Patient Exercises


9 Exercises for Low Back Pain (Free PDF Download)

by Trent Thompson   |   July 20, 2021

Low Back Pain Cover Photo

Quick Links

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. 


Press-Up Stretch

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

Bird Dog Exercise

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

Knee to Chest Stretch

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.


Curl Up Exercise

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.


Pelvic Tilt

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.


Glute Bridge Exercise

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.


Hamstring Stretch

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.


Hip Flexor Stretch

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.


Wall Sit Exercise

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.


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