It is normal to have back pain. 80% of people tend to have an episode of back pain at some point in their life. Just because you have back pain once does not mean you will always have back pain. It can be concerning to you when it is very painful and affecting your everyday activity. However, a back complaint is rarely due to anything serious.

Your back is one of the strongest parts of your body and is very resilient. It is designed to cope with lots of activity such as bending, lifting, and twisting. Your lower back pain will usually gradually get better by itself within 2-3 months. Sometimes back pain can continue for longer periods of time, but there are ways you can help yourself.

Your Prescribed Exercises

Exercise Links

Why Have I Been Prescribed Exercises?

Exercise is often used to help you improve your symptoms by increasing your muscular strength. We all need to improve our muscle mass (the amount of muscle we have) before being able to increase our strength, power and endurance.

Strengthening is a process that requires us to challenge our bodies with activity to be able to drive a change. These changes are not immediate and strengthening will take at least 6-8 weeks before we notice big changes.

How Many Repetitions of an Exercise Should I Do?

Below are some ideas of how to choose what repetitions you should be using. Remember that you need muscle mass and strength before you can improve your power and/or endurance:


This is the process where we build muscle mass.

Rep range tends to be greater.

3 sets x 12-15 repetitions.


Improve your strength with lifting heavier loads.

Improve your strength by lifting more repetitions.

3 sets x 3-5 repetitions with a heavier load.

3 sets x 8-12 repetitions slowly.

Hard work (80%)


When you are ‘strong’ you can increase the speed at which you move a load.

4 sets x 4-6 repetitions.

50% maximal effort.



The goal is to be able to improve the amount of time that you can keep going for.

3-4 sets x 15-25 repetitions.

Light resistance.

How Do I Know When to Make Things Harder (Progress) or Easier (Regress)?

Do you find it too difficult?

Is your pain worsening

Do you lose good technique/movement patterning?

If Yes, Regress.
Reduce the load.
Reduce the repetitions.
Reduce the depth of the movement

Have you just recently progressed?

Do you feel that there is still a challenge but your pain does not worsen?

If Yes, Maintain.
You might need a bit longer doing what you’re doing.

Do you find it easy?

Can you complete your whole program without a challenge?

Do you not have any flare ups?

If Yes, Progress.
Increase the weight.
Increase the repetitions.