OBJECTIVES: The objective of this review was to identify measuring instruments that might be suitable for assessment of satisfaction and experience of exercise programs designed to help people with persistent, recurrent low back pain. DESIGN: The review was designed as a structured literature review adapted from the Cochrane Collaboration Systematic Review and the Quality of Reporting of Meta-analyses and Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses Guidelines. METHODS: A priori inclusion and exclusion criteria were established and electronic databases were searched without limits until February 2009. Data extraction guidelines were developed to extract the same information from each included article. Thematic analysis, conducted by two independent reviewers, was applied to identify emergent codes and themes from the questionnaires. The relevant questions were then evaluated for applicability to the back pain population. RESULTS: Ten potentially useful instruments were described in the 11 included articles. The following domains of experience were common to the included instruments: care-provider qualities, support staff, governance, access, and facilities. The answers to questions based on these themes may give valuable insights into the experience of exercise programs in general and for low back pain. CONCLUSIONS: Important information that would inform researchers and clinicians regarding the components of successful exercise programs may be gained from the development of an instrument that assesses experience of exercise program participation. Research into the experience of people who have participated in exercise programs may be a key to understanding their motivation, engagement, compliance or noncompliance and success or failure.