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Lower Back Stretches

Exercises > Flexibility (Joints) > Lower Back Stretches


The following lower back stretches are designed to restore flexibility to the joints and muscles of the lower back. If you are injured, you should discuss the suitability of these lower back stretches with your physiotherapist prior to beginning them. Generally, they should be performed 3 times daily provided they do not cause or increase pain.

Lower Back Stretches Basic Exercises

Rotation in Lying 

Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat and together. Gently take both knees from side to side as far as possible pain-free (figure 1). Repeat 10 - 20 times.

Lower Back Stretches - Rotation in Lying

Figure 1 Rotation in Lying

Prone on Elbows 

Begin lying on your stomach, then gently prop yourself up onto your forearms, keeping your back relaxed (figure 2). Hold for 2 seconds, then slowly lower yourself down flat. Repeat 10 times provided the exercise is pain-free.

Lower Back Stretches - Prone on Elbows

Figure 2 Prone on Elbows

Knees to Chest 

Lie on your back, knees bent. Take both knees towards your chest using your hands until you feel a mild to moderate stretch, pain-free (figure 3). Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.

Lower Back Stretches - Flexion in lying

Figure 3 Knees to Chest

Side Flexion in Standing 

Begin standing tall, back straight, hands by your sides. Gently lean to one side, sliding your hand down the outside of your thigh as far as possible pain-free (figure 4) . Repeat 10 times to each side.

Lower Back Stretches - Lateral Flexion

Figure 4 Side Flexion in Standing

Lower Back Stretches Advanced Exercises

Extension in Lying 

Begin lying on your stomach with your hands in the press up position as demonstrated (figure 5). Gently straighten your elbows, letting your back fall into an arch. Keep your back relaxed. Straighten your elbows as far as possible pain-free. Repeat 10 times.

Lower Back Stretches - Extension in Lying

Figure 5 Extension in Lying

More Advanced Exercises

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Less Common Exercises

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Other Lower Back Exercises


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Lower back stretches are a vital component in the rehabilitation of most lower back injuries and can help to restore flexibility to the joints, muscles and soft tissue of the lower back. Lower back flexibility exercises can also be performed proactively to prevent injury and enhance activity or sporting performance. You should discuss the suitability of any new exercise regime with your physiotherapist prior to commencement.

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