9 Exercises for Low Back Pain (Free PDF Download) (2024)



by Trent Thompson | July 20, 2021

9 Exercises for Low Back Pain (Free PDF Download) (1)

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Press Up | Alternate Bird Dog | Knee to Chest | Curl Ups | Pelvic Tilt | Glute Bridge | Hamstring Stretch | Hip Flexor Stretch | Wall Sit

Low Back Pain for Patients

The low back, which lies beneath your rib cage, is made up of 5 lumbar vertebrae. Most people will have experienced lower back pain as it is very common. It is the leading cause of missed work in the U.S. Luckily, it gets better over time with proper treatment. To be sure that you have a safe and speedy recovery, we put together an exercise strengthening routine that will take a lot of unwanted pressure off your lumbar spine.

This exercise program is not a substitute for seeing a Doctor, so if your low back pain doesn’t get better with time, we advise that you see your local chiropractor or physical therapist. From there, they will determine if further medical treatment is needed. If you’ve suffered an injury, such as a car accident, falling, or experience pain in your low back, you should consult a healthcare professional before attempting any exercises at home.

Common causes of low back pain include tight and/or weak muscles. Specifically, but not limited to, the gluteus, abdominals, and hip flexors. This exercise program includes strengthening exercises and stretches for these and surrounding muscles.

It is almost important to note that none of these exercises should hurt, you may experience discomfort, fatigue, or soreness, but if any exercises begin to hurt you stop performing them immediately.

The exercises listed may not help in the case of a slipped disc, a pinched nerve, or disc degeneration. If you can’t perform any exercises within this program without experiencing pain, we advise that you consult a chiropractor and/or physical therapist.

Exercises for low back pain reduction: increased flexibility and strength

All of the exercises listed are to be done with slow and steady movements and controlled breathing. Do only what you feel comfortable doing.

9 Exercises for Low Back Pain (Free PDF Download) (2)

1. Lie on your stomach. Support your body with your forearms.

2. Press your elbows down into the floor to raise your upper back. Relax your

stomach muscles, allowing your back to arch without using your back


3. Hold for 15-30 seconds, then relax.

4. Repeat 2-4 times.

2. Alternate bird dog

9 Exercises for Low Back Pain (Free PDF Download) (3)

1. Start on the floor, on your hands and knees.

2. Tighten your stomach muscles.

3. Raise one leg off the floor. Avoid allowing your hip to drop down.

4. Hold for about 6 seconds, then lower your leg and alternate legs.

5. Repeat 8 to 12 times on each leg.

6. Over time, increase the hold for up to 10-30 seconds.

7. If you feel stable while raising your leg, try raising your opposite arm straight

out in front of you at the same time.

3. Knee to chest

9 Exercises for Low Back Pain (Free PDF Download) (4)

1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.

2. Bring one knee to your chest, keeping the other foot flat on the floor

(or keeping the other leg straight, whichever feels

better on your lower back).

3. Keep your lower back pressed to the floor. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.

4. Relax and return to the first position.

5. Repeat with the other leg. Repeat 2 to 4 times with each leg.


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1. Lie on the floor on your back with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.

2. Cross your arms over your chest, or above your ears.

3. Contract your abdominal muscles raising your shoulder blades off the floor.

4. Keep your head in line with your body, and do not press

your chin to your chest.

5. Hold for 1 or 2 seconds, then slowly lower yourself back down to the floor.

6. Repeat 8 to 12 times.


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1. Lie on your back with your knees bent.

2. Tighten your abdominal muscles, imagine pulling your belly button toward

your spine. This will cause your back to press to the floor and your pelvis to rotate


3. Hold for 4-8 seconds. Concentrate on breathing smoothly.

4. Repeat 8-12 times.


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1. Start by laying on your back on the ground, keep your arms to your

side for support.

2. Pressing through your heels and gluteal muscles raise your

hips up off the ground until your shoulders, hips, and knees are all in a

straight line.

3. Hold this position for 6-10 seconds, breathing normally, and then return to a

resting position for up to 10 seconds.

4. Repeat 8-12 times.


9 Exercises for Low Back Pain (Free PDF Download) (8)

1. Lie on your back in a doorway or open area.

2. Either slide your leg up the wall or grab your thigh with your hands to

straighten your knee. You should feel a gentle stretch down the back of

your leg.

3. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds. Keep your belly muscles tightened to avoid

allowing your back to arch.

4. Repeat for your other leg. Do 2-4 times for each leg.


9 Exercises for Low Back Pain (Free PDF Download) (9)

1. Kneel on the floor, one leg bent, the other behind. Placing your forward

knee above your foot and keeping your other knee touching the floor, slowly

push your hips forward.

