How To Exercise With Lower Back Pain – Oh My Aching Back explores if exercise is safe when experiencing back pain, the types of exercises beneficial to back pain, and those that should be avoided. It is essential to consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program. He or she can help create a program tailored specifically to your needs and abilities.
Is Working Out Bad for Your Back?
Most people will experience lower back pain at some point in their lives. In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic, 80% of the adult population will experience some type of back pain in their life. With that many people susceptible to back pain, many people may wonder if working out is bad for the back.
Working out is not “bad” for your back, but rather exercise can be therapeutic. Exercise can help strengthen the muscles in your back, which can help support your spine and improve your overall posture. Additionally, exercise can help to improve your overall flexibility and mobility, which can help reduce the risk of further injury.
Can Exercise Make Lower Back Pain Worse?
Let’s start with the negative aspect first and get that out of the way. It bears repeating: It is essential to consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
Yes, exercise can make back pain worse if not done correctly. Be sure to start slowly and increase the intensity of exercises as your condition improves so that the workout does not worsen the pain further. You can also try different exercises until you find the ones that work best for you. You may need to avoid some exercises, and you may need to modify others. Be sure to always listen to your body and stop if you experience any pain or discomfort.
It takes some patience and carefulness to ensure that the exercise does not worsen the condition. It may take time, but working out can help you feel better with lower back pain.
Some Exercises You Want To Avoid When Experiencing Back Pain Include:
Certain exercises and types of activities should not be done when a person is having back pain or back issues of any kind. These are:
- Heavy weightlifting
- Twisting motions
- Running on hard surfaces
What Are Some Exercises That I Can Do?
When selecting exercises, you will want to focus on low-impact activities that place minimal stress on the lower back and hopefully will bring some pain relief. . For example, walking, biking, swimming, and yoga are all excellent options. You should avoid exercises that require excessive twisting or bending of the spine.
Cycling can help improve your overall fitness level and can help burn calories. It also strengthens your leg muscles, which can help support your back.
Cycling is a low-impact exercise that can be done indoors or outdoors. It is an excellent exercise for people of all ages and abilities. Cycling is also a good exercise if you are overweight or have joint pain, as it is gentle on the joints.
If you are new to cycling, start by doing a few 10-minute sessions and gradually increase the time as you get stronger.
While cycling is an excellent exercise to help relieve lower back pain, listening to your body and not pushing yourself too hard is essential. If you experience any pain or discomfort when cycling, stop and take a break. If the pain persists, consult your doctor.
While Pilates is not explicitly designed to help those with lower back pain, it can help alleviate some of the symptoms.
Before starting a Pilates exercise program, you should discuss the exercise and exercise equipment with your doctor or physical therapist. When allowed, you can begin your exercise routine with simple exercise movements and work up to the more complex ones as your strength and flexibility improve.
Pilates helps strengthen muscles around the spine and hips while stretching the upper body and lower body muscles. This exercise is also known to help improve one’s posture, which can ease some of the discomfort associated with having low back pain.
The exercise program consists of movements performed slowly and deliberately, with attention to proper form. The exercise focuses on controlled breathing, which is thought to aid in relaxation.
It should be noted that Pilates exercises should not cause pain or discomfort when done properly, so exercise caution if you are having lower back pain.
Swimming is a great exercise for people with lower back pain because it’s gentle, low impact, and doesn’t put any pressure on your spine or spinal discs. It also helps stretch and strengthen your back muscles, which can provide relief from pain.
Walking is a great exercise to start with for those with lower back pain because it is low impact and does not require much flexibility. One of the best things about walking as an exercise is that you can do it almost anywhere and at your own pace.
There should be no problems as long as you keep good posture and avoid over-straining yourself. However, If you experience any pain or discomfort when walking, stop and take a break. If the pain persists, consult your doctor.
Research has shown that Yoga can help with back pain relief and it has been proven to be better than exercise alone for back pain.
Yoga exercise does not involve using machines, can be done easily without any help, and involves exercise postures that are simple to do.
Yoga exercise stretches out your muscles and keeps them flexible. Stretches also improve alignment in the spine. Yoga exercise also helps exercise breathing patterns.
