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Most people who have back pain naturally feel better by doing certain motions. Some feel better sitting (their back and hips are flexed). Others feel better standing (back and hips are extended). Exercise that moves you toward your more comfortable position is usually more successful in treating your back pain.footnote 1 For example, if you are more comfortable sitting down, exercises that bend you forward—such as partial sit-ups (curl-ups) and knee-to-chest exercises—may help you.
Talk to your doctor before you start an exercise program, and only do exercises that do not increase your symptoms.
The most effective exercise programs for chronic low back pain are designed specifically for you and are supervised.footnote 2 For example, a physical therapist might teach you an exercise program that you can use at home. Then you would see the therapist every so often to check on your progress and advance your program.
Ask your doctor or physical therapist whether there are additional exercises that will work best for you.
CitationsLong A, et al. (2004). Does it matter which exercise? Spine, 29(23): 2593–2602.Hayden JA, et al. (2005). Systematic review: Strategies for using exercise therapy to improve outcomes in chronic low back pain. Annals of Internal Medicine, 142(9): 776–785.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerJoan Rigg, PT, OCS - Physical Therapy
Current as ofNovember 29, 2017
Current as of: November 29, 2017
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Joan Rigg, PT, OCS - Physical Therapy
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