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Physiotherapy Exercises for the Lower Back

by Noreen Kassem

About Noreen Kassem

Noreen Kassem is a hospital doctor and a medical writer. Her articles have been featured in "Women's Health," "Nutrition News," "Check Up" and "Alive Magazine." Kassem also covers travel, books, fitness, nutrition, cooking and green living.



Lower back pain is the most common medical complaint and affects most people at least once in their lifetime. According to the National Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma exercises for the lower back are an effective way to prevent and control back pain. A daily range of simple physiotherapy exercises help to stretch and strengthen muscles and ligaments. However, if you have slipped disc problems or other serious back injuries, you may require other treatment. A physiotherapist or health professional can recommend exercises and treatment for chronic or severe back pain.

Supine Hamstring Stretch

Dr C. Jenner MBBS, FRCA, a pain specialist in London, UK recommends the supine hamstring stretch to strengthen and stretch the lower back. To begin, lie on your back with a small round cushion or a rolled-up towel placed underneath the small of your back. Extend your left leg, so that it is lying on the floor and bend your right leg at the hip and knee. Place both your hands under your right thigh and clasp your fingers together so that you are holding your thigh. Then straighten your right leg and raise your right foot towards the ceiling as high as you can. Hold for up to 30 seconds, relax and repeat with your other leg.

Pelvic Tilt

To perform the pelvic tilt, lay on your back on a floor mat. Bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the mat. Tighten your abdominal muscles while pressing your lower back down into the mat. Hold this position for five seconds, relax and repeat 10 to 15 times. This simple exercise helps to strengthen core abdominal, back and hip muscles.

Back Arch

The Physiotherapy Site recommends the back arch to stretch the muscles in the lower back. To begin, lay on your stomach on a floor mat. Prop yourself up on your elbows so that your upper body is resting on your forearms and your stomach, hip and legs are flat on the mat. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds, relax and repeat.

Knees to Chest

The Physiotherapy Site also recommends the knees to chest exercise for lower back pain and muscle tightness. Lay on your back on a floor mat. Grasp your knees with each hand and pull them towards your chest, as far as possible. Hold this position for as long as you are comfortable, relax and repeat. This exercise helps to stretch the lumbar -- lower back -- spine, muscles and ligaments.

Knee Roll

The knee roll rotates the lumbar spine to increase strength and flexibility in the muscles and ligaments. To begin, lay on your back on a floor mat with your knees bent and your feet flat on the mat. Keep your knees together and roll them to the right while keeping your upper body flat on the mat. Try to touch the mat with your knees. Relax, roll to the left and repeat on each side.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.