I should avoid exercise, especially weight training
Putting weight through the spine such as standing, walking and sitting encourages healthy bones, discs and joints. Exercise such as swimming and using weights helps strengthen muscles to support your back.
Studies have shown that continuing with regular exercise can help you recover sooner – including using weights where appropriate. You may have to modify your usual exercises initially, but you can gradually increase the intensity of your exercise and increase any weights used as your back pain improves.
It is normal to feel some discomfort or post exercise soreness and this does not mean that you have done yourself any harm.
If your back pain lasts a while, lack of movement and reduced activity can cause the muscles to become weak. This makes it more likely that you could have back problems in the future. Exercise is the most important way to ease the stiffness and pain in your back, build up muscle strength and stamina, and improve your flexibility and general fitness.
Stay active and continue your regular day to day activities. Initially when your back pain has flared up, this may mean just going out and walking. As you start to improve you can increase the amount of activity you do. You can do any activity that gives your body a good work out. Choose something you enjoy, that way you are more likely to stick with it.
Activities that you could do include walking, cycling, swimming, aqua aerobics, yoga and Pilates. These are low impact exercises that may be more comfortable to start with. As your back pain settles down you can go jogging, running and do other higher impact exercises and sports. There is no reason why you cannot use weights to exercise as long as you lift them correctly and do not lift weights above your ability.