facilitate movement in a rotational plane. This exercise is also good for people with highly irritable lower back pain. Try 10-20 reps each side, 3-5 times per day.


  1. Child’s Pose

On your hands and knees gently rock back and forth from your starting position until you reach your end of range whether it be restricted by range of motion or pain. If it is restricted by pain, gently rock back and forth to your pain limit, the more you do the more you should feel it start to ease off! Try at least 15-20 reps, 3-5 times per day.


  1. Bridges

One of the most common causes for lower back pain is weak glutes! This exercise aims to strengthen these muscles. Start by laying on your back with your feet close to your bottom. Have your knees a fists width apart. Start by initiating the movement with a pelvic tilt, just like the one above, this will activate the glutes. Then push down through your heels and lift your pelvis towards the roof. Reverse the process on the way down. Try at least 10 reps, 2 times per day.


  1. Squats

Squats strengthen the whole body due to the postural demands they place on the body, making them the perfect exercise for lower back pain. Start with your feet shoulder width apart and feet pointing slightly outwards. Initiate the movement by shifting your bottom backwards and then begin to bend the knees. Make sure your knees are following your toes on the way down (don’t let them cave in), this will ensure your glutes are activated the whole way through the movement. Go to a depth you feel comfortable with and gradually try build your strength. Try at least 10 reps, 2 times per day.


The key to lower back pain is to keep moving, so feel free to move and move some more. Motion is lotion!

Ryan Barron


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