Back Exercises


Exercises for Low Back Pain

The closer your pain is to your spine, the better. (e.g. the pain is better in your knee than in your foot).
An increase in your low back pain can be expected with these exercises. This is acceptable as long as your leg symptoms are not increasing.

Stop the exercise and let your doctor or therapist know right away if you have either of these problems:

Any change in your bowel or bladder control.
Any increase in weakness in your leg or foot.

If your pain returns:

Adjust your posture. If no improvement, begin your exercises.


Keep your back and buttocks relaxed and use your arms to press up. Concentrate on keeping your hips down and push up your upper body as high as possible.

Double Knee to Chest

Grasp both your knees with your hands and pull toward your shoulders. Hold the stretch for 1 second. Let your knees return, but keep them bent at arms length.

Lumbar Spine Stretches

Lie on your back. Bring your knees towards your chest. Rotate your knees towards the pain.

Side Lying Rotation

Lie on your side and face forward. Have both arms straight in front and bend your knees. Turn your head as you move your top arm across your body as far as you can. Keep your arm in place and turn your head back to the starting position. Look back again and turn your head farther if you can. Bring your head and arm back to the starting position. Relax and repeat 10 times on each side.

Hamstring Stretch

Lie on your back with your legs out straight. Raise your leg up and put your hands around the upper leg for support. Slowly straighten the raised knee until you feel a stretch in the back of the upper leg. Hold, then relax and repeat 10 times on each leg.

Standing Arch

Stand with your feet apart and hands on the small of your back with fingers pointing backwards. Bend backwards at the waist, supporting the trunk with your hands. Keep your knees straight. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

Side Glides

Stand at a right angle to the wall about 2 feet out from the wall. Lean your shoulder into the wall. Move your hips toward the wall, keeping your legs together and your knees straight. Return to the starting position.