When someone suffers with low back pain exercise is important to strengthen the supporting muscles around the core, however there are some forms of exercise that can aggravate the problem and not help. In this blog we discuss 5 exercises to avoid if you have low back pain.

The lifetime incidence of low back pain is very high, 80% (1) of the population will experience low back pain. It is a leading contributor to the disease burden (2). Getting the correct advice is important to assist in the healing process and prevent future low back pain episodes.

Do you have these Symptoms/Diagnosis?

If you find you are suffering from one of the following then you may benefit from the avoiding the five exercises that follow.

  • Sharp pain in low back/buttock
  • Referred pain down the thighs, leg or foot from the low back
  • Pain in low back for a period of three months or more
  • Diagnosed disc prolapse
  • Stress Fracture/fracture/severe degeneration or arthritis

Avoid these exercises

1. High Intensity Exercise

All forms of high intensity exercise should be avoided with chronic or acute low back pain. Avoid sessions that include excessive jumping.

2. Running

With inflammation in the low back, any lengthy periods of running will jar the low back and can flare up the pain. If you normally run and would like to engage in some aerobic exercise, try sprinting for 50 metres then power walk for 100 metres and repeat.

3. Explosive exercise

Any exercise that involves sudden changes in direction or that are explosive in nature, should be avoided. Burpees or highly repetitive exercises or exercises that involve twisting should also be avoided.

4. Sit ups

Traditional sit ups often aggravate low back pain, especially pain that is disc related. These exercises can place strain on the discs and joints of the low back. One of the important goals with low back issues is to increase core strength. It is best to speak to a musculoskeletal expert to get the right advice for your specific case. 

5. Heavy weights

Heavy weights, such as dumb bells, barbells, medicine balls or kettle bells should be swapped to low weights. When recovering from an acute episode, you can try the exercises using your body weight alone. Any acute low back pain or referred pain into the legs or buttock, is an indicator to avoid weights all together.

What to do if pain persists?

If you find that avoiding or modifying the above exercises does not help to alleviate you back problem, then it is important to get a spinal check up. Your local musculoskeletal expert will help to locate the cause of the pain or refer on to some one who will.

Our chiropractors are happy to answer any questions.


If you would like to know more about distinguishing between tendinitis, tendinopathy and bursitis, CLICK HERE.  Find out how a Cervical Denneroll can help the neck curve, CLICK HERE.

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Lisa, director