Top 5 Exercises for Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is the most common complaint that we see at Surrey Physio. It is extremely prevalent across the UK and the World. It is a massive cause of disability, time off work, and pain. It can be incredibly painful and very debilitating. It is estimated that up to 80% of people will experience lower back pain at some point in their lives. Lower back pain is typically accompanied by pain and discomfort, but there are a variety of treatments available to alleviate these symptoms.

Lower back pain is frequently caused by an injury to the discs or facet joints in the lumbar spine. There can also be strains to the muscles of the spine (although these are less common). Ligaments can also be sprained, and a very common cause of low back pain is degenerative changes in the spine (known as lumbar spondylosis, and degenerative disc disease being two examples).

With lower back pain being so prevalent, many people have tried to identify the cause of why it occurs. There are many theories ranging from repetitive forward bending, poor posture, slouching, sedentary lifestyles, genetic weaknesses, being bipedal, a general lack of fitness, obesity, poor nutrition, and weakness in the core. Basically, there are many theories, and often many contributing factors. However, there is no typical patient – back pain can affect the fit, healthy, active patient, as well as the deconditioned patient.

Modifications to one's lifestyle are also crucial in the treatment of low back pain. This may involve getting sufficient rest, reducing stress, and avoiding activities that place an excessive amount of strain on the back. Additionally, it is useful to maintain a healthy weight and exercise gently.

The purpose of treatment is to decrease pain and increase mobility. In severe cases, surgery may be required in addition to physical therapy, medication, and lifestyle adjustments. Physical therapy focuses on exercises and stretches that can strengthen and stretch the back's muscles, improve flexibility, and expand range of motion. To reduce inflammation and pain, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), muscle relaxants, and corticosteroids may be prescribed. As physios, we’re generally not so keen on the use of medications as long-term options. Getting healthy, exercising and strengthening your back are the preferred ways to improve following back pain.

At Surrey Physio we perform manual therapy, electrotherapy and prescribe exercise therapy for patients. This combination seems to work very well for us, and the majority of our patients get better.

Surgical intervention is rarely needed, but may be advised if the pain persists despite these treatments. To repair herniated discs, remove bone spurs, or fuse vertebrae, surgery may be performed. However, surgery is typically recommended only when all other treatment options have failed and the pain is severe, especially in the cases of unresolved and severe sciatica or nerve compression in the back.

Top 5 Exercises for Early-Stage (Acute) Sciatica

1. Lumbar Rotation: Lie on a bed or floor. Bend your knees and keeping your feet flat on the bed or floor, rotate your hips to one side creating a rotation through your lower back. Only go as far as feels comfortable, you do not need to get your knees to the floor. Return to the opposite side. This is an excellent lower back mobility exercise, especially if you have acute lower back pain or disc problems.

2. Child’s Pose: Kneel down on the mat, and rest your buttocks on your heels. As you keep your buttocks on your heels, roll forwards and slide your arms forward creating a gentle stretch and lengthening in your back.

3. Side Flexion: Stand up straight, and bend to the side by running your hand down the outside of your leg. Keep the movement slow and fluid. Repeat to the opposite site. This is a good mobility exercise for the lower and upper back.

4. hair Rotation: Sitting in an upright position, rotate your upper body by moving your hand towards the opposite side of the chair back-rest. You can let the head follow, but progress by keeping the head straight forwards, thus making the rotation stronger. This is a great exercise to do while sitting for long periods of time if you feel your back is getting stiff.

5. Superman: Lie on your front, and lift your opposite arm and leg, keeping them straight. Hold this position, and then relax. This exercise helps to arch your lower back (to create what is known as a lumbar lordosis) while strengthening the lower back and buttock muscles.

Lower back pain can be a debilitating condition that restricts a person's ability to engage in daily activities. There are fortunately numerous treatments available to reduce pain and enhance mobility. However, it is essential to consult your physician to determine the most effective treatment for you.

If you are a therapist and like the exercises and information in this document, please go to and sign up to this amazing exercise prescription software. If you are a patient and need some advice, treatment or a consultation, please go to We provide virtual and face-to-face appointments with our expert team.

If you want to buy any equipment seen on these articles, please go to