Cookies on the Bupa website

We use cookies to help us understand ease of use and relevance of content. This ensures that we can give you the best experience on our website. If you continue, we'll assume that you are happy to receive cookies for this purpose. Find out more about cookies

Continue

Navigation

Don’t take back pain lying down

If you’re unfortunate enough to have pain in your lower back, you’re not alone. It affects one in three people in the UK every year.

Having low back pain can be extremely frustrating. You may have periods when you feel hardly any pain followed by severe pain that knocks you off your feet for a while. The pain may be sharp or dull. And to top it all, you might not even know what’s causing it.

Whether you know what’s causing your back pain or not, there are several things you can do to help protect your back and keep your muscles strong.

Exercises for low back pain by Bupa UK

Details

  • Manage your back pain Manage your back pain

    An important part of managing your back pain is to stay positive. Most acute non-specific low back pain (back pain that lasts less than six weeks and has no obvious cause) settles down. However, it does tend to recur in the same way that you might get a headache every now and again.

  • Keep active Keep active

    It’s natural to think that, if your back hurts, you need to rest up. However, bed rest for more than a couple of days may weaken your muscles, making it harder to get going again. Staying active is likely to help. Although exercising may feel sore at first, activities such as swimming, walking and Pilates can help strengthen your back muscles and increase your flexibility. A structured programme may help to keep you exercising regularly.

    Exercises for low back pain by Bupa UK

    Get back to your normal daily activities as soon as possible. Some movements may cause you pain, so pace yourself. The aim is to start slowly and try to do a little more each day. If you absolutely have to lift or twist, take extra care. Remember to lift with your knees bent and the weight close to your body 

    Click on the image to open our infographic of exercises for low back pain.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Muscle, bone and joint treatment

    At our Bupa Health Centres, we offer self-pay health services for a wide range of conditions, including muscle, bone and joint treatment.

  • Sleeping Sleeping

    If you sleep on your side, a firm pillow placed between your knees may reduce the pressure on your lower back and help reduce your pain. Alternatively, if you prefer to lie on your back, two or three firm pillows under your knees may help.

  • Remedies Remedies

    To help keep you active and manage your pain, over–the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol, may help. Always read the patient information that comes with your medicine and ask your pharmacist for advice if you have any questions.

    Hot and cold packs, such as a hot water bottle or bag of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel, may ease your back pain. You can also buy hot and cold packs that are specifically designed to relieve pain from most pharmacies. Don’t apply ice directly to your skin though as it can damage it. Speak to your GP before using an ice pack if you have problems with your circulation.

  • Stretches for your back Stretches for your back

    Stretching can help to ease discomfort if you’re feeling pain in your lower back. The following stretches may be suggested as part of an exercise programme from your physiotherapist or GP. The stretches shown here may not be suitable for all types of back pain so speak to your GP about specific exercises before you begin.

    • Back stretch. Lie on your back, hands behind your head with your knees bent so your feet are flat on the floor. Slowly lower your knees to one side, keeping your feet on the floor. Hold for 10 seconds and then repeat on the other side. Repeat three times on each side.
    • Pelvic tilt. Lie on your back with your arms by your side and your knees bent. Tighten your stomach muscles so you flatten your back against the floor. Hold for five seconds and repeat five times.
    • Single knee to chest stretch. Lie on your back with both knees bent. Holding your thigh behind your knee, gently pull one leg into your chest. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat with your other leg. Repeat five times on each side.
    • Straight leg raises. Lie on your back with one leg straight and one knee bent. Slowly lift your straight leg so your foot is about six inches off the floor. Hold for up to five seconds and gently lower your leg. Repeat 10 times and then do the same with your other leg.

    Play video
      
    How to improve your posture
    Posture plays a very important part in looking after your spine
  • Pain management Pain management

    If you’ve had back pain for a long time and physiotherapy and painkillers haven’t been effective, you may find that a pain management programme helps. The sessions teach you how to live with your pain instead of treating it. Your GP can help arrange your sessions. For more advice about managing long-term back pain, watch our video below.

    Play video
      
    Coping with chronic back pain
    Learn some self-help techniques to help you cope
  • Resources Resources

    Further information

    Sources

    • Back pain – low (without radiculopathy). NICE Clinical Knowledge Summaries. cks.nice.org.uk, published November 2009
    • Back pain. Arthritis Research UK. www.arthritisresearchuk.org, accessed 5 February 2014
    • Pain management programmes. The British Pain Society. www.britishpainsociety.org, accessed 5 February 2014
    • Low back pain exercise guide. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. orthoinfo.aaos.org, reviewed March 2013
  • Has our information helped you? Tell us what you think about this page

    We’d love to know what you think about what you’ve just been reading and looking at – we’ll use it to improve our information. If you’d like to give us some feedback, our short form below will take just a few minutes to complete. And if there's a question you want to ask that hasn't been answered here, please submit it to us. Although we can't respond to specific questions directly, we’ll aim to include the answer to it when we next review this topic.

