Exercise advice for back pain

This page provides simple exercises that may help with your back pain.

Simple exercises

Back stretch



Lie on your back, hands above your head.

Bend your knees and roll them slowly to one side, keeping your feet on the floor.

Hold for 10 seconds.

Repeat 3 times on each side.


Deep Lunge



Kneel on one knee, the other foot in front.

Facing forwards, lift the back knee up.

Hold for 5 seconds.

Repeat 3 times on each side.


One-leg stand (front)



Holding onto something for support if needed, bend one leg up behind you.

Hold for 5 seconds.

Repeat 3 times on each side.


Pelvic tilt



Lie down with your knees bent.

Tighten your stomach muscles flattening your back against the floor. Hold
for 5 seconds. Repeat 5 times.

Knees to chest



Lie on your back, knees bent.

Bring one knee up and pull it gently into your chest for 5 seconds.

Repeat up to 5 times on each side.


  • Back pain is common but most cases aren’t caused by a serious problem.
  • Most cases of back pain get better on their own within a few weeks.
  • Stay active. Bed rest for more than a couple of days makes it harder to get going. Gradually increase your normal activities and do regular exercise.
  • Take painkillers if needed so you can stay active.

Your pain should ease within 2 weeks and you should recover over approximately a 4–6 week period.

You should carry on with the exercises for at least 6–8 weeks to help prevent another injury.

If the pain is severe or not improving after a week or so, contact your doctor.

PDF version

To make it easier for you to print these exercises we have created a PDF version, suitable for home printing.


For videos to help alleviate back pain, see our exercise advice videos page



This content has been authorised for use by Versus Arthritis.

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