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Scientists from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden studied 109 adults, each suffering with chronic back pain.
Some were advised to "stay active even though it hurts", while the others were told to adjust their activity according to the pain.
Those that remained as active as possible not only felt less depressed but recovered more quickly, suggesting that resting is of little benefit to many (though not all) back pain sufferers.
As many as one in five Brits suffer with chronic back pain and treatment is estimated to cost the NHS a massive £1.5 billion each year.
The NHS already recommends that gentle exercise may help sufferers to recover, advice that has now been backed up by research.
Patricia Olaya-Contreras, who led the study, said: "If you don't keep moving, it's easy to get locked into a downward spiral."
What do you think - do you suffer with back pain and have you found exercise helped? Leave a comment below...