If you have a sharp pain, stop immediately and go see the doctor before you make the problem worse. If you have any pain other than muscle soreness for that matter, go see the doctor. That being said, many people unnecessarily suffer lower back pain. Why? Their hip flexors and abdominal muscles are underdeveloped compared to one’s upper body strength. In this case, performing exercises such as sit-ups, crunches, and leg lefts will help tremendously when done in a balanced body plan. Keep in mind when you over develop one set of muscles, it comes at the expense of another set of muscles. Balance is key to prevent injury.
Pain can also come from performing exercises improperly. Proper form is critical so as not to cause short and long-term damage to your joints. For example, when performing squats or other exercises your knees should never go past your toes as when this happens you put extreme pressure on your joints that will catch up with sooner or later. Extreme hopping and jumping exercises should be done in moderation, especially if you are overweight as this creates extra pressure on the knee joints.
If you are overweight, don’t try to be an exercise superstar in a day. You will injure yourself. You need to start where your current level of fitness is and build up. Progress will come quickly when performing exercises in sets with measurable time limits so you can see and gauge your improvement. My book MAX Out the Army, Navy, Marine, and Air Force Physical Fitness and Combat Fitness Tests gives you a program that does just that and most people see at least a 30 point increase in their PT score within 30 days.
So, creating a balanced total body workout, using proper form for exercises, and starting exercise programs at your fitness level, will prevent pain and in many cases, get rid of unnecessary pain one may be experiencing.