A back injury often heals very slowly. To help it progress, you can do specific exercises and stretches meant to strengthen your back, your core and your legs. Examples include things like back extensions, sit-ups and side bends.

Rest is helpful for healing, as your doctor probably told you, but that does not mean you should be neglectful of your own physical health. The more you can do to improve your fitness, the better off you’ll be. The right exercises should push your body toward full healing and help it recover more quickly and more completely.

That said — and this cannot be stressed enough — you really do have to be careful with back injuries. Pushing yourself too hard, using poor form or doing too much can just make the injuries worse. If your exercises are causing you new pain in the same area, you may just be aggravating the injury. Your spine is quite fragile. Never take this for granted. Never push through pain that is too intense just because you’re determined to finish your sets.

The risk inherent in working out after an injury is why many people work with professional physical therapists. They can help you find safe, effective exercise programs for your specific injury. They can help you heal quickly, and they can work to prevent any future injuries. You’re less likely to make a mistake.

That said, physical therapy is not cheap. These costs can add significantly to your medical bills. Make sure that you know if you have a right to financial compensation to help cover these costs.