Exercises for Lower Back Pain

Our Chiropractors from Bristol Chiropractic Clinic have put together a list of exercises you can do at home to help with your Lower Back Pain.

1. Side Bridge

Starting Position: Lie on your side, propped up on your forearm. Bend your bottom knee and straighten your top leg. Your bottom knee and elbow should be in line with each other.


Action: Raise your hips up and forward until your knees, hips and shoulder are aligned and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat twice more on this side and then do the same on the other side. You can also perform this with your lower knee on the floor or both knees stacked


Progression: Increase the holding time for each repetition to 20 seconds and increase the number of repetitions to 5-10 on each side.

2. Bridge

Begin this hip strengthening exercise lying on your back in the position demonstrated. Slowly lift your bottom pushing through your feet, until your knee, hip and shoulder are in a straight line. Tighten your bottom muscles (gluteals) as you do this. Hold for 2 seconds and repeat 10 times. Add on repetitions of 10 as you get stronger. 

Increase challenge by performing single leg bridges. 

3. Hip Abduction with Band (Standing)

Starting Position: Standing with pelvis level and feet under hips side on to a wall or door with something to fix the resistance band to if possible. Loop one end of the band around the outside ankle. If this isn’t possible use a smaller band and position it around both ankles. 

Action: Slowly abduct the outer leg feeling for the muscles in your pelvis to switch on, hold for 10 seconds at the end and then return to standing. Throughout this movement keep your pelvis level. Repeat 10 times per side.  

Progression: Increase the holding time for each repetition to 20 seconds and increase the number of repetitions to 15-20 on each side.


4. Side Lying Hip Abduction

Starting Position: Lie on your side. Either bend your bottom leg or have it straight and straighten your top leg.  

Action: Raise your upper leg slowly and hold for 10 seconds at the top. Repeat 10 times per side and then do the same on the other side.  

Progression: Increase the holding time for each repetition to 20 seconds and increase the number of repetitions to 15-20 on each side.


5. Seated Quad Strength

Starting Position: Seated with your hands supporting you, one leg bent and the other straight out in front of you

 Action:  Activate your core and quadriceps muscle on the straight leg side and slowly raise the leg off the floor as high as you can go. Hold at the top for 5 seconds and slowly lower. Repeat 10 times per side

Progression: Both legs straight, lift one at a time, lift both! Very hard to do!


6. Bird Dog Progressions

Starting Position: One all fours with hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Look at a point about 15 cm in front of the mid-point between your hands

Action:  Keeping your torso parallel to the floor, raise one hand slowly and return to the floor. Do the same with each leg making sure your pelvis remains stable. If that’s too hard, start by straightening your leg with your pointed toe on the floor. Repeat 10 times for each hand and leg.

Progression: Raise one arm and the opposite leg , hold at the top for 30 seconds on each side. Repeat 3-5 times per side.


7. Psoas Stretch

Start by placing the leg of the side you wish to stretch behind as shown above. In this case the right. Next, move your body forward so that you feel a stretch in the front of this hip. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat with the left side.

8. Hamstring Stretch

Place your leg on a step or bend back leg and have other your leg stretching straight in front of you. Tilt the foot up keeping the knee straight. With your back straight, bend your chest forward and bend your back leg slightly until you feel the stretch pull behind the knee & hamstring. Hold 20 seconds. Repeat with the other side.

9. Quad Stretch

Stand with your left hand holding onto something stable for balance. Using your right hand, grab onto your right foot and pull your heel in towards your buttocks. Keep your knees close during this stretch. If you do not feel a stretch in the front of the right hip and thigh, pull your right knee further back behind the left knee. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat with the left side.

10. Active Prayer

Lie on your front with knees bent under your chest, arms straight overhead, hands on the floor. Inhale and as you exhale push your chest towards the floor and your bottom back onto your heels. Breathe in again and on each breath out push your chest closer to the floor. Repeat 5 breaths.

