Back exercise apps

Back exercise apps

  • There are a variety of apps for back exercises. 
  • It's important that these apps are used under the guidance of your physiotherapist or doctor.
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There are some good apps that provide screening questions to assess your baseline level of fitness or exercise as well as a structured exercise programme. However, the gold-standard for providing an exercise programme is having face-to-face input with a health professional. Exercise-based apps can be a good addition to face-to-face input, but shouldn't be seen as a complete replacement. Wherever possible, you should see a healthcare provider to find out if an app-based exercise programme is suitable for you. Here are some tips when using back exercise apps.

Tips when using back exercise apps

Do ()

  • Talk with your physiotherapist or doctor about your needs. Everyone’s body is different, and what might be a suitable level of exercise for 1 person could be too much for another. Your age, fitness level, and your condition will affect the type of exercise you can do.
  • Before using exercise videos on apps, check with your physiotherapist or doctor if they are suitable for you. Sometimes exercises need to be changed to suit you. How often you do the exercises and how many repetitions will also need to be checked. Your physiotherapist will help you plan an exercise program, with gradual progress, making sure your body has time to recover between exercises.
  • Use an app for tracking your progress to keep you going, but remember not to push yourself too hard. You may risk further injury or muscle strain and a longer recovery time if you do too much.
  • Use an app to keep track of your symptoms and your management plan. Graphs and reports from apps can be useful to discuss with your healthcare provider.
  • Be careful reading discussion boards or group chats. Some apps have these so users can share their experiences. These aren't usually monitored by a health professional so the advice or suggestions may not be safe or effective.

Don’t ( )

  • Rely on apps to make a diagnosis.
  • Make changes to your exercise programme from an app without checking with your healthcare provider first.
  • Make changes to your exercise form or technique without checking with your healthcare provider, you may injure yourself if you put stress on certain muscles or joints.
  • Ignore pain, continuing with exercise while you have sharp or worsening pain can led to further injury. It's important to tell the difference between normal discomfort with exercise and pain from doing too much.

Before choosing an app, think about how it will benefit you and what you want it to be able to do.

  • An app will only be helpful if you use it, so it needs to be something you like using and find easy to use.
  • If you find the app difficult to use, or you don't like the imagery or look of it, or the language it uses, you may want to find another one that suits you better.
  • For more guidance on how to choose health apps, see how to choose a health app.
  • It's important to remember that apps don’t replace professional help or your doctor’s advice.

App Features Clinical review

Physitrack and PhysiApp apps

Physitrack and PhysiApp are companion apps for home exercises. Physitrack is the clinician portal and PhysiApp is the patient portal.

4 star review


An app to help prevent and treat back and neck pain.

  • Guided workouts.
  • Exercise videos.
  • Available from Google Play and App Store.
  • Cost: $4.99 (NZ).
  • Read more about SpineWise.
4 star review


An app for anybody wanting to prepare for and recover from hip, knee, hand or foot surgery.

  • Education and information.
  • Videos.
  • Available from Google Play. 
  • Cost: free.
  • Read more about PocketPhysio.
4 star review

Musculoskeletal (MSK) Self-Care app

An app to provide information for the self-management of back, neck, all upper limb and all lower limb joint pain or stiffness.

Back to Action app

An app with an exercise programme for people with ankylosing spondylitis (AS).

  • Exercises.
  • Education and information.
  • Available from Google Play.
  • Cost: free.
  • Read more about Back to Action app.
4 star review

PT Timer

Timer and counter app for physical therapy to keep track of your exercise and assist you by counting reps and sets.

  • Counter.
  • Diary and tracking.
  • Available from App store.
  • Cost: Paid (Free 1 week trial).
  • Read more about PT Timer.
4 star review

Back pain relief exercises app

The app has a variety of exercises and programmes for people with lower back pain.

  • Diary/Calendar.
  • Tracking.
  • Available from the App Store and Google Play.
  • Cost: Basic is free, but there is a paid upgrade version.
  • Read more about Back pain relief exercises app.
2 star review

  • Pain management apps: Apps that can support you to manage your pain. Some apps provide education while some have a pain diary for you to keep track of your symptoms. Read more about pain management apps
  • Sleep apps: Some help you track your sleep habits, similar to a sleep diary, and help you develop good sleep routines, while others try to assist you to fall asleep by using calming visual graphics and relaxing music. Read more about sleep apps.
  • Breathing, meditation and mindfulness apps: These apps teach you about breathing, meditation and mindfulness techniques. This can help reduce tension, stress and anxiety. Read more about breathing, meditation and mindfulness apps.

Disclaimer: The NZ Heath App Library is a free consumer service to help you decide whether a health app would be suitable for you. Our review process is independent. We have no relationship with the app developers or companies and no responsibility for the service they provide. This means that if you have an issue with one of the apps we have reviewed, you will need to contact the app developer or company directly.

Credits: Healthify editorial team. Healthify is brought to you by Health Navigator Charitable Trust.