Start with some basic yoga exercise postures and then move on to the more complex ones. Be patient and do not push yourself too hard in the beginning. As your exercise back pain decreases, you can do more challenging yoga exercise postures. Consult with a yoga instructor if you are unsure about any of the poses.
If you experience any pain or discomfort while practicing Yoga, stop and take a break. If the pain persists, consult your doctor.
Basic Stretches That Strengthen The Back Muscles
Basic exercises that stretch and strengthen the lower back muscles can help with back pain relief and improve function. Even though stretching sounds like a safe and effective method in relieving back pain, once again, consult with your doctor before starting and stop any stretches that cause any pain or discomfort.
Some of these stretches include:
- Cat-Cow: Get on all fours, with your hands below your shoulders and your knees below your hips. Inhale as you tuck your chin and round your back pulling your belly button in to contract the abdominal muscles, like a kitty. Exhale as you push your abdominal muscles (stomach muscles) toward the floor and arch your back like a cow. Do 5-10 rounds.
- Gluteal stretch: Lie on your back with both legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Place a strap or belt around the ball of one foot and hold the other end with your hand. Gently pull the strap or belt until you feel a stretch in your buttock. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg.
- Hamstring stretch: Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Bend forward at the waist, reach for your toes, and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat five times.
- Single Knee to Chest Stretch: The Single Knee to Chest Stretch is a great way of restoring flexibility in the low back following an afternoon hunting or housework session. The stretch can also help reduce stiffness from spinal arthritis and/or stenosis by increasing joint movement range of motion, which will decrease inflammation associated with these conditions over time as well.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Gently raise one bent knee up enough so you can grasp your lower leg with both hands. Interlace your fingers just under the knee.
- Using your hands pull your bent knee toward your chest.
- As you’re pulling, try to relax your legs, pelvis, and low back as much as you can.
- Hold for a few seconds.
- Return your leg to the floor.
- Repeat on the other side with the other leg.
What About Cardio Exercise With Lower Back Pain?
Cardio or aerobic exercise is defined as any type of exercise that gets your heart rate up and keeps it up for a prolonged period of time. Is there any type of cardio or aerobic exercise you can do with lower back pain?
The answer is Yes, you can continue doing cardio exercise as long as it does not cause more pain. And when we refer to cardio exercise, we are not suggesting high-impact exercise such as running, jumping, or anything jarring to the body.
Cardio exercise that can be beneficial includes walking, swimming, and cycling. These are all excellent exercises for people with lower back pain. Again, start slowly and increase the intensity as your back pain improves.
Exercise Duration, Intensity, And Recovery
Exercise intensity is essential to consider when dealing with lower back pain. Remember, exercise is therapeutic only when done correctly.
You should only exercise until the point of mild fatigue. Exercising beyond this point puts unnecessary stress on the spine and can worsen lower back pain.
It is also important to avoid exercises that last too long. Extended periods of activity can lead to increased pain and fatigue. Exercise duration will depend on your level of conditioning. A good rule of thumb is to exercise for at least 20 minutes, but not more than 60 minutes.
Finally, you will want to allow adequate time for recovery after exercise. For most people, 48 hours is sufficient. However, if you are experiencing chronic lower back pain, exercise should be avoided on multiple consecutive days.
Remember, before beginning any exercise program; you should consult your physician to make sure exercise is safe for you.
These are just a few exercise guidelines to consider when exercising with lower back pain. Remember, in most cases, exercise is not harmful to the spine. However, you will want to exercise caution when dealing with any form of physical discomfort or disease. If your pain increases significantly during exercise or you experience any abnormal sensations, exercise should stop immediately.
If you are experiencing lower back pain, be sure to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any exercise program. Exercising safely with lower back pain is possible with a little bit of planning and patience. With the proper exercise selection and intensity, you can start to feel better and reduce your risk of developing chronic lower back pain.
In reading How To Exercise With Lower Back Pain – Oh My Aching Back, I hope you were able to find the answer to this question and found a few ways that can prove beneficial for you.
Have you experienced lower back pain? Did you take part in any type of exercise? If so, what kind of exercise seemed most beneficial? Please comment below.