Sport and exercise

A degree of physical activity is most often beneficial in limiting spinal pain. Sport and regular exercise assist in keeping your body fit and your muscles strong and it could help in reducing back pain. It is essential that you strengthen your stomach muscles and your leg muscles.

When participating in sport, it is important to keep the following in mind:

• Sport that requires a twisting action of your back or that involves excessive jumping (causing a jarring force on the discs) could have an adverse effect on your back pain.
• Avoid sport or exercises that increases your back pain. Sporting activities that are recommended for people with back pain would include swimming, walking, cycling and low impact aerobic exercises.
• Some sporting activities such as bowls require a great deal of bending. Protect your back by keeping it straight and by tightening your stomach muscles. Use your strong leg muscles as much as possible when executing movements that involve bending.
• Thorough warm-up exercises should be completed before commencing with your sporting activity. Regular stretching exercises are also important in preventing sport related injuries.


This website is a patient resource compiled from information from leading spinal surgeons practicing in South Africa and complements the My Spine – Lumbar and My Spine – Cervical information booklets that you can obtain directly from your spinal specialist. You will find information about spinal conditions and treatment on this website.

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My Spine – Lumbar and My Spine – Cervical information booklets are now directly available from your spinal specialist. All patients that are undergoing spinal surgery in South Africa should have access to these booklets. Please ask your specialist at your pre-operative visit about these booklets.