How often should you do your exercises for back pain?

I'm often asked how often you should do your exercises for back pain and the honest answer is there is no absolute rule. I generally say 'little and often'. Your circumstances are unique and you need to discuss your exercises with your physiotherapist or doctor to make sure they are tailored to your needs.

I can suggest the following as a guideline but please discuss this with your physio or doctor so you can tailor it to meet your personal needs..

Back Stretching Exercises

  • hold your stretches for about 30 seconds

  • ease gently into the stiffness

  • do about three in a row

  • you will probably need to do at least two sessions a day to make a difference and possibly more.

  • If you are very stiff you may want to just do a few minutes on and off throughout the day - whenever you get a chance.

See some examples of back stretching exercises

Back Strengthening Exercise

Back strengthening exercises need to be practiced regularly if they are to be effective.

  • Try and start with a few exercises - perhaps 5 or 10 in a row

  • When you are comfortable with that increase the number of sets of exercises you do e.g. do 5 exercises and have a rest, then do another 5

  • This would be two sets of 5 repetitions in each set

  • Try and exercise two or three times a day

  • For early core stability exercises I suggest 10 second holds, 10 times in a row

  • Increase to larger numbers of exercises when you are comfortable

See some examples of back strengthening exercises

Physical fitness exercise

Physical fitness exercise is also called cardiovascular or aerobic exercise. It is exercise that makes you a bit hot and slightly out of breath.

Guidelines from global health authorities suggest cardiovascular exercise should be practiced for 30 minutes, 3-5 times a week.

What movements take place in your back?


thumbnail of a back flexion exercise Flexion - improves the forward bend in your spine
Extension - Improves the backward bend in your spine i.e. arching your back
thumbnail image of person bending sideways - side flexion exercise Side bend - improves the amount of side to side movement in your back
thumbnail image of person on back letting bent knees drop to the side causing rotatio in the lower back Rotation - Improves the twisting movement of your back.


Back Pain Exercises Overview Page

Lower Back Pain Toolkit Home Page





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