I've been having some low back pain that feels better when I bend over. Should I just do this every hour? Most of the exercise shows on TV show people stretching backwards not forwards for back pain.

Exercise programs often focus on extension since we spend much more time in a bent or flexed position. Back pain from disc problems is often helped at first by forward flexion. The spinal canal opens up and gives the bulging disc more space. Too much flexion too often can make the problem worse over time.

Back pain experts advise moving in the pain free direction first. This is called directional preference. Go as far as you can before having any symptoms. A physical therapist can help you find the exact movement to focus on. The exercise is repeated several times, sometimes as many as 10 to 15 repetitions once or twice each day.

It's not advised to repeat a motion every hour unless a doctor or therapist has examined you and determined what's best for your situation. Patients are told to expect some increased low back pain. Directional-preference exercises help patients overcome fear of pain. Movements that cause pain in the buttocks or down the leg(s) should be avoided.