Exercise advice: back pain

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

Simple exercises

Back stretch

 

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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

 

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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)

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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.

Summary

  • 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.

Videos

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

Acknowledgements

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This content has been authorised for use by Versus Arthritis.

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