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Physical therapy for lower back pain

Welcome to the physiogain community, here we are meeting with you again with an interesting topic, so today we will be talking about physical therapy for lower back pain (lumbago), lower back pain exercises, and physical therapy for lower back pain exercises, pt exercises for lower back pain.

Low back pain

Low back pain is becoming a serious concern for people nowadays, around 80% of an adult, experience low back pain sometime during their whole lifetime.

what is lumbago? go to this link – low back pain (lumbago)

There are multiple causes of lower back pain so that makes diagnosis a little harder for the doctor.


If you want to recover from back pain then staying active is the prior thing you should consider following.

Continue doing your day-to-day activities, resting too much could worsen the pain.

There are 3 subcategories:-

  • acute back pain – last for less than 2 weeks
  • sub-acute back pain – last for 2-6 weeks
  • chronic back pain – pain exists for more than 6 weeks

I will also be telling you later in the post about the physical therapy for lower back pain exercises but if your pain aggravates or become intense after doing exercises, then I recommend you to book an appointment with the physiotherapist and get proper professional treatment. 

Common causes of lower back pain

  • Muscle strain – low back muscle provides strength and mobility for doing your daily activities and overworked or weak muscles are likely to suffer from muscle strain.
  • Poor posture – your poor posture can be a great contributor to your low back pain as in some situations where we used to sit in a slouched position makes our muscle fatigue, joint compression, and stress on the disc. years of abuse of posture can make your muscle imbalance such as tightness and weakness.
  • Age – it is one of the major reasons behind low back pain because as we age our disc starts to degenerate (wear and tear) but this can be minimized with regular exercise, proper nutrition, proper lifting, body compression, and avoidance of smoking.
  • Ligament sprain – it provides stability to the spine and these can be injured because of sudden or powerful movement or prolonged stress.
  • Disc bulge – it is one of the famous causes of back pain. Herniation of the disc can put pressure on the nerve, which will radiate the pain down your leg. 
  • Other causes – of low back pain include kidney/bladder infection, endometriosis, ovarian problem, and many other problems which should not be ignored. If the person has back pain due to any fracture or any severe disease then I recommend you to immediately contact your doctor because it is not a case treated by physical therapy.


  • REST – take rest from intense activities and avoid being in one position for a longer period like sitting, bending, standing, heavy lifting, twisting, etc.
  • Ice – ice pad is applied to the painful area for 15 minutes after every 1-2 hours as it will help in reducing pain and spasm. Don’t apply a heating pad for the first 48 hours of the acute injury.
  • NSAIDs – a doctor may recommend taking anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, Aleve, Advil, ibuprofen, etc.
  • Exercise – proper exercise help in mobility and d stretching which will decrease the severity, recurrence of low back pain.
  • Ergonomics – making some adjustments in your environment while doing your day-to-day activities to make it more convenient and comfortable for the individual.

know more about ergonomics

ergonomic adjustments we made in our surrounding to make it more efficient for us.

Like how you prefer to sleep in your bed or the correct way to sleep in your bed

sleeping ergonomics

Doing some adjustments in your sleeping posture can help you ease your pain

  • it is necessary to confirm that your bed is firm enough to sleep comfortably and use a pillow for your head.
  • while sleeping on your back, put a pillow under your knees.
  • put a pillow between your thighs, if you sleep in a side-lying position.
  • put a folded towel under your waistline when you sleep in a side bent position.

This post is for educational purposes and if you are suffering from low back pain then it is necessary to diagnose the problem first before getting onto the treatment so I recommend you get the proper diagnosis of your problem.

before jumping on to physical therapy for lower back pain exercises, we need to understand some of the guidelines and advice while performing these exercises.

General advice to patients while exercising

  • Back exercises are very important because the muscle of your spine and abdomen contribute more to the stability of your spine than any brace or corset.
  • If you are suffering from chronic back pain then performing these exercises for 3 months can greatly reduce your back pain.
  • The main purpose of these exercises is to strengthen all the muscles of the spine and abdomen.
  • Do not continue doing exercises if your symptoms become worse immediately after exercising or if they remain worse the next day.
  • If any exercise produces or increases the pain below your knee, you should immediately stop doing that exercise and refer to a therapist for proper treatment.
  • It is okay to feel some pain in the initial days of starting these exercises because your body takes some time to adjust to your newly formed activities of yours.
  • If you are suffering from sciatica then start performing straight leg raising exercises as soon as possible and keep them doing.

Guidelines for lower back pain exercises

  • Do all these exercises on a padded or well-carpeted floor.
  • Doing all these exercises twice a day for at least 5 minutes, or one time is better than not at all.
  • Take a proper rest between each exercise.
  • Avoid jerky movements.
  • Do not strain
  • At first, you will feel uncomfortable doing these exercises but gradually they will become easy to do.
  • Swimming as an exercise is the best-suited one for pain relief.

Physical therapy for lower back pain exercises

‘splinting’ THE LUMBAR SPINE

Exercise 1 – the pelvic tilt

Physical therapy for lower back pain
  • Lie with your feet flat on the floor, knees bent and arms at your sides.
  • Firstly draw in your stomach (abdomen) firmly, and press your lumbar region against the floor by tightening and slightly raising your buttocks.
  • This will tilt the pelvic upward.
  • Hold count to seven – relax
  • Repeat 5 – 10 times

Exercise 2 – body flattener

Physical therapy for lower back pain
  • Adopt the same starting position as in exercise 1.
  • Then stretch (extend) your legs by extending your heels forwards while keeping your lumbar spine flat on the floor.
  • Your abdominal and back muscles should be tightened.
  • Hold – count to seven – relax
  • Repeat 5 – 10 times

Extension exercises

These exercises are usually used to strengthen your back muscles and for disc bulges. These exercises should be performed gently and carefully in a disc bulge situation.

