Exercise alone has been shown to reduce the risk of low back pain (LBP) by 33% and exercise combined with education by 27% says a new review study. The severity of LBP and disability from LBP were also lower in the exercise groups compared to control groups.  Interestingly, the results were not changed by excluding the non-randomized controlled trials, or by adjustment for publication bias. Few trials assessed healthcare consultation or sick leave for LBP.  Additionally, meta-analyses did not show statistically significant protective effects of exercise on those outcomes. Exercise reduces the risk of LBP and associated disability.
The bottom line recommendation from the article is:
* A combination of strengthening with either stretching or aerobic exercises performed 2–3 times/week can reasonably be recommended for prevention of low back pain in the general population.