The best way to manage back pain is to stay active and continue doing regular exercise. But it can be hard to know what exercises for back pain you could try. Staying active can be as easy as walking to the shops rather than taking the car, getting off the bus one stop early, gardening or taking your dog for a walk.

The NHS recommends specific exercises for those with mild non-specific back pain. Here are some exercises for back pain you can try:

Endurance Exercises

Endurance exercises for back pain involve strength and flexibility, such as walking, swimming or dancing to keep you active. If your pain is more than mild, we recommend you seek advice from a health care professional for specific exercises to suit your pain.

Why not try:

Your chosen exercise for 10-15 minutes, extending this at a steady pace, two to three times a week. You’re more likely to stick at the exercise if it is something you enjoy. Make it fun and try something different.

Low-impact exercises

Low-impact exercises for back pain should not cause too much strain on your joints, avoiding any sprains or strains.

You could try:

Sitting upright with your feet flat on the floor, cross both of your arms towards your shoulders. Without moving your hips, turn your upper body to the left until you feel a comfortable stretch. You can repeat this upper body twist to your right, five times each side.

Yoga

Yoga focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing to boost physical and mental wellbeing. All of these will help to make your daily activities a little easier.

If your pain does not improve, please consult a healthcare professional or speak to one of our healthcare team.

Stretches

Here are some stretches you could try from the NHS:

Cat stretch

Kneel on the floor on all fours, with your hands shoulder width apart and your knees slightly apart (your arms and your thighs should be straight).

Slowly round your back so that the middle of your back is arched towards the ceiling, and drop your chin towards your chest. Then slowly lower your stomach towards the floor while lifting your chin and your chest and raising your tailbone, and look up towards the ceiling.

Repeat each movement slowly 10 times. Do not do this exercise if you’re pregnant.

Knee twists

Lie on your back with your knees bent and together, and feet flat on the floor. Put a small cushion or pillow under your head (if it feels more comfortable, also put a cushion or pillow between your knees). Stretch your arms out from your sides at shoulder level. Keeping your knees together, slowly lower them to one side and let your hips follow. Both shoulders should stay flat on the floor. Aim to get the lower bent leg touching the floor – but only lower your knees as far as is comfortable.

Hold then return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side, doing up to 10 moves on each side.

Back extensions

Start position: Lie on your front and rest on your forearms, with your elbows bent at your sides. Look towards the floor and keep your neck straight.

Action: Keeping your neck straight, arch your back up by pushing down on your hands. You should feel a gentle stretch in the stomach muscles. Breathe and hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Return to the starting position.

Repeat 8 to 10 times.

Deep abdominal strengthening

Start position: Lie on your back. Place a small, flat cushion or book under your head. Bend your knees, keeping your feet straight and hip-width apart. Keep your upper body relaxed and your chin gently tucked in.

Action: As you breathe out, gently tense the muscles in your pelvis and lower tummy so they’re pulled up towards your chest. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths and relax.

Pelvic tilts

Start position: Lie on your back. Place a small, flat cushion or book under your head. Bend your knees, keeping your feet straight and hip-width apart. Keep your upper body relaxed and your chin gently tucked in.

Action: Gently flatten your lower back into the floor and tense your stomach muscles. Now tilt your pelvis towards your heels until you feel a gentle arch in your lower back and return to the starting position.

Repeat 10 to 15 times, tilting your pelvis back and forth in a slow rocking motion.