Exercise 3 – buttock tightener

Physical therapy for lower back pain
  • Lie on your stomach or in the prone lying position.
  • Let your hand rest comfortably on your folded hands.
  • Try to tighten your buttocks muscles.
  • Hold – that position for 3 seconds – then relax
  • Repeat 5 – 10 times

Exercise 4 – back leg lift

Physical therapy for lower back pain
  • Lie on your stomach like in exercise 3.
  • While keeping your leg straight, try to lift it as far as possible.
  • Hold – for 3 seconds – then relax – then repeat with your other leg
  • Repeat 5 – 10 times

Exercise 5 – trunk lift

Physical therapy for lower back pain
  • Lie on your stomach or in the prone lying position.
  • Place your hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart on the floor and also at the shoulder level.
  • Try to lift up by extending your elbows – let your back sag
  • Hold – 3 seconds – relax
  • Repeat 5 – 10 minutes

Exercise 6 – back arch (standing extension)

Physical therapy for lower back pain
  • Stand straight with the feet hip-width apart and toes pointing straight ahead.
  • Put your hands on your back with the fingers pointing backward.
  • Breath in and out slowly and while breathing out, extend your back as far as you can and let your hands support your back.
  • Keep your knee extended or straight.
  • Hold – your lower back arched for 3 seconds – then return to a neutral position
  • Repeat ten times

Exercise 7 – the horizontal raise

Physical therapy for lower back pain
  • Lie down with your face facing downward and your abdomen and pelvis supported across a chair or table with suitable padding.
  • Ensure you are well balanced on that support.
  • Now try to raise your head, hands, and legs until your body is in a horizontal position (don’t go your horizontal level).
  • Hold – 3 seconds – relax
  • Repeat 5 – 10 times

Flexion exercises

Very effective for strengthening abdominal muscles.

Exercise 8 – chair exercise

low back exercise
  • Sit straight on the chair with feet hip-width apart.
  • Drop your head, shoulder, and arms between your legs by bending forward.
  • You as far as your can by letting your body fall freely but don’t force the bending motion.
  • Then return to the upright position, straighten up and relax.
  • Repeat 5 – 20 times

Exercise 9 – half sit-up

Physical therapy for lower back pain
  • Lie down on your back with your knees bent or flexed and feet flat on the floor.
  • Raise your head and shoulder as far as you can.
  • Bring them slowly down and relax
  • Repeat 5 – 10 times

Exercise 10 – knee to chest raise

knee to chest raise exercise
  • Lie flat on the floor on your back.
  • Bend one leg by grasping it with your hand just below the knee and also bend your head so that your head approaches the knee.
  • Hold for 3 seconds and then relax
  • Repeat the same movement with another leg ( 5 -10 times ).

Exercise 11 – straight leg raise

straight leg raise exercise
  • Lie down on your back and your arms at your side.
  • Raise one of the legs as far as you can and keep your leg straight or knees extended.
  • Keep raising until it is at the limit of pain.
  • Hold for 3 seconds
  • Repeat 5 – 10 times

Flexion and rotation exercises

Exercise 12 – straight leg swing

Physical therapy for lower back pain
  • Lie down on your back
  • Spread your hand out on either side.
  • Raise one of your legs as high as possible, keep the knee extended or leg straight.
  • While raising your leg, swing the leg from one side to the other in an arc.
  • Swing the leg on the side of your back where you feel pain for good relief.
  • Hold for 3 seconds.
  • Repeat 5 -10 times

Exercise 13 – pelvic roll or side roll

pelvic roll exercise
  • Lie down on your back.
  • Spread your hand out on either side.
  • Bend your knees and lift them in the air.
  • It’s better if someone pins your shoulder to the ground while doing this exercise.
  • After lifting your legs in the air, roll them from side to side.
  • Hold for 3 seconds
  • Repeat for 5 – 10 times

Flexion and extension exercises

Exercise 14 – the cat back

the cat back exercise Physical therapy for lower back pain
  • Assume in a kneeling position, resting on your hands and knees.
  • Arch your body (hunch) like a cat and drop your head at the same time.
  • Hold it for 7 seconds
  • Then reverse the arch position by bringing up your head and letting your back sag or extend.
  • Take a deep breath as you reverse the arch of your back.
  • Do this arch and sag of the back several times.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

  • exercises to do if your pain is eased by standing or lying.
  • exercises to do if your pain is eased by sitting.
  • what exercises to do if no position eases your pain.

Then go to this link – Low Back Pain: Exercises to Reduce Pain

Thank you for staying connected to us – Physiogain

If you guys have any query related to this article then ask me in comments below

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3 thoughts on “Physical therapy for lower back pain”

  1. Pingback: How to cure back pain fast at home -

  2. Pingback: lumbago (low back pain): a complete guide - Physiogain

  3. Thanks for elaborating on how doing physical therapy sessions could help you recover from back pain and improve your mobility. I recently heard that my friend’s in-law was hurt in a bicycle accident. I think they should try visiting one of these therapists for advice.

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