A difficult blog to write! The best car, the best hotel, the best phone...not a 'one size fits all' answer. Therefore defining the best exercises for lower back pain is difficult.

There are thousands of exercises for the lower back all with different aims, different structures targeted and different levels of ability. Exercise prescription varies from patient to patient, dependent on clinic presentation, levels of pain and what we are trying to achieve in our physiotherapy sessions e.g. mobility or strength.

In this post, I'll give some examples of exercises that I like to give to my patients with lower back pain or simply anyone who would benefit from improving their mobility. These exercises are all focused on mobility, rather than strengthening. It's perfectly normal to feel a stretch or some mild discomfort when stretching or performing mobility exercises, however, we shouldn’t experience pain. So some discomfort during the exercise is okay, but pain lasting a few hours is not what we want!

You should work within your own ability and mobility, slowly increasing your frequency, intensity of exercises, and overall stretching sensation. You can start by holding these stretches for a few seconds only, then gradually build to 10, 20, 30 as so on. It can take a number of weeks to months to increase flexibility, mobility and strength, so be patient and gradual increase every few weeks.

Here are my best physiotherapy back pain exercises for the lower back:

1. Cat/cow or angry cat/happy cat

• Start on your hands and knees.

• Slowly arch your back, pushing your spine up to the ceiling to form a curve.

• Then slowly arch the back the opposite way pushing your stomach towards the ground.

2. Knee rolls/lumbar rotation

• Start by lying on your back with your knees bent.

• Slowly drop the knees out to the side to feel rotation in the lower back.

• Repeat both sides.

3. Child's pose

• Starting on your hands and knees.

• Slowly sit back onto your feet, focusing on controlled breathing and relaxing into this resting position.

4. Child's pose with side bent

• As above, but walking your hands slightly to one side to feel more of a stretch in your side.

5. Knees to chest

• Start by lying on your back.

• Use your arms to hug your knees into your chest.

• If you find both legs difficult, try doing one at a time.

6. Transverse Abdominis activation - A key muscle in your core that helps with stabilisation and trunk focus.

• Start by laying on your back with your knees bent.

• Place your fingers about 2cm in from the bony bits on the front of your hips and push down slightly.

• Now try to pull your stomach in and up - but don’t hold your breath!

• You should feel the muscles contract under your fingers and be able to breathe normally.

7. Seated Rotation - A great one for those busy days in the office.

• Sit unsupported in a chair.

• Rotation the entire trunk and upper body to look over your shoulder.

• Repeat both sides.

8. Pelvic tilts

• Starting on your back with knees bent.

• Pull in your stomach muscles and pelvic floor, slowly tucking your tail bone under you to tilt your pelvis forward.

• Relax back to neutral.

• Then gradual arch your back off the floor, causing the pelvic to tilt backwards.