Low back pain is often felt to be worse on one side or the other. Many people who experience low back pain will report that it is mostly felt to the left or right side of the back. This may be due to the origin of the pain arising from certain structures, such as some degenerative changes of a lumbar disc which might include a small tear on the outer wall (annulus) with a bulge which happens to be to the left or right side. Or the symptoms might arise from one of the facet joints in the back which are like links of a bicycle-chain running on the left and right side of the back at each corresponding vertebral level. In my experience, many mechanical back problems cause a combination of pain and stiffness.
Below is one of my favourite exercises that I prescribe in the early phases of low back pain. I ask patients to lie on the most affected (painful) side, and perform this exercise. Effectivly what you are doing is creating space where structures are too close to one-another, taking pressure off tissues, and helping to restore natural movements at the affected level. Typically this exercise might be done for a minute or so, and repeated a few times depending on how the individual feels.