    Let us know what you think using our short feedback form
    Ask us a question
  • Related information Related information

  • Author information Author information

    Reviewed by Dylan Merkett, Bupa Health Information Team, February 2014.

    Let us know what you think using our short feedback form
    Ask us a question

About our health information

At Bupa we produce a wealth of free health information for you and your family. We believe that trustworthy information is essential in helping you make better decisions about your health and care. Here are just a few of the ways in which our core editorial principles have been recognised.

  • Information Standard

    We are certified by the Information Standard. This quality mark identifies reliable, trustworthy producers and sources of health information.
    Information standard logo
  • HONcode

    This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.

    This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify.

What our readers say about us

But don't just take our word for it; here's some feedback from our readers.

Simple and easy to use website - not alarming, just helpful.

It’s informative but not too detailed. I like that it’s factual and realistic about the conditions and the procedures involved. It’s also easy to navigate to areas that you specifically want without having to read all the information.

Good information, easy to find, trustworthy.

Meet the team

Image of Andrew Byron

Andrew Byron
Head of health content and clinical engagement




  • Dylan Merkett – Lead Editor – UK Customer
  • Nick Ridgman – Lead Editor – UK Health and Care Services
  • Natalie Heaton – Specialist Editor – User Experience
  • Pippa Coulter – Specialist Editor – Content Library
  • Alice Rossiter – Specialist Editor – Insights
  • Laura Blanks – Specialist Editor – Quality
  • Michelle Harrison – Editorial Assistant

Our core principles

All our health content is produced in line with our core editorial principles – readable, reliable, relevant – which are represented by our diagram.

An image showing or editorial principals

                  Click to open full-size image

The ‘3Rs’ encompass everything we believe good health information should be. From tweets to in-depth reports, videos to quizzes, every piece of content we produce has these as its foundation.

Readable

In a nutshell, our information is jargon-free, concise and accessible. We know our audience and we meet their health information needs, helping them to take the next step in their health and wellbeing journey.

Reliable

We use the best quality and most up-to-date evidence to produce our information. Our process is transparent and validated by experts – both our users and medical specialists.

Relevant

We know that our users want the right information at the right time, in the way that suits them. So we review our content at least every three years to keep it fresh. And we’re embracing new technology and social media so they can get it whenever and wherever they choose.

Our accreditation

Here are just a few of the ways in which the quality of our information has been recognised.

  • The Information Standard certification scheme

    You will see the Information Standard quality mark on our content. This is a certification programme, supported by NHS England, that was developed to ensure that public-facing health and care information is created to a set of best practice principles.

    It uses only recognised evidence sources and presents the information in a clear and balanced way. The Information Standard quality mark is a quick and easy way for you to identify reliable and trustworthy producers and sources of information.

    Certified by the Information Standard as a quality provider of health and social care information. Bupa shall hold responsibility for the accuracy of the information they publish and neither the Scheme Operator nor the Scheme Owner shall have any responsibility whatsoever for costs, losses or direct or indirect damages or costs arising from inaccuracy of information or omissions in information published on the website on behalf of Bupa.

  • British Medical Association (BMA) patient information awards

    We have received a number of BMA awards for different assets over the years. Most recently, in 2013, we received a 'commended' award for our online shared decision making hub.

Contact us

If you have any feedback on our health information, we would love to hear from you. Please contact us via email: healthinfo@bupa.com. Or you can write to us:

Health Content Team
Bupa House
15-19 Bloomsbury Way
London
WC1A 2BA

Find out more Close

Legal disclaimer

This information was published by Bupa's Health Content Team and is based on reputable sources of medical evidence. It has been reviewed by appropriate medical or clinical professionals. Photos are only for illustrative purposes and do not reflect every presentation of a condition.

The information contained on this page and in any third party websites referred to on this page is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice nor is it intended to be for medical diagnosis or treatment. Third party websites are not owned or controlled by Bupa and any individual may be able to access and post messages on them. Bupa is not responsible for the content or availability of these third party websites. We do not accept advertising on this page.

For more details on how we produce our content and its sources, visit the 'About our health information' section.

ˆ We may record or monitor our calls.