A strong, healthy back is one of the best ways to avoid low back pain in the future. One of the best ways to achieve this is through regular exercise,1 which can help strengthen the muscles that protect the spine and help to support it.2 Going for a walk or swimming may seem strange to someone who has suffered back pain from overdoing it at the gym, or lifting the children into the car. But the right exercises can strengthen the muscles, reduce existing back pain and increase flexibility.2-4
Not every type of exercise is right for the back, but here are three types suitable for an all-around approach to back care:1,5,6
There are also a number of exercises designed to strengthen the back. To find out more, just read the exercise articles on Cobra and Knee to Chest Stretch.
As always, before starting any exercises, it is best to consult a doctor or physiotherapist.6
It might be difficult to exercise at first, so the best way to start is with a few gentle aerobic exercises to help increase flexibility without putting the back under any strain or pressure.6 Medical guidelines worldwide recommend paracetamol as a first line treatment for acute low back pain.1,2,7
Over time, it will be possible to add core strengthening and back stretching exercises, but always take care not to overdo it. At first, with the stretching exercises it may only be possible to hold the stretch for a couple of seconds and to repeat the stretch a couple of times. When it feels comfortable these stretches can be gradually increased in how long you hold the stretch for and the number of repetitions.
Regular exercise can help improve overall back strength and reduce pain.1,2,4 However, it is best not to rush. Getting back on track can take time, and it is important to pace yourself.3 For more information on this, read the article Tips for Managing Lower Back Pain.