2. You should feel a stretch in the upper thigh of your rear leg.

3. Hold the stretch for at least 15-30 seconds. Repeat with your other leg.

4. Do 2-4 times.


9 Exercises for Low Back Pain (Free PDF Download) (10)

1. Stand upright with your back 10-12 inches away from a wall.

2. Lean into the wall and slowly slide down until your knees are slightly bent.

3. Press your lower back into the wall, keeping your entire back in contact with

the wall.

4. Hold for about 5-10 seconds, then slide back up the wall.

5. Repeat 8-12 times.

Additional Tips and Practices

This exercise program can help relieve low back pain, but to maximize the longevity of your relief you’ll want to look at your daily habits. Here are a few:

Posture: When you practice proper posture, you keep your bones and joints in alignment. This reduces stress on spinal ligaments and allows your muscles to work more efficiently.

Healthy Eating: Anti-inflammatory foods help alleviate back pain through soothing and reducing flare ups in your low back.

Exercise: Exercise can help alleviate low back pain, through strengthening your muscles to reduce stress, as well as increase blood flow to speed up the healing process.

Weight Loss: Maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight can help ease or prevent back issues, and help reduce stress on other joints as well.

Consistent Care: Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having any problems.

How Patient Exercises Helps Healthcare Professionals

Patient Exercises is an all inclusive exercise program builder that can be easily broken down into four modules that work together to help providers deliver better care.

Program Builder: Our easy to use program builder that enables you to pick and choose exercises beneficial to your patients recovery.

Patient Management: Manage all of your patients program notes, track progress, and keep EMR’s.

Exercise Video Library:Gain access to our inclusive digital library of hundreds of exercises.

Automated Communications: Never miss a beat. Our system automatically notifies your patients of changes to their program made by you.

Get Started

If you want to test some of the features available with Patient Exercises, you can sign up here. If you need help implementing changes like these in your practice or want to chat more about how Patient Exercises can benefit you, get in touch.

9 Exercises for Low Back Pain (Free PDF Download) (2024)


What is the single best exercise for lower back pain? ›

Lie down on your back with your legs extended. Bend one knee and bring it towards your chest, using your hands to gently grasp your shin or thigh. Hold the position for 15-30 seconds, feeling a gentle stretch in your lower back and hip. Maintain relaxed breathing throughout the stretch.

What is the best low impact exercise for low back pain? ›

Lower back rotational stretch

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor (A). Keep your shoulders firmly on the floor, and slowly roll your bent knees to one side (B). Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Slowly go back to the starting position (C).

How to decompress the lower back? ›

Start by lying on the side of your body, either on a couch or bed, with your knees bent and your heels stacked. Dip your shins down, off of the couch or bed. This should provide a sensation of your pelvis dropping to one side and a lower back stretch. Hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds.

Is walking the best exercise for lower back pain? ›

Walking is one of the best things you can do for your back, both to help relieve a current flare-up and prevent future pain episodes. We're not designed to be sedentary. Back muscles respond best when you use them regularly — and walking is a big part of that.

What are the top 3 exercises for back pain? ›

Exercises like glute bridging, clamshells, quadruped, and squats are key components of a good low back exercise routine. Hip flexor and hamstring flexibility play a role in reducing strain on the low back as well. Know the difference between “pain” and “strain”.

What drink helps back pain? ›

Also, drink healthy herb teas and true teas (green, oolong, and white). Experts say that olive oil, green tea, and brightly colored fruits and vegetables have all been shown to reduce inflammation in cartilage in the spinal column, which helps to control back pain and stiffness.

What is the strongest natural painkiller? ›

Endorphins are the body's natural painkillers. Released by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in response to pain or stress, this group of peptide hormones both relieves pain and creates a general feeling of well-being.

Is it better to sit or lay down with lower back pain? ›

You should lie down to relieve the pain, but the goal should be not to return to sitting, but rather to regain your ability to stand and move. "The goal isn't to get into the chair. The goal is to start moving. Walking is better than sitting," he says.

What is the best position to sleep in to decompress your spine? ›

Sleeping on your back, known as the supine position, offers several advantages for lower back pain relief. By lying flat on your back, the spine is naturally aligned, reducing stress on the back muscles and discs.

How to decompress your spine while sleeping? ›

Inclined back sleeping is another great option for decompression. In this position, you sleep on your back with a pillow between your torso and legs. This removes the pressure on your spine and suppresses lumbar spine injuries and sciatica symptoms.

Does walking decompress the spine? ›

Walking is an excellent low-impact exercise that can help relieve the symptoms of a compressed spine. It can help strengthen the back muscles and improve your posture, reducing the pressure on your spine. However, walking alone may not be enough to treat a compressed spine.

Is plank good for lower back pain? ›

Studies suggest that the plank is highly effective at activating the muscles responsible for spine stabilization. The exercise targets the entirety of your core, as well as strengthens your shoulders and glutes. Like the core, these muscles help improve posture, which can also help alleviate back pain.


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