Exercising with Lower Back Pain: Should I be working through the pain?

By Lisa Zelenka – Physiotherapist

At some point over your lifetime, you may experience low back pain. Over the last week I have spoken with several clients about their backs. A frequent question after I recommend exercise is “should I just rest and take some pain relief?” The simple answer is no. Exercise and movement is good for your back and it is safe.

Low back pain may be due to an acute injury or from a long-standing issue that won’t budge. In most cases, exercises to help increase movement and reduce pain are recommended by Physiotherapists. But what should you do if your exercise program exacerbates your lower back pain? Should you just work through the pain?

Muscle soreness vs back pain related to your condition

Before we talk about whether you should work through pain or not, it is important to distinguish between soreness and pain related to your back. Soreness is a natural result of exercise and is very common when first commencing exercise. Soreness is characterised by a dull, aching feeling. You may also notice your back muscles feeling tender or stiff. It is important to note that this soreness typically resolves within 24 to 72 hours.

On the other hand, pain relating to a lower back injury is your body warning you that something is not right. The pain is often moderate to severe and frequently affects your daily life and function. If your pain or soreness stops you from performing a task or exercising, is most likely related to a condition.

So should I “poke the bear” when I do my exercises?

If an exercises makes your pain worse in most cases you should not be doing that exercise. The reason for this, as previously mentioned this pain is your body warning you of potential harm. In most cases you are either not doing the exercise correctly or doing too much too soon. So if you are experiencing pain when you exercise it would be a good idea to see a Physiotherapist to review your symptoms and adjust your exercise program.

Modifying your exercise program

So if you are like me, you would want to know what you can do as exercise that won’t make your symptoms worse. Essentially, the aim is to work around, not through the pain. For example, if you are getting low back pain running, you can try a low-impact alternative such as cycling or swimming. The goal is to find what exercise you like doing and won’t cause you pain.

Are you’re experiencing back pain are not sure where to start? Get in touch with us today – We are here to help!
Call us on 99081949 or book your appointment online below. 


(Please keep in mind, these are general guidelines for the majority of our patients but it is important to consult with your doctor or physiotherapist first and make sure you have a plan tailored specifically for you).


By |2019-11-25T05:03:31+00:00September 1st, 2018|Blogs|0 Comments