KNEE SWAYS EXERCISE: Relieve acute lower back pain starting at the beginning 

Use this knee sways exercise when you lower back has gone into acute spasm, pain and restriction.

Its one of the most effective exercises at reducing the acute spasms that accompany lower back pain but is best done alongside other lower back exercises and other pain management strategies (see below).

knee sways exercise for lower back pain phase 1
knee sways exercise for lower back pain phase 2

Above: A couple shots of Louise demonstrating the knee sways by gently rocking her knees from side to side, left to right.

Knee sways exercises - how it works

This extremely gentle exercise works by gently restoring movement to the lower back - its clear to see how this is important when we look at why the back has become 'locked' in the first place.

Put simply:

    - when the you injure you back in whichever way, the postural muscles around your lower back tighten -


They do this to protect your back. And as a result it hurts.

The act of these muscles tightening, or spasming causes a great deal of pain - sometimes more than he initial injury!

As an Osteopath, the first step when dealing with an acute lower back problem is to gently restore movement.

How does this work?

This works because this gentle movement essential 'reminds' the back that: Ahh... it is ok to move!

Of course too much movement will cause it to lock up - and thats why these gentle lumbar spine knee sways exercises are so effective.

So how do you do it?

Louise and I have put together this short educational video on how to do the lumbar knee sway exercise... take a look.

Get the idea?

Good, as with any acute lower back issue its important that you use ice and maintain the right balance between movement and rest. Too much movement and you're just causing yourself unnecessary lower back pain, but, too much rest and the pain will get worse.

Take a look at our other recommendations for when your lower back 'goes'.

Further advice

Alongside these knee sways exercises you'll probably find it beneficial to adhere to the following advice that we give to our patients all the time.

Pain medication

The biggest benefit of taking pain meds is that you're more likely to move more therefore speeding up recovery.


Ice can help to numb the pain but also helps to reduce any associated inflammation that might be present


As discussed above, gentle and regular movement is highly recommended to aid recovery and reduce pain.

Physical therapy and osteopathy

Guidelines indicate manual therapy as the first port of call for anyone suffering acute lower back pain. Check out Chiropractors, Osteopaths and Physical therapists in your area.

Other exercises

These gentle knee sways exercises are a great start but they are best done alongside others, follow this link for more exercises for lower back pain.

Try not to worry!

Back pain is common - everyone gets it from time to time, and the chances are this acute episode of lower back pain will be gone before you know it. having said that seeking advice from a lower back pain or other medical expert is thoroughly recommended


This page was written and composed by experts in their fields;


Oliver is a registered Osteopath in the UK with a particular interest in sports and rehabilitation - he practises in Devon, Southwest England.


Louise is a registered Osteopath, fitness model and enthusiast as well as a business and social influencer. She also practises as an Osteopath in Devon, UK.

Oliver and Louise specialise in helping people get over their pain and get back to living the lives they want to be living - follow this link to find out more about us.

We welcome any one who wants to get in touch with us here at the OFC for any reason - please use the form on our contact us page.

All the information and advice in this website should be followed with common sense and expert help - follow this link for our full disclaimer.