We know suffering from back pain is hard to overcome, so here are some top exercising tips for reducing back pain.
If you suffer from chronic low back pain, you may think that rest is the best remedy. But for most people with back pain, being active is far better. Exercise can help reduce back pain, and perhaps more important, prevent recurrences at least as well as other conservative treatments. The question is, which exercise is best and how much? After all, low back pain varies widely from person to person, and there is no standard exercise protocol.
Unless you follow certain guidelines, exercise can end up doing more harm than good — which is why anyone with long-standing back pain should be medically evaluated before starting an exercise program.
Sometimes back pain occurs from known pathologies, such as a herniated disc, arthritis, scoliosis, fractures, tumors or infections. Called non-specific or simple low back pain, it may be set off by lifting something, twisting the “wrong” way, just bending over, or by doing nothing in particular that you are aware of. Contributing factors may include weak muscles or a muscle imbalance that throws the back off kilter, chronic overuse of muscles, sitting too much, poor posture, or cumulative wear and tear. Some people may have pain due to restricted movement in their spine, pelvis, or associated muscles while others may have pain due to problems controlling excessive movement in these same structures.
Exercise may help not just by strengthening and stretching muscles, correcting posture and imbalances, and stabilizing the spine, but also by addressing psychological factors (such as depression and anxiety) often associated with chronic pain.
An exercise program for the back may include these:
- • General exercise to improve strength, flexibility and endurance. This involves aerobic exercise (such as brisk walking or cycling), strengthening main muscle groups (including the back, gluteal, and abdominal muscles) and stretching tight muscles that play a role in low back pain (notably the hamstrings and the hip flexors, in addition to the back muscles themselves).
- • Core stability exercises that target the trunk muscles — the muscles in the back, abdomen, and pelvis that keep the spine stable. Some classic core exercises are abdominal crunches, the plank, and the bridge. Certain exercises work the multifidus muscle, a specific core muscle important in spine stability.
- • Movement control exercises help correct faulty movement patterns so that you learn how to move through daily activities and sports in ways that don’t injure your back. The exercises, which incorporate core and other muscles, usually involve slow, low-force repetitive movements. The McKenzie method, Alexander technique, and Pilates are types of movement control exercises.
It may help to be supervised by a physical therapist or athletic trainer who can design a program based on your particular needs and abilities and advise you about which activities and exercises you should avoid or at least modify.
Begin any exercise program slowly. Stop if your symptoms worsen in any way. Don’t stop exercising when your back pain goes away. Being active will help keep your back healthy.
This article was originally published on ShreveportTimes.com