Exercise for the Relief and Prevention of Chronic Back Pain

Including aerobic activities, resistance training, and stretching in your daily routine can help decrease the frequency of back pain flare-ups. Make an appointment with Indiana Physical Therapy for guidance and tips on your journey toward a lifestyle with less pain.

Aerobic Exercise:

The ACSM recommends that healthy adults aged 18-65 participate in moderate-intensity aerobic exercise for 30 minutes on 5 days per week, or vigorous intensity exercise for 20 minutes on three days per week. During moderate exercise, you can easily talk, but not sing, and during vigorous exercise, its is difficult to say a few words before taking a breath.

Appropriate physical activities for those with back pain include:

-walking                                                 -yoga / low-impact aerobics

-jogging                                                  -cycling


You should avoid activities that cause flare-ups in your back pain or cause excessive stiffness after a period of rest. These may include high-impact activities like running and jumping, abdominal crunches, and lifting excessively heavy weight.

Strength Training:

The ACSM recommends that healthy adults perform strength training exercises on at least two days per week. Some exercises to strengthen the core and reduce back pain include:

-bridges                                                                -squats

-shoulder-blade squeezes                                 -lower-back extension or “superman”

-planks                                                                  -abdominal bracing

Flexibility Training:

It is recommended that healthy adults perform flexibility exercises on most days of the week. Some flexibility exercises for those with back pain include:

-seated lumbar flexion                                      -lower back rotation

-knee-to-chest stretch                                       -child’s pose

-cat/cow                                                               -cobra stretch

Lifestyle Habits:

Forming small, daily habits like improving posture, decreasing sitting time throughout the day, and getting a standing desk at work can significantly improve back pain over time.


Lauren Hoogenboom
Clinic Assistant- Goshen Clinic
Indiana Physical Therapy