Seven Exercises to Alleviate Your Low Back Pain

Disclaimer: These spinal exercises are a great way to maintain a healthy low back. You should not use these exercises to self-diagnose or treat conditions of the spine. If you are experiencing lower back or leg pain, or have a health condition that limits physical activity or exercise, it is best to consult a healthcare professional such as your medical doctor, chiropractor or physical therapist before performing these exercises to ensure. Please use common sense and use these exercises with good discretion.

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Knees to Chest

Begin lying flat on your back. With knees bent, gradually bring your knees towards your chest. Grab hold of your knees and draw them closer to your chest, providing a gentle and comfortable stretch. Hold this position for 2-3 seconds before releasing and returning to the start position. If this position causes pain in your low back or legs, simply limit how high you draw your legs towards your chest to the point of initial discomfort. Repeat 10 times.

Neutral Position

Draw Knees to Chest

Lumbar Roll

Starting lying flat on your back. With knees bent, gradually allow your knees to roll to either side while keeping your upper back and shoulders flat on the floor. Hold this position for 2-3 seconds. Finish the exercise by swinging your knees to the opposite side while maintaining your upper body on the floor. Again, hold this position for 2-3 seconds. If this position causes pain in your low back or legs, simply limit how far you allow your legs to fall to either side to the point of initial discomfort. Repeat 10 times.

Roll Hips to Right

Roll Hips to Left

Glute Bridge

This exercise is great for strengthening your hip or “glute” muscles. Begin this exercise lying flat on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Press upwards with your hips to lift your pelvis towards the ceiling. Hold this position 2-3 seconds. Gradually lower your  buttocks back to the floor to begin the exercise again. Repeat 10 times.

Start Position

Bring Hips Up Towards Ceiling

Cat-Camel (or Cat-Cow)

Strengthen your lumbar spine and core by performing this exercise. Begin in a neutral position on your hands and knees with arms and legs perpendicular to the floor (90°), head looking towards the floor. Gradually draw your back upwards toward the ceiling (like an arching cat). Hold this position for 2-3 seconds before returning to the neutral position. Finish the exercise by pressing your belly towards the floor while exhaling. Hold this position for 2-3 seconds before returning to the neutral position. Repeat 10 times.

Neutral – Knees and Arms at 90°

Cat – Arch Upper Back

Camel/Cow – Press Belly Towards Floor

Lumbar Extensions

Perform this stretch to help restore your lumbar curvature and alleviate low back stiffness. Begin standing in a neutral position, feet shoulder width apart with thumbs or palms placed across the low back. Gently bend backwards, arching your low back, until a gentle stretch is obtained. Hold for 1-2 seconds, then return to neutral position. If low back or leg pain is noted, limit your backwards stretch to the point at which your pain begins. Repeat this stretch 10 times. If you are prone to falling or have balance issues, make sure to perform this stretch with a soft chair, bed or couch directly behind you in case you lose balance and need to sit suddenly.

Neutral – Hands Across Low Back

Gently Glide Backwards – Press With Hands Forward

Hip Lunges

Against a wall, begin with your right foot forward and right hand against the wall. Stand approximately shoulder width away from the wall. With your left hand over the left hip, begin the stretch by gently drawing your right knee towards the wall. Keep your upper body upright. Press gently into the left hip as you glide gently towards the wall. Hold this position for 2-3 seconds, repeating 10 repetitions. Conclude the exercise by switching sides, placing left palm on the wall, left foot forward, right leg back and right hand over right hip. Perform 10 repetitions on the left side.

Neutral Position – Right Leg Forward

Glide Forward, Keep Back Upright

Neutral Position – Left Leg Forward

Glide Forward, Keep Back Upright

Chair Squats

This exercise is great for strengthening your hip muscles. Perform this exercise in a wall corner or at your dining room table, placing a chair directly behind you. Begin the exercise in a standing position with arms outstretched towards the wall or table in front of you, feet spaced shoulder width apart. Gradually lower your buttocks towards the chair while keeping your low back upright. Do not round out your low back. Gently touch down onto the edge of the chair seat. Immediately return to the standing position. Repeat this exercise 10 times, 3 to 5 times daily.

Hands on Wall, Shoulder Width from Wall

Slowly Lower Yourself, Lightly Touch Chair