What’s the one best exercise for low back pain?

Has this header grabbed your attention to want to keep reading?

You might be looking for that one exercise to get rid of lower back pain.

The truth is there is not one specific exercise that is best for lower back pain or any painful body part.

Unfortunately, this way of thinking would be very simplistic just focusing on a body part or area rather than the whole person and how they feel about their injury.

If there was one best exercise out there clients could follow simple step guidelines.

What does the research show?

A study compared Pilates exercises with stationary biking and while Pilates was superior at 8 weeks the results were equal in the long term at 6 months.

Then there is a well-known study that found that walking is as effectives as specific exercises for the lower back at 6 weeks.

It must be mentioned though that the people in the study were all sedentary so we cannot assume that the outcome would be the same in more active people.

Some studies show that low load stabilization exercises are a bit better at reducing pain at short term but all of them show that general strengthening is equal in the long term.

Lastly, a study compared low load motor control exercises with high load deadlifts.

In this study the low load motor control group outperformed the high load group on short-term, but again long-term results were equally effective.

So, the encouraging news from all these studies is that doing something is better than nothing.

So, one might argue that the best exercise for low back pain is the one that you actually do regularly!


But why chose one form of exercise only?

One thing we know from research into people with lower back pain is that they often display a decreased movement variety.

So, by using different exercises this might be a way to reduce your risk of low back pain.

You could incorporate exercises using a mixture of strength, high load, low load, coordination, balance, power, endurance and graded exposure exercises as well as movement games.


If you need help with an exercise program or exercise classes then give us a call.