Back Pain Exercises

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This leaflet has been provided by Arthritis Research UK, the national charity committed to preventing the onset of arthritis, developing a cure for arthritis and transforming the lives of those with arthritis.

This leaflet provides simple exercises that may help with back pain.

  • 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.

Pelvic tilt

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

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 stretch

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

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)

One leg stand
  • Holding on to something for support if needed, bend one leg up behind you.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times on each side.

Content used with permission from the Arthritis Research UK website: Exercises to manage back pain. Copyright for this leaflet is with Arthritis Research UK.

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Arthritis Research UK
Peer Reviewer:
Arthritis Research UK
Document ID:
29105 (v1)
Last Checked:
25 September 2015
Next Review:
24 September 2018

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Patient Platform Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.