11. Lunge/Split Squat

From standing step one leg forward. Your front knee shouldn’t go over your knees if you have knee pain, drop your back knee as close to the floor as you can go keeping your upper body erect. Push into your front heel to push your leg back and into standing. Repeat 3 x 10 per side. 

12. Squat

Standing straight with your feet hip width apart, push your gluteal muscles down and back as if you are sitting back into a chair. Keep your spine straight, all movement should be at your hip and knee joints. Use your pelvic and leg muscles to return to standing. Repeat 3 x 10 per side. 

13. Hip Stretch (Gluteus Min/Medius + Piriformis Muscle)

Lie on your back with both legs in the air. Place your right ankle on your thigh above your left knee.

Reach your right hand through the open space created by your right leg and grab your left hand that is reaching around the outside of your left thigh. 

Slowly bend your left knee. You should feel a stretch on the outside of your right hip. Repeat with the left ankle over your right knee.

14. Brugger Relief

Perch on edge of chair with feet wider than hip width and hips turned out slightly

Have arms straight at the side with palm of hands facing forward and thumbs turning towards the back of the room.

Keeping back relaxed slightly lift chest as you take a deep gentle breath in

As you breathe out keep your chest lifted but breathe long and slowly as if you were trying to make a candle flame flicker not blow it out.

Perform 3 times every 20 minutes whilst sitting at a desk.

15. Co-contraction (Abdominal Hollowing)

Perform up to 10 repetitions, holding each for 10 seconds. Perform daily or twice daily.

The lower back should be still at all times.

Starting Position: Lie on your back with your knees bent.

Action: Concentrate on the area below the navel. Gently draw this area up and in as if to pull the spine and navel closer together and hold the co-contraction. You should feel the muscles around your lower back and abdomen tense like a brace – as if you were tensing to be hit in the stomach.

Progression:Perform the co-contraction action shown above. Slide the right foot slowly forward on the floor until your leg is almost straight.  Then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat with your left leg and alternate up to 10 times.

16. Lumbar Rotation

Perform up to 10 repetitions for each side or for 30 seconds. Perform daily or twice daily.

Starting Position: Lie on your back with your knees bent.

Action: Starting by lying on the back with both knees bent, keep the feet flat on the floor while rocking the knees from side to side. The thighs should rub together and the knees will not move very far. The lower spine should remain fairly still. 

Hold the stretch for 1-2 minutes per side.


17. Pelvic Tilt Exercise

Lower back stretching exercise and abs strengthening exercise.

Action: Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on floor. Take a deep breath. Exhale as you flatten the small of your back against the floor (or as close as you can get). Do not push your feet into the floor to assist with the move – use your abs. Hold for a count of five. Slowly relax. Repeat five – fifteen times.

NOTE: Exhale as you pull your back toward the floor: inhale as you relax.


18. Cat and Camel

Starting Position: Kneel down on the floor and assume the “all-four’s” position. Keep your head straight so that the gaze of your eyes is toward the floor.

Action: Slowly allow your trunk to sag as far as you can so that your back is arched. Do not pull it down, but let it relax as you lift up your face towards the ceiling Then round your back up at the waist as far as you can by contracting your lower abdominal muscles as you lower the top of your head toward the floor. All motion should be initiated from your low back. 

Repeat 10 times.


Bristol Chiropractors

Meet Our Team

Bronwen Henley
Bronwen Henley

Principal Chiropractor

MChiro, DC, LRCC Sports, PGDipAcu, FICS

Medical Acupuncture / Fitness Instructor

Read more about Bronwen

I am very passionate about what I do and I feel there is nothing better than helping people recover from back pain, neck pain, headaches, joint, nerve, and muscle pain.

I use a variety of techniques including massage, dry needling, and manipulation to effectively treat these conditions and work not only by treating what is found to reduce the pain, but also identifies the underlying cause to reduce recurrence of the complaint.

I have always had a strong interest in health and fitness and have worked extensively in care work before training as a chiropractor.

I graduated with a Merit from a Masters degree in chiropractic after training at the prestigious Anglo-European College of Chiropractic in Bournemouth. The institution is well renowned for having the best tutors and an extensive curriculum including: anatomy, diagnosis, functional rehabilitation, paediatrics, nutrition, pharmacology, and neurology.

All students undergo extensive clinical training, treating a wide range of patients and conditions. Furthermore I aided a local Rugby club providing pitch side assistance. I am especially interested in treating sports injuries and working with athletes.

I am a member of The International Federation of Sports Chiropractic, an Associate Member of the RCC Sports and Exercise Faculty,  paediatrics facility as well as the animal faculty and currently studying the ICCSP Sports Chiropractic certification. Additionally I have completed the PGCert APP in Paediatric Musculoskeletal Health at the AECC and last year qualified to treat horses and small animals with the International Association of Veterinary Chiropractic (IAVC).

I am a trained fitness instructor with a special interest in rehabilitative exercises. All new patients are given rehabilitative exercises and have the opportunity to participate in supervised rehabilitative exercises in a gym environment.

Additionally, after completing the AECC Diploma in dry needling and medical acupuncture and seeing amazing results using these techniques, I am continuing to  study Western Medical Acupuncture and am a registered member of the British Medical Acupuncture Society.

Bronwen is a registered member of the General Chiropractic AssociationBritish Chiropractic AssociationRoyal College of Chiropractors, British Medical Acupuncture SocietyThe International Federation of Sports Chiropractic, RCC Sports and Exercise FacultyPaediatrics and Pregnancy Faculty, and the Animal Faculty.

Lee Hodgetts

Lee Hodgetts


MChiro, DC, MRCC

Read more about Lee

I have always been interested in healthcare, although not initially knowing what I wanted to work towards. After considering personal training, I was introduced to Chiropractic though my sister who was suffering from recurrent headaches. I was amazed at both the results shown from treatment and the wealth of knowledge the Chiropractor had, and I knew this was something I wanted to pursue.

In my personal life I take a great interest in healthy living, which is what originally drew me to study Chiropractic care. Across the course of my studies I have discovered that it is crucial to tailor care specifically for a patient rather than give a general care package to everyone.

You’ll often find me in the gym as I find a good workout can not only be good for the body but keep the mind in check, and I enjoy mixing up different routines to keep things fresh and prevent boredom from setting in.

I have an interest in drama and musical theater, regularly attending professional productions to top up my theatrical enjoyment.

I have recently graduated from the Welsh Institute of Chiropractic after studying for 5 years. I am very excited to put what I’ve learnt into practice and meet a variety of people.

Marianne Thompson

Marianne Thompson

Practice Manager



Read more about Marianne
Marianne Thompson is a qualified nurse and a busy dedicated mum to three fabulous children, working at the clinic fits well into her family life.

After experiencing chiropractic as a patient she is passionate about the benefits of treatment and really excited to welcome patients to the clinic.

Our Blog

Latest Articles

Get Back Your Healthy Back

Get Back Your Healthy Back

A weak back can lead to a number of health problems. Unfortunately many of us neglect to look after our backs in the correct way. Small changes can have a dramatic effect on your spine health which in turn will have a positive effect on your overall health. If you...

How Winter Causes Back Pain

How Winter Causes Back Pain

Back pain can be crippling and debilitating. It decreases mobility and makes every day activities such as carrying children, housework and even getting dressed hard to perform. Chronic back pain can extend down to the buttocks and into the legs causing pain when...

Common Sporting Injuries That Require A Sports Massage

Common Sporting Injuries That Require A Sports Massage

Summer’s over and the cooler weather and shorter days have returned. But that doesn’t mean you should be preparing for hibernation. Many sports can be enjoyed throughout the autumn period before the cold, icy, New Year weather is upon us. Early autumn marks the...

Still need some help?

Get in touch with Bristol Chiropractic Clinic to book your Chiropractor appointment.