Exercises for Back Pain
If you’re suffering with back pain, the following exercises can help in reducing pain and promoting recovery. As always, if your pain is severe, or significantly affecting your normal activities, a full clinical examination from your GP or Chartered Physiotherapist is advisable. We would also recommend you read our Information Guide on Back pain. Please stop any exercise that causes intense pain.
Back stretch (stretches back muscles)
Lie on your back. Bend your knees and, keeping your feet on the floor, roll your knees to one side, slowly. Stay on one side for 10 seconds. Repeat 5 times each side.
NB. Upper knee should be directly above lower knee when legs move to side
Deep lunge (stretches muscles in front of thigh and abdomen)
Stand in a stride position. Gently lean forwards over your front knee, ensuring you keep looking forwards. Gently move the hip of your back leg forwards to feel a stretch in the front of the leg and stomach. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 3 times each side.
Thigh stretch (front of leg)
Steady yourself with one hand on something for support. Bend one leg up behind you. Hold your foot for 10 seconds and repeat 3 times each side.
Thigh stretch (back of leg)
Steady yourself, then put one leg, straight up on a swiss ball, chair, or any other support which isn’t too high. Bend the other knee and lean forwards to stretch the hamstrings. Keep looking forwards. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 3 times each side. Note: if you suffer with pain travelling the whole length of your leg from your back, this exercise should be avoided until you seek the opinion of your GP or health professional.
Knee to chest (stretches muscles of bottom – gluteals)
Lie on your back. Bring one knee up and pull it gently into your chest for 10 seconds. Repeat for up to 3 times each side.
Lie down with your knees bent. Tighten your stomach muscles, flattening your back against the floor. Hold for 10 seconds but don’t hold your breath. Repeat 10 times.
Stomach tone (‘transverse tummy’)
Lie on your front with arms by your side, head on one side or alternatively rest your head in your hands. If you prefer, you can place a pillow under your tummy. Pull in your stomach muscles, centred around your tummy button. Hold for 10 seconds. Don’t hold your breath. Repeat 10 times. Try to repeat during the day, while walking or standing. Keep breathing during this exercise!
Deep stomach muscle tone
Kneel on all fours with a small curve in your lower back. Let your stomach relax completely. Pull the lower part of your stomach upwards so that you lift your back (without arching it) away from the floor. Hold for 10 seconds. Keep breathing! Repeat 10 times.
Kneel on all fours with your back straight. Tighten your stomach. Keeping your back in this position, raise one arm in front of you and hold for 10 seconds. Try to keep your pelvis level and do not rotate your body. Repeat 10 times each side. To progress, try lifting one leg behind you instead of your arm.
Please stop any exercise that causes intense pain. If your back pain is persisting despite all of the above, then please feel free to get in touch with us as you will likely require and benefit from a physiotherapy assessment and specific recommended treatments.
With thanks to Rehabmypatient for permission to use their exercise images.