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First off, I have had several back injuries myself and have battled through them. Through my personal experience and working in the field of physical therapy for a decade I have learned a few things.

I have tried all of this stuff on myself but just because it works for me, doesn't mean it will work for you.

This is all for education and is a look into what we do for people in physical therapy. Everything that I create for my clients is custom. I don't believe in a one size fits all approach and rarely see it work for people.

Each and every injury is different and will respond to a different combo of movements, manual therapy, and instructions.

That being said, if even one thing below is interesting to you and can help you out, add it to your routine.

If you like videos, we have some long form videos below and I'll do my best to explain why I included each movement.

Pre Workout

Prone PRess Up

This is one of my absolute go to movements. For most people who get low back injuries it is likely related to the disc. If you have more pain bending and sitting and less walking and you are under 50, there is a good chance your "strained back" is actually a disc injury.

With the prone press up, it can help move the disc away from the nerve. It can also decompress the back part of the disc and relieve some pressure on the injured area of the disc.

Nerve Tensioner/glides

Have you ever wondered why you can't bend down and touch your toes? Well, it's usually not just your hamstrings limiting you. Nerve mobility exercises can be a great way to quickly increase mobility. I once had a patient who had never touched her toes and could reach down to her mid shin. We worked a ton on nerve glides and some other contract relax stretching and she was able to touch her toes for the first time in her life 45 minutes later.


Rotation of the spine is one of the cardinal movements. If you don't have this in your spinal movement menu, add it to get things moving. If you back is in more acute pain, this may not be the move.

90/90 hip switches

Hip mobility shouldn't be underestimates. Loss of mobility at any joint will end up transfering that force up or down the kinetic chain. This means if you lose hip mobility, your low back will try to take over for that loss of motion. Plus, who doesn't like a nice 90/90 hip reverse.

Cat Cow

This is a classic. Not much to be said here. Try to move through the non painful range. If one direction feels good, do that one more.

MCGill Big 3

Now do I think the McGill big 3 are everything? No. However, I do think they are worth mentioning for a lot of people and especially depending on where you are at in the process.

Sit up

This is a great one to just get you thinking about your abs and creating activation. What you want to think about it creating tension through the stomach

Side Plank

Side plank is also one of my recent favorites because of the success I have had with myself and my clients. This one is great because it doesn't stress the disc much but really creates some great core stability and recruitment in the frontal plane.

BiRd Dog

I like the bird dog because you get active extension of the hip, which creates a low back extension moment as well. This one is nice because it's also a reciprocal movement that is necessary for walking, split squats, stand step up/down. Again, this is a low stress spinal movement because of the spine suspension position.

Check the Video HEre

Post Workout

So this post workout flow is nice and quick. No need to stick around the gym forever but you should do something if you want to keep that back feeling nice.

Prone Press Up Rewind

We are just going to keep it simple and do the prone press up again first thing. I told you I like it...

Prone Relaxed Breathing

You can use your hands under your hip bones or you could use a rolled yoga mat, an ab mat, or anything else. The point is to create slight relaxation in the back and then perform some deep breathing. The prone position allows for some posterior expansion, which can help relieve back stress.

Bar Hangs

This is a great decompression exercise for the low back. I think the real key is to hang somewhere that your feet are still on the ground. This helps you to adjust the amount of decompression. It also helps you relax more than if you just did a full hang.

A Few Last Words

So, those some of my favorite and most used exercises. By no means is this a cure all and I would never guarantee this will help you. I know this sounds like a sales pitch but I promise, it's not. I don't care if you see us at HIDEF or some other great PT.

If you have back pain get someone to look at. Select wisely. Not all providers are created equal. Try a few out. Get to the bottom of the problem and actually get a plan to solve it.

You don't have to live with discomfort and